Mideast action at U.N. casts spotlight on Christian Zionism
Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry says his Christianity commands him to support Israel.
September 23rd, 2011
08:12 AM ET

Mideast action at U.N. casts spotlight on Christian Zionism

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

(CNN) - As the Palestinians push for statehood recognition this week at the United Nations, perhaps no group has spoken out more against the gambit - or has been more outspokenly supportive of Israel - than Christian Zionists.

"As a Christian I have a clear directive to support Israel," Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry said in New York on Tuesday, after delivering a speech blaming the U.N. and President Barack Obama for the Palestinian statehood push.

A U.S.-based group called Christians United for Israel, meanwhile, this week organized a campaign of more than 45,000 e-mails of support to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

"As you stand before the representatives of so many hostile nations," the e-mails said, "we want you to know that you are not alone!"

The Christian Zionist drumbeat against the Palestinian statehood push at the U.N. has grown so loud that some prominent Christians penned an "Open Letter to America's Christian Zionists," arguing that the movement is damaging prospects for Mideast peace.

While it's clear that they are becoming increasingly importantly players in the global debate over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, what is less clear to many Americans is exactly who Christian Zionists are and what they believe.

Even many American and Israeli Jews, who would presumably welcome a group that emphatically supports Jews and the Jewish state - some Christian Zionists go so far as to celebrate Jewish holidays and to make repeatedly trips to Israel - are uneasy about Christian Zionist support.

Some Jews wonder whether evangelicals should be embraced as allies at a time of growing Israeli isolation or shunned as covert proselytizers interested in the Jewish state only for its perceived role in provoking Jesus' second coming.

Some prominent Christian Zionists promote the idea that the Jews' return to Israel, which became a Jewish state in 1948, is a sign of the fast-approaching Rapture, when the righteous will ascend to heaven while others are left behind.

The Rapture, many evangelicals believe, will usher in an apocalyptic period that will culminate in Jesus' return. And some Christians believe that keeping Israel in Jewish hands will help expedite that end-times scenario.

These Christians, called dispensationalists because they believe history is divided into different eras, or dispensations, "believe the Jews need to go back to the land of Israel before or immediately after the Rapture and create a commonwealth," said Yaakov Ariel, a religious studies professor at the University of North Carolina.

"This is not believed to be the great Davidic Kingdom that would be ushered in by Jesus' second coming," Ariel said of the Jewish state, "but it is a stepping stone in that direction. Dispensationalists believe they can help pave the way for that."

Activists, academics and religious believers disagree about how influential this kind of apocalyptic thinking is in factoring into Christian support for Israel.

A growing number of prominent Republican figures, including Perry, presidential candidate Michele Bachmann, and former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, have couched support for Israel in ways that place them in the Christian Zionism camp, say those who study the movement.

That includes David Brog, Executive Director of Christians United for Israel, the biggest American Christian Zionist group, who says that even Mitt Romney, a Mormon, can probably be described as a Christian Zionist.

At the same time, Brog argues that Christian support for Israel has little to do with a perceived role for the Jewish state in provoking Jesus' return.

"Many Christians think the birth of Israel is a sign that we may be nearing the second coming, but it has nothing to do with their support for Israel," he said. "These Christians know they can't change God's timetable."

"It's theologically impossible for Christians to change God's timetable," for the end times and for Jesus' second coming, he said.

Brog, who is Jewish, says most evangelical support is based on Abraham's words in the Old Testament that those who bless Israel will be blessed and that those who curse Israel will be cursed.

And Brog believes that Christian sympathy to the millennia-old struggles of Jews, from their harsh treatment under Roman rule to the Holocaust, has provoked a kind of Christian guilt that has resulted in support for certain Jewish causes.

"A strong theme in Christian Zionism is a sense of a debt of gratitude that has been ill repaid," says Brog, whose organization counts 750,000 members. "The Jewish people have given us the patriarchs and the first family of Mary and Joseph and every written word of the Bible, and how have we repaid that debt?"

"With the crusades and the Inquisition and Martin Luther, who wrote this horrific anti-Semitic book."

But the founder and National Chairman of Christians United for Israel, a Texas-based evangelist named John Hagee, has written Israel-centered books that hinge on apocalyptic themes, with titles like "Jerusalem Countdown" and "Final Dawn Over Jerusalem."

Ariel, the University of North Carolina professor, says that Hagee, along with Christian Right leaders like Pat Robertson and the late Jerry Falwell, have all framed support for Israel in the context of apocalyptic theology.

