My Take: I could have become Michele Bachmann
Author Alisa Harris, left, and Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann.
August 14th, 2011
01:00 AM ET

My Take: I could have become Michele Bachmann

Editor's Note: Alisa Harris lives in New York City and is the author of the forthcoming Raised Right: How I Untangled My Faith From Politics.

By Alisa Harris, Special to CNN

I could have become Michele Bachmann.

Reading a recent Bachmann profile in The New Yorker felt like attending an awkward cocktail party with former best friends whom I now stalk on the internet but haven’t spoken to in years.

The story describes Bachmann’s influences - including figures like Francis Schaeffer and David Noebel, who most Americans have never heard of but who are superstars in conservative Christian circles - and I found them all familiar faces from my childhood as a culture warrior.

Bachmann wins Iowa straw poll

These are people Bachmann admires and people I once admired, too.

Bachmann has protested at abortion clinics. I was attending abortion protests when I was still too young to hold a sign or even walk.

Bachmann began trying to combat the influence of liberals and secular humanists after encountering Francis Schaeffer’s 1970s’-era video series "How Should We Then Live," a plea to reclaim Western institutions from the corruption of secularism.

I watched the series with my parents as a child

Bachmann served on the board of directors for Summit Ministries, which sponsors conferences and institutes aimed at equipping evangelicals with a Christian worldview. I attended Summit Ministries’ Student Worldview Conference as a 15-year-old.

On the first night of the program, I sat rapt through a talk about a Christian dress code that spelled out the width of the shoulder straps I was permitted to wear, which was not a problem for me because I had brought only oversized Republican campaign t-shirts and shorts that were styled for a 35-year-old mom.

They gave us a handy worldview chart that had a vertical column for every area of life - economics, politics, pyschology, law - and a horizontal column that showed how Muslims, humanists, Marxists and New-Agers were wrong on every count.

The program’s leaders said that the Bible calls for limited government, and that God’s law and nature’s law were good foundations for a legal system. The Christian believes the free enterprise system to be more compatible with his worldview than other economic systems, I learned.

One night, the Summit Ministries instructors showed us a film whose central premise was that anal sex spreads awful diseases.

Terrified of all sex, I clenched my fists and closed my eyes and pretended to fall asleep like the boy up the aisle, who nodded off every day.

I developed a trembling crush on the boy I sat next to but squelched the attraction because the Summit speakers told me it was admirable to forgo romance and holding hands until engagement. We played card games instead.

I emerged from Summit finding that my fervor to stop abortion had grown from a disagreeable duty to an outright passion. I bought pro-life t-shirts.

When I came back filled with worldview fervor, I read a book co-authored by David Noebel, the Summit Ministries leader whose writings Bachmann recommended.

It rumbled apocalyptic warnings that humanists, from the NAACP to the Rockefeller Foundation to the National Council of Churches, were conspiring to build a one-world socialist order. I began to secretly find Noebel a little bit kooky.

Still, my family purchased his curriculum and submitted our homeschool speech and debate class to a rigorous worldview training. I took worldview quizzes that graded my ability to reflexively respond to all questions with answers about the Christian worldview of limited government and free enterprise.

I aced the quizzes. I had memorized it all and could spit it back.

Bachmann worked for John Eidsmoe, a man who argued the southern states had a “constitutional right to secede,” and she admired the writing of J. Steven Wilkins, who said that slaves led a “comfortable, though — by modern standards—spare existence.”

Throughout my high school years, I soldiered along with an organization that ran religio-political boot camps populated with ardent Southerners who still possessed Confederate money and auctioned it off - to frenzied bidding - at camp auctions.

The students and staff said the same thing Eidsmoe did. The Civil War wasn’t about racism, they argued, but state’s rights and freedom.

But by the time I heard these arguments, they enraged me. While competing in a home school speech tournament during high school, I wrote a speech that called on public school students to commit acts of civil disobedience by praying in public schools.

In my research I discovered Martin Luther King, Jr., a model of nonviolent resistance and the leader of a movement that seemed to me so just and Christian in the face of laws so clearly evil.

Seeing pictures of Southern police officers using a fire hose to flay the clothes and skin off of teenage civil rights protesters, I became livid at anyone who praised the virtue of the Confederacy or of the Jim Crow South.

Over the years I began to doubt what I’d been taught — that we could find in the Bible the final answers to our questions about the minutiae of 21st century tax policy and the path to economic growth. I saw Christians yell at gay activists, obsess over sex, and enforce ideological purity instead of reducing abortions or helping the poor.

I began to think that our Christian duty was not to make our country’s laws conform to our private morality but to heal the broken-hearted and bind up their wounds.

The political principles I now embrace - human equality, human dignity, and human rights — align less with Schaeffer and more with King, who not only marched for civil rights for African-Americans but also launched the Poor People’s Campaign and fought for the economic rights of all, black and white.

These principles come from a Christian passion for justice but are not, like Bachmann’s worldview, exclusive to Christianity. I have abandoned neither politics nor my Christian faith but the idea of a “worldview” where all spiritual questions have political answers, and all political problems have spiritual solutions.

Newsweek’s latest cover calls Bachmann the “Queen of Rage.” I can testify to the rage her beliefs inspire, a rage that is focused inward - on protecting the sanctity of an iron-clad worldview, battling all the heretics who dare to believe something different, and seeing life from the bunker of a besieged and victimized faith.

I still have some rage, but it’s no longer focused on the secular humanists and tax-collectors. The rage exists on behalf of our wounded world, at the suffering of the poor and the exploitative practices of the rich and powerful. It’s exactly what the Old Testament prophets bellow at me to do.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Alisa Harris.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Michele Bachmann • Opinion • Politics

soundoff (1,502 Responses)
  1. Ryan

    The problem isn't whether a politician belongs to a particular religious group or demographic. The problem is extremism. It's when a particular group believes it must enforce their views and beliefs on a people at any cost. This is why we have sent our men and women of the military to places like Afghanistan, so we can fight extremism which threatens our country. Any kind of extremism is dangerous (look at what just happened in Norway). Hitler is another good example. What scares me isn't that Michele Bachman is a Christian, what scares me is that she is an extremist who will go to any lengths to push her extremist rich-wing faith-based agenda. Don't believe me, wait and see.

    August 14, 2011 at 3:09 pm |
    • Ryan


      August 14, 2011 at 3:10 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      >>>“her extremist rich-wing faith-based agenda.”

      And the current person at the top of our government is a “rich” Harvard lawyer who is married to another “rich” lawyer who pushed his agenda pretty well.

      Not to mention that his Vice President is another “Rich” lawyer.

      I do think G.W. owned a farm....

      Or are only the Republican Candidates “”rich-wing” ?

      August 14, 2011 at 4:45 pm |
    • tallulah13

      No, Mark, but it seems your political party is waving the flag of faith a lot harder than the other.

      August 14, 2011 at 5:04 pm |
    • jimjoe

      Posts like this from hateful nutjobs is what idealistically driven hit pieces are aiming to garner. Fool the fools filled with hate, and poorly thought spite, ignorance, and whom absorb fascist propaganda well.

      August 14, 2011 at 5:11 pm |
  2. Jake

    Very well said Alisa, I completely agree. There are not always spiritual solutions to our country's problems, and I think that that is something politicians and voters need to understand. And also, you are right in that helping the poor is what the Bible preaches, not giving more money to the wealthy. I dont understand how right wing politicians are claiming to be biblically sound but don't follow it in policymaking...

    August 14, 2011 at 2:50 pm |
    • Sue

      To go a step further in the correct direction, there are no spiritual solutions to, well, anything. If you think otherwise, then offer your proof.

      The bible teaches a lot of nas-ty stuff too, like bur-ning animals to please god. How do you pick which parts of that book that you or polit-icians should follow? In its ent-irety, it's a pretty awful, mean docu-ment, and not one that people should look to for good guidance – not just because of the inconsi-stencies and errors in it, but because of the sheer horror of some of its teachings.

      August 14, 2011 at 4:34 pm |
    • WilySword

      Ah yes, the sheer "horror" of loving others as yourself, taking care of those less fortunate, being honest in your dealings with others. I can see where people would have to be crazy to follow such teachings...

      Sarcasm aside, though, keep in mind that the Bible is a Christian book, and as such many of the more violent teachings from the old testament were done away with after the coming of Christ. You can't simply read things you dislike in the old testament and dismiss the whole Bible; you have to keep in mind the new testament as well.