Christian Zionism first caught on in the United States around the turn of the 20th century, when fundamentalists reasserted the literal truth of the Bible in the face of new, science-inspired ways of reading Scripture.

Those fundamentalists - the forbears of today's evangelicals - began identifying the biblical Israel with the modern notion of a Jewish state.

Shalom Goldman, a research professor of religion at Duke University, says American Christian identification with Israel goes back even further, to America's founding, when the country was seen as a historical exception, a kind of modern-day Israel, or Zion.

"Israel is the metaphor by which America created itself," Goldman said. "So many American churches incorporate the word Zion, and it has to do with the self-concept of America."

Goldman argues that it's this broader historical and cultural identification with Israel that underlies Christian Zionism. He estimates that a more apocalyptic view of Israel explains the thinking of a small fraction of Christian Zionists.

"Right now, Christian Zionism is identified with the ideology of the end times but it's not an accurate identification," he said. "The idea is so sexy and sensational that it gets all the attention but it's a small segment of Christians."

Still, many Jews are queasy about evangelical support for Israel because they believe Christians have ulterior motives.

"There's an uneasiness in the community with evangelical support," said Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League.

But Foxman said that he has made his peace with Christian Zionism. "As long as the support is not conditioned on American Jewish support for the conservative Christian political agenda or on us converting,," he said," they can be my guest."

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Christianity • Israel • Politics

soundoff (462 Responses)
  1. Kingfisher

    "As a Christian I have a clear directive to support Israel"

    As a US politician you have a clear directive to keep your religion separate from government policy.

    September 23, 2011 at 10:17 am |
  2. Agha Ata (USA)

    No material problem can be solved with a spiritual endeavor (period)

    September 23, 2011 at 10:17 am |
  3. Mike

    Christian Zionism will bring both Israel and the US down. It is racism, ugly and wrong. There is no nice way to put it. It is in many odd ways very similar to Nazism. It is against the fabric of our Americal beliifs and heritage. It is against equality, freedom and justice. Those who share teh Amrican values of freedom, equality and justice for all must fight against it with the same passion we did against Nazism.

    September 23, 2011 at 10:16 am |
    • Chris


      September 23, 2011 at 10:47 am |
  4. mikefarris

    well i am a non denominational christen and never studied this Zionist thing but this i know the Jews were given there country by god to them and no one else and this i know also as a christen those that stand against Israel will not be blessed so if they want to go down with incoherent behavior and stupidity don't cry when you loose and please keep it silent

    September 23, 2011 at 10:14 am |
    • Neeneko

      The problem is, multiple gods have all promised that same bit of land to multiple groups... so we have basicly returned to the old 'my god is stronger then your god because we can kill you faster' conflicts.

      September 23, 2011 at 10:21 am |
    • RickN0819

      You really need to start your posts with, "In my opinion". I'm reading these posts where people are making statements as if they're facts. They're your beliefs, not facts. Please recognize the difference.
      As an American Jew, I don't trust evangelical christians. The past 2000 years of history doesn't paint a pretty picture. As they attempt to convert Jews to their beliefs, it's an attempt at a passive holocaust. The goal is the same as the previous halocaust, no more Jews left. The methods are different, thank goodness, but the end result would be the same.

      September 23, 2011 at 10:26 am |
    • Rick

      mikefarris: you reallly should clean up your grammar and spelling before you call others stupid.

      September 23, 2011 at 10:33 am |
    • Giuseppe

      Congratulations, you're a retard, mikefarris.

      September 23, 2011 at 10:52 am |
  5. boyamidumb

    And someone please slap this Perry guy and tell him to shut up.

    My fear is that we will have a Perry Palin whitehouse. Can you imagine PP on the Whitehouse lawn.

    September 23, 2011 at 10:14 am |
  6. Joe

    So let me get this straight – Perry's Christianity compels him to support people who killed a manifestation of his God? or would that be his political ambition that compels him?

    September 23, 2011 at 10:14 am |
    • RickN0819

      Wake up! Even the pope said several decades ago that Jews are not to be blamed for the crucifixion. But I did find your post interesting. On the one hand evangelicals may want to kill Jews for the crucifixion, but on the other hand Israel needs to be around as part of the second coming. Quite a conflict! Perhaps they only want to kill most of us as long as there are still some in Israel.

      September 23, 2011 at 10:30 am |
    • Joe

      The Pope has no jurisdiction over me – you see I am not a child molesting priest.... Also I am an atheist so I find it endlessly amusing that fairytales are used to hide political realities even today.

      September 23, 2011 at 10:33 am |
  7. Joseph and Mary

    I thought Jesus was an inclusionist, not an exclusionist.

    September 23, 2011 at 10:13 am |
    • Woody

      He was an ILLusionist in desperate need of a psychoanalyst.

      September 23, 2011 at 11:02 am |
  8. Coronaboy

    The commentary here is irrelevant. The Middle East can not continue to be the world's boiling point. Whether Jew or Arab, and regardless of Christianity, peace must happen on all sides. Now is a good time to start. It does not any longer matter who did what to whom, peace must happen.

    September 23, 2011 at 10:11 am |
    • RickN0819

      Tell that to hamas and hezbolla.

      September 23, 2011 at 10:31 am |
  9. SilverTrail

    Wow, instant editing? Thank you, CNN, for leaving my comments here. I really LOVE the Jewish people without guise. I love Arabs and Palestinians, too. Every human must understand God's grand plan. Please don't erase her comrades in the Jewish-themed articles. I pray for you, too.

    September 23, 2011 at 10:07 am |
  10. Pro God & Anti Religion

    When the Rapture comes, the secular & the spiritually independent will go to heaven for respecting the autonomy of all humans and not politicizing God for the sake of power and wealth; The Jews, The Muslims and most of all, the Christian Zionists will get left behind to toil in the hatred and destruction their organized faith based hate agendas have created in this world. Religion is the opposite of God and those who follow will rot in the hell that they threaten other people with.

    September 23, 2011 at 10:07 am |
    • Jason

      Exactly. Love God, ignore religion.

      September 23, 2011 at 10:14 am |
    • royce

      When the Rapture comes the aliens will eat the Christians and Jews the same as everyone else!

      September 23, 2011 at 10:19 am |
    • Richard S Kaiser


      GOD's very 1st Son who eventually became a celestially physical embodiment of manliness called Christ Jesus, was so born to become the living scriptured essence and to die upon the cross of salvation for the redemption of all Life-Souls, be they dead or be they still alive and not yet deadened. All sins were thusly forgiven of and no matter, all Life is given the sentence of living and dying thru the eons of eternity ad infinitum upon the Plains of the Kingdoms of God within and/or inside all things of Life.

      Jhn 18:36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence."

      Luk 17:21 "Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is inside/within you."

      1Cr 3:9 “For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, [ye are] God's building.”

      I do so Love GOD and know well that my body is but a Godly Kingdom Building where God and His subjects and servants do live out their days deeply rooted inside me.

      September 23, 2011 at 10:24 am |
    • cp in pa

      I like it! Well said. Best I have read on the internet with regard to religion and God. Not sure about God(if or if not) still but I know religion aint a good thing.

      September 23, 2011 at 10:26 am |
    • misha

      "to die upon the cross"

      I bought the True Cross™ in Chinatown. It came with a certificate of authenticity, written in Mandarin.

      September 23, 2011 at 11:09 am |
  11. Richard S Kaiser

    Jhn 18:36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence."

    Since this world is NOT the Kingdom of God, the Israel of this world is not a TRUE Israel. This whole world stage is the beneficiary for "whom the bell tolls" ideologists. We are but semi-prescious pawns upon a giant chess board. Only after death are we allotted the gainful sentence toward living and dying ad infinitum with the heavens of this earthen Heaven.

    1Cr 3:9 “For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, [ye are] God's building.”

    Our bodies being but BUILDINGS, should wake up the minds of people who seek truthful understandings of Gospel Scripture.

    Luk 17:21 "Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is inside/within you."

    Our BODIES are much more than buildings for;- any body of Celestial Life is made up of Cellular Universes in which is the Kingdom of God. Each cellular structure are separate universes wherein lay the Gods and their servants and subjects.

    September 23, 2011 at 9:59 am |
    • Richard S Kaiser

      anudder typo,,,,,,

      Only after death are we allotted the gainful sentence toward living and dying ad infinitum with'in' the heavens of this earthen Heaven.

      September 23, 2011 at 10:08 am |
    • James


      September 23, 2011 at 10:25 am |
  12. jon

    The only "ethnic cleansing" that's taken place in the last millennium has been mostly by Christians against Jews. For a history lesson, read up about the Spanish Inquisition. If the Modern Era is more your thing, just Google the word "Holocaust".