      August 14, 2011 at 5:01 pm |
    • Vernon

      Actually, Jake, Sue is correct to dismiss the whole bible, and not just as far as it being a divine or divinely-driven book. As such, one error or one horror in it means the whole thing really should be tossed out. There are far better bases for morality than the bible, such as the Golden Rule, that can be followed without the division and hate that run rampant in religions such as Christianity.

      The new testament is also full of its own set of horrors, right alongside the teachings that you've picked and chosen. We can get into some of those if you choose. However, I'll repeat Sue's query, along the lines of, how do you choose which parts to follow and which not to?

      Really, it is high time for people to dismiss the bible. It's just not a credible guide for how to live, nor for much else, actually.

      August 14, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
    • Vernon

      My last post was intended to be addressed to "WilySword".

      August 14, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  3. Dave

    Bo, you're exactly right. She made the same error as the neocons at Summit, just picked a different ideology (socialism) to equate with Christianity.

    August 14, 2011 at 2:48 pm |
    • Carol

      You so-called secular humanist "Christians" are clearly self-proclaimed Christians in name only...you MAYBE warm a pew seat on Sunday...but don't know your Bible from the NYT.

      August 14, 2011 at 3:10 pm |
    • Carol

      To the humanist secular Christians...the Bible is your handbook...your instruction manual...the Word of God. It's absolute...not relative...non-negotiable. Read it.

      August 14, 2011 at 3:16 pm |
    • Veritas

      @Carol: I assume then, if the book of the ancient mythologies of desert dwellers, is "god's word", slavery, misogyny, and genocide are all good things. People who think the bible is divine instruction or believe the bible is some kind of literal truth are frankly mentally ill or spectacularly stupid.

      August 14, 2011 at 3:43 pm |
    • Carol

      The message was addressed to those who call themselves Christians. Assuming you've not read the Bible...I suggest you do...then reply once you're better informed And by reading it...that would mean all of it...not picking and chosing things out of context to suit your purposes.

      August 14, 2011 at 3:47 pm |
  4. Bo

    =========@Howie76============ To whom are you directing your 1:52pm post?

    August 14, 2011 at 2:27 pm |
  5. Robert

    The liberal nuts at CNN are going all out campaigning for Obama again. Contrary to CNN lies, conservative Christianity does not produce "Queens of Rage"or "Kings of Rage." But CNN produces kings and queens of lies.

    August 14, 2011 at 1:52 pm |
    • Robert

      Oh, CNN's disclaimer that the opinion pieces don't represent CNN opinion doesn't get them off the hook. All of their opinion writers are liberal wackos who campaign for Obama and attempt political assassination of conservatives.

      August 14, 2011 at 1:55 pm |
    • religious conservatives are stupid turds


      Obama won and your idiot lost last time and your repubturd will lose again this time too.

      Na na na -you stupid loser. I thumb my nose at you, you stinking turd.

      August 14, 2011 at 2:15 pm |
    • Howie76

      What a bunch of double digit tea bag nuts.

      August 14, 2011 at 2:16 pm |
  6. Republican Daily Mirror

    A spokesperson today said candidate Michele Bachmann, having recently left her church behind, is converting to Islam.

    Bachmann is also leaving her latent-gay, flaccid husband Marcuthhh so that she can be free to pursue musician Yousef Islam (Cat Stevens). Bachmann is guoted as saying "I've always liked his music. You know what they say about musical men and their trombones..." and "As a Muslim and POuTUS, I could solve our terrorism problems once and for all. There's no way Al Kaida and his countrymen will attack a country with a Muslim leader. This will help me get elected in other ways too. In fact, it might be the only way I can get more than the teabagger vote and pull in anything from Obama's liberal base."

    Yousef Islam (Stevens) was heard to say "No way, dude, no friggin way. That leathery old haggis wouldn't have made it as my groupie even when she was 20, no matter how good her oratory skills are."

    August 14, 2011 at 1:43 pm |
    • religious conservatives are stupid turds

      simply brilliant.