    September 23, 2011 at 9:56 am |
    • SilverTrail

      Christians rescued at least 10 billion humans since Spanish Inquisition and created North America and Australia. Atheists massacred 50 million humans in USSR and China alone last century – the total casualty by them possibly 1 billion. Any group of people are cute comparing to atheists.

      September 23, 2011 at 10:00 am |
    • MarkinFL

      10 billion? You make up big numbers as well as gods. Do you just say ANYTHING that sounds good to you?

      September 23, 2011 at 10:09 am |
    • Rick

      SiliverTrail: 10 Billion? How did you come up with that number?

      September 23, 2011 at 10:11 am |
    • SilverTrail

      William, it's a rough estimate. We have 7 billion humans today but until 200 years ago the number of human was usually 200 million. Think about the 2,000 years past.

      September 23, 2011 at 10:14 am |
    • MarkinFL

      10 Billion has a nice BIG feel to it.......

      And of course she tries to imply that atheism was the reason Stalin murdered so many people. Truth is he murdered for power and religion was his rival for the hearts and minds of the citizens of Russia. Religious people also kill people for non-religious reasons. However, millions have been killed because of religious teachings. Religion is a very useful tool for motivating people to commit evil.

      September 23, 2011 at 10:19 am |
    • William Demuth


      Christian versus Muslim cleansing has been nothing to sneeze about either.

      And do NOT get me started on the Asians! They were RUTHLESS!

      September 23, 2011 at 10:21 am |
    • Rick

      SilverTrail: A rough estimate? Sounds like a huge exaggeration.

      September 23, 2011 at 10:46 am |
  13. WDavis

    While I support Israel I also support a Palestinian state. They both have a right to exist. I have no Christian guilt for supporting Israel; I merely believe they are God's first chosen people and feel a certain kinship with them. Of course, I also feel a certain kinship with Muslims, since they also believe in the God of Abraham. Same God, different name IMO.
    We need to allow the Palestinians to have a country of their own, but make it clear that we will not accept any hostilities from either side.

    September 23, 2011 at 9:55 am |
    • KMW

      To WDavis,

      As a Christian I agree totally with you. We need peace and there will be no peace until there is fairness in the Middle East. We do need a two-state solution. The Arabs and Jews need to sit down and settle this once and for all. It happened in Northern Ireland and people said it could never be done there. All people need a homeland and decent living conditions. I pray this will occur and I am not an evangelical Christian. I think they are very extreme in their thinking.

      September 23, 2011 at 10:43 am |
    • Jason K

      If you claim to be a "christian" but believe in a two state solution, you are an oxymoron because the bible states that while there will be peace, Israel will get its temple. There is no mention of Palestine in Revelation. You're free to believe and hope as you will, I support that. But becareful labeling yourself as "christian" as they do not represent the bride of Christ at all.

      September 23, 2011 at 2:57 pm |
  14. William Demuth


    While I do have lovely blue eyes and my my hair was blond back when I had it, most would consider me an Irishman.

    I have some Aryan blood as well, but my ancestory was many Celtic

    September 23, 2011 at 9:45 am |
    • SilverTrail

      William, you should be Christian. Shame on you, William. I really feel sorry for your ancestors they had to sacrifice so much for godless thankless stupid descendants like you.

      September 23, 2011 at 10:02 am |
      • MarkinFL

        As acerbic as ever I see. Did God grant you PMS for your entire life?

        September 23, 2011 at 10:07 am |
  15. SilverTrail

    Not really true. Christians who don't read the Bible studiously do not support Israel.

    September 23, 2011 at 9:25 am |
    • DragonPat1

      There are a lot of bogus stories in the bible that ostensibly take a previous historical fact or story and then proselytize and spin it for people to devour as truth.
      To each their own, but when I start hearing that someone will be blessed if they support a thing and cursed if they don’t sounds to me like every hard sell pitch I have ever heard.
      If you have to pitch it that hard maybe you’re selling something that smells of BS because it is.
      But that’s just me…

      September 23, 2011 at 10:49 am |
  16. michael

    100% correct!

    September 23, 2011 at 8:56 am |
    • jim

      michel, Silvertrail is so right about the airheads here. Just dont mess with there beer and ballgames or there will be war in the US too!

      September 23, 2011 at 10:22 am |
  17. To the Jews

    What are you saying? The conservative Christian political agenda is the BEST thing that can ever happen to you and to everyone on Planet Earth!! Are Jews reading their Jewish Bible at all?