      August 14, 2011 at 2:16 pm |
  7. Bo

    =========@ El Kababa: There is no such thing as Social Security Welfare. It is either Social Security or Social Welfare. Social Security is something that people paid into and after retirement it is paid back. Social welfare was designed to help people who, for some reason, could not financialy make it. But, I do agree with you that, there are scamers who take advantage of the system.

    August 14, 2011 at 1:17 pm |
    • jms

      Should welfare be more regulated? http://www.ufeud.com/debate.aspx?ID=229

      August 14, 2011 at 1:21 pm |
    • Howie76

      Wrong. People cannot be on welfare for their life. They can only have it if they have children and it is mandatory that they work. The problem is people like yo do not really understand the requirements and spout off like you know something. Go to your States welfare site and look of the requirements. Also Food Stamps are considered welfare. That would include the unemployed who have worked their whole lifes.

      August 14, 2011 at 1:52 pm |
  8. lifesblacksheep

    Religion & politics must remain separate. Otherwise you tread on individual liberties. Just think if you lived in a country that was governed by a religion that was NOT YOURS. Isn't this what so many oppose about the Islam countries that rule with strict Muslim law? . . . “Religious truth and political power are indissolubly associated: the first sanctifies the second, and the second sustains the first.” . . . By wanting a country to be ruled by religion is a dishonor, and disservice, to it's citizens.

    August 14, 2011 at 1:04 pm |
    • jms

      A great debate for http://www.ufeud.com

      August 14, 2011 at 1:21 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      >>>“Just think if you lived in a country that was governed by a religion that was NOT YOURS.”

      The only problem is that to get to your utopia , while you are asking those of Faith to remove that part of themselves, you have to do the same to other groups in society as well. Trust comes that each of us brings something, other than the core that we are human, to the societal table. Could I ask the Gay or Lesbian to remove that part of themselves from the public spectrum? If I didn't care for them I probably would plead for them to leave that part of themselves home. Handicaps , different races and cultures, it all is what makes us a diverse society.

      Saying you do not want the country ruled by religion or folks of Faith s the same as saying that you do not want a country run by Gays or Blacks or at an extreme, women. Let go of your fear and see that part of tolerance and diversity is knowing that our culture in the states is drawn from many sources and the day they ask one section to remove itself is not to long before they ask you to leave a part of yourself at home.

      It was stupid when the 700 club folks did it to Gays and Lesbians. Just because you changed the targeted group does not make any less stupid, it just continues the hate.


      August 14, 2011 at 2:05 pm |
    • tallulah13

      You totally missed the point, mark. You can have your faith. You just can't legislate it.

      August 14, 2011 at 3:10 pm |
    • Normon


      August 14, 2011 at 3:25 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Tallulah- Each of us, if in office would legislate to what we and those who sent us to office would hold as correct and just. Do not fool yourself to believe other wise.

      Take for example the debit ceiling debate. Each side was declaring that the other side was not doing what “the public” wanted done. Each showed rallies in their home district with every flower power (D) and tea bag junkie (R) stating that ..only their side....which they felt that every one in society was a part of around the country.... was right.

      The truth is that for the first time in my life I saw Congress men and women doing what the voters in their district wanted. You tallulah just miss the truth of todays society. Your statement I could say to any group.... You can be a woman...just do not support Ti'tle IX. You can be Gay but Don't Ask Don't Tell you should not support.

      See, folks like you declare quickly that others are missing the point, when in truth they heard and understood your point but dare to disagree with it.

      Its easy to say someone else is “missing the point” when in the end you do not have a clue about the different views of an diverse society.

      August 14, 2011 at 4:28 pm |
    • tallulah13

      I'm sorry, Mark. By belief I meant religion. This country needs a leader who can unite, not divide. There are people of many faiths in this country, so a person as rabidly religious as Michelle Bachmann would cause greater division than even what we have now. (and honestly, I don't think she stands a snowball's chance of winning even the primary.)

      Our founding fathers were wise enough to look at examples in Europe of how religion compromises freedom. That is why, while one can be personally religious, expressions of that religion, and laws based on that religion have no place in public policy.

      August 14, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
  9. Bo

    To all those who have read any of my posts, you are well aware that I'm not shy about proclaiming to be a Christian. However, the sort of so called 'Christanity' described by Alisa Harris, I believe, is not the kind of Christianty that is representive of Christ, it, to me is Social fascism (hope I spelled that right) disguised as Christianty. This is something to be feared as it tries to 'worm' it's way into politics. This, I think, is the so called 'Christianity' that would like to goveren the people. I do not like it!

    August 14, 2011 at 12:59 pm |
    • Howie76

      I bet you never really read the whole Bible.

      August 14, 2011 at 1:11 pm |
    • J.W

      So educate him then Howie. How is he wrong?

      August 14, 2011 at 1:14 pm |
    • Howie76

      Read the Bible and you will know.

      August 14, 2011 at 2:18 pm |
    • Ryan

      The problem isn't whether a politician belongs to a particular religious group or demographic. The problem is extremism. It's when a particular group believes it must enforce their views and beliefs on a people at any cost. This is why we have sent our men and women of the military to places like Afghanistan, so we can fight extremism which threatens our country. Any kind of extremism is dangerous (look at what just happened in Norway). Hitler is another good example.

      August 14, 2011 at 3:06 pm |
    • Carol

      Self-proclaimed Christian in name only...MAYBE warms a pew seat on Sunday...doesn't know his Bible from the NYT.

      August 14, 2011 at 3:07 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Hey Bo... This website has a comprehensive list of bible verses that prove the author of this article understands christianity much better than you do.


      August 14, 2011 at 3:23 pm |
  10. Gloria Bazemore

    Thanks for sharing your story.

    August 14, 2011 at 12:43 pm |
  11. El Kababa

    Science has discovered that there is a genetic difference between Conservatives and Liberals. It's called intelligence. A study by psychologists published last March has found that the average IQ of Conservatives is 95. The average IQ of Liberals is 106.

    (No need to take off your shoe, Conservatives. I will save you five minutes and just tell you that the difference is 11 points.)

    This was a surprise to me. I had always imagined that the difference was much greater, perhaps 20 IQ points higher instead of just 11.

    August 14, 2011 at 12:05 pm |
    • Howie76

      Well that is part of the republican agenda and why they want charter schools. Because a dumb electorate will vote in a paper bag. They do not want Americans to have reasoning skills because that means they would lose money. So there ya go.

      August 14, 2011 at 12:28 pm |
    • Erm

      jrm....please stop spamming. Thanks!

      August 14, 2011 at 1:36 pm |
    • Erm

      JMS, I mean.

      August 14, 2011 at 1:36 pm |
    • ND Dance mom

      Awesome. Love it.

      August 14, 2011 at 2:02 pm |
    • Normon

      cite your source or be ignored.

      August 14, 2011 at 3:23 pm |
    • Veritas

      Makes perfect sense that liberals and atheists are smarter. When you listen to the conservative propaganda and hear how ignorant, ill conceived, and contradictory it is you wonder how dumb the tea baggers area.


      August 14, 2011 at 3:32 pm |
  12. Jason

    Did CNN run out of ideas for articles to slam Palin?? OK, I get it, replace Palin with Bachmann and fire up the smear machine!

    August 14, 2011 at 12:03 pm |
    • lan

      It's an opinion piece about one woman's experiences with religious fundamentalism, you paranoid knucklehead!!!!

      August 14, 2011 at 12:30 pm |
    • J.W

      Palin is not running for president.

      August 14, 2011 at 12:34 pm |
    • El Kababa

      Palin and Bachman are very different people.

      Palin is not very smart, not well educated, not well read, and is a pathological liar.

      Bachman is not very smart, not well educated, not well read, and is a psychopath.

      Palin is the cute one.

      August 14, 2011 at 12:35 pm |
    • Erm

      On what planet is this a "smear" article?

      August 14, 2011 at 1:37 pm |
  13. mike

    Theologist would have rated Jesus a Socialist if he had a political bone in his body.

    I rest my case

    Have a good day, and be good to others


    August 14, 2011 at 11:43 am |
    • Veritas

      Yeah. it's hard to see Jesus, if he existed, would have been pro guns, anti immigrant, and voting for the GOP.

      August 14, 2011 at 3:26 pm |
  14. Reality

    A. Harris and M. Bachmann:-----------------–

    Why the Christian Right no longer matters in presidential elections:

    Once again, all the conservative votes in the country "ain't" going to help a "pro-life" presidential candidate, i.e Rick Perry, Mitt Romney, Jon Huntsman, Michele Bachmann, Tim Pawlenty, Herman Cain, Ron Paul or Rick Santorum, in 2012 as the "Immoral Majority" rules the country and will be doing so for awhile. The "Immoral Majority" you ask?

    The fastest growing USA voting bloc: In 2008, the 70+ million "Roe vs. Wade mothers and fathers" of aborted womb-babies" whose ranks grow by two million per year i.e. 78+ million "IM" voters in 2012.

    2008 Presidential popular vote results:

    69,456,897 for pro-abortion/choice BO, 59,934,814 for "pro-life" JM.

    And all because many women fail to take the Pill once a day or men fail to use a condom even though in most cases these men have them in their pockets. (maybe it should be called the "Stupid Majority"?)
    (The failures of the widely used birth "control" methods i.e. the Pill and male condom have led to the large rate of abortions ( one million/yr) and S-TDs (19 million/yr) in the USA. Men and women must either recognize their responsibilities by using the Pill or condoms properly and/or use other safer birth control methods in order to reduce the epidemics of abortion and S-TDs.)

    August 14, 2011 at 11:31 am |
    • mike

      Nice job with stats..... Point well done....

      August 14, 2011 at 11:35 am |
  15. LonelyLoner

    So one gets this way that Bachman is by essentially not being human? They don't question what they are told, they merely accept it as fact, nodding their heads in obedience. They have no curiosity, no willingness to learn, and are so close minded that they can't see the truth waving in front of their faces. They are just like well trained dogs. When someone says something that could be perceived as caring for the poor, they bark "Socialist!" When someone says that businesses should pay their fair share, they growl "Marxist" When someone says that gays should have equal marriage rights, they whine "My religion!"

    As a moderate liberal this article is terrifying. It is not that these types exist, it is that they are influential enough to get one of these nutcases into the political spotlight.

    August 14, 2011 at 11:22 am |
  16. John


    August 14, 2011 at 11:19 am |
    • ....

      seriously stop posting your junk, it's not worth watching folks, this person is a troll. Click the report abuse link to get rid of this idiot.

      August 15, 2011 at 8:44 am |
  17. mike

    Religion is a personal choice not a policy making machine.... Any politician who base their platform on religious concepts in order to make religious point of view rule of law should not be aloud run for President of the so called Free and democratic US or Prime Minister of Canada let alone any society....

    August 14, 2011 at 11:13 am |
  18. Veritas

    The thought of having either Bachmann, Perry, or Palin in the WH sends shivers down my spine. These christian fascists are outright scary.

    The belief that a cosmic Jewish Zombie who was his own father casn make you live forever if you symbolically eat his
    flesh and telepathically tell him you accept him as your master, so he can remove an evil force from your soul that is
    present in humanity because a rib-woman was convinced by a talking snake to eat from a magical tree. Makes perfect sense...

    August 14, 2011 at 11:12 am |
    • Martin T

      Well Said...

      August 14, 2011 at 11:21 am |
  19. Howie76

    TEA BAG repeaters are out in numbers today. Must be nice to be paid to sit on you butt and spew your flawed Ayn RAnd views all day. Morons.

    August 14, 2011 at 11:11 am |
    • Martin T

      Those TeaBaggers are scary.

      August 14, 2011 at 11:25 am |
  20. Kay

    It's great to seel all these post with such different opinions. Obama's goal to change America is failing. We are still a great Capitalistic country that will never cave to Socialism. Freedom of speech and the press will never die!

    August 14, 2011 at 10:56 am |
    • Howie76

      Tea Hag

      August 14, 2011 at 11:01 am |
    • Veritas

      Indeed, but we are not done until the great Capitalists have enslaved us all and outsourced every job to the lowest paid slave in China or wherever you can find people willing to work for virtually nothing.

      August 14, 2011 at 11:16 am |
    • mike

      Kay, do you even know the real meaning of Socialism ?

      August 14, 2011 at 11:17 am |
    • jms

      Is it the end of the Republic with a Super Congress? http://www.ufeud.com/debate.aspx?ID=239

      August 14, 2011 at 1:28 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.