    September 23, 2011 at 8:40 am |
    • Rick

      The best thing for all on planet earth?

      September 23, 2011 at 8:41 am |
    • Joe from CT, not Lieberman

      You mean the Jewish Bible that most Jewish Biblical scholars recognize was written down during the period of the Babylonian Captivity to preserve what had been strictly an oral tradition? Remember, the only writings the Jews recognize as sacred are the five books of Moses. The books of the prophets, the chronicles, the psalms and canticles are all recognized as important to their faith, but are not considered sacred in the sense that Christians characterize the Old Testament.

      By the way, if you ask a Hassidic Rabbi the following questions, here is what you will probably get as answers:
      "How old is the Earth?" "About 6 Billion years, give or take a couple of Billion."
      "Did man and dinosaurs coexist?" "What are you, meshugga? Dinosaurs died off over 60 Million years ago! Man has only been around for about 4 or so Million!"
      "Who was the Messiah?" "Which one? Moeshe? Jeheshua? David bar Jesse? Sholom bar David? Judah of the Maccabees? John bar Zacchary? Jeheshua and Jacob bar Joseph? Ba'al Shem Tov? David ben Gurion? Menachem Schneerson?"

      September 23, 2011 at 9:30 am |
    • William Demuth

      Schneerson? HAHAHA

      Jackie Mason!! Now he was a REAL prophet!

      September 23, 2011 at 9:57 am |
    • misha

      "Jackie Mason!! Now he was a REAL prophet!"

      No, Myron Cohen was the best. How do we know the anti-Christ is not a Jew? If he were, 666 would be marked down to 495.

      September 23, 2011 at 10:12 am |
    • William Demuth


      How do you know Jesus the Second wont be an American?

      Because we can't find three wise men and a virgin!

      September 23, 2011 at 10:19 am |
    • misha

      "Are Jews reading their Jewish Bible at all?"

      – "Rabbi, is there life after death?"
      – "Who knows? We have enough problems here."

      September 23, 2011 at 10:38 am |
    • Frank

      Jews read the Torah, NOT the BIble.

      September 23, 2011 at 11:04 am |
  18. Israel My Lover

    Israel, loving you is like, you know, courting a fiancee who keeps rejecting me. We are engaged, but you keep saying you don't love me. We are destined to marry so I keep waiting until you come to love me. It breaks my heart and tortures me. But because I truly love you, I never force myself on you. I wait for God's timing. I'm a female to write this, but I'm well familiar with this scenario. Israel, you belong to your Messiah Jesus forever. Both God and we Evangelicals will keep loving you unconditionally until you return to Him. You will never understand the Song of Songs apart from your Messiah Jesus.

    September 23, 2011 at 8:36 am |
    • Rick

      "I'm a female to write this"


      Are you normally not?,

      September 23, 2011 at 8:55 am |
    • SilverTrail

      Rick, I'm a woman. But nations are female nouns in the English language. I had to imagine the situation putting the first person into a male. Novel writers do this, both males and females.

      September 23, 2011 at 9:10 am |
    • misha

      "you belong to your Messiah Jesus"

      Hercules is the son of Zeus and a human woman. Sound familiar? Mary and Jesus are based on Isis and her son Horus. And worshipping a human is the cult of personality. Evangelicals egg on Settlers into violent confrontations with Arabs, and tell Settlers the bible justifies stealing from Arabs. Hagee is an anti-Semite, who tells his congregation that Jews control the world's monetary supply.

      The bible, or scriptures, is allegory like Greek mythology. Call it Jewish mythology. We now know there is a scientific explanation for everything. Passover started out as spring cleaning. If there was a captivity, Moses did not cross the Red Sea; it would have been the Suez Canal. There is a straight line from Luther's "On the Jews and Their Lies," to Kristallnacht and the Holocaust. There is not one period in history, when Jews were not persecuted by Christians. My mother and grandfather told me the worst pogroms of the year were on Easter Sunday. The only place in the world where there is zero anti-Semitism is China and Taiwan. No Christianity, no anti-semitism.

      September 23, 2011 at 9:31 am |
    • Rick

      "I'm a female to write this"

      SilverTrail: Did a nation write that?

      September 23, 2011 at 10:14 am |
    • ckelley

      @Misha – here's some more stuff Christians love. The word Easter? Derived from Ostara, the pagan goddess of the dawn and the spring. Easter itself is celebrated on the first Sunday following the first full moon after the vernal equinox – very pagan. December 25 was the first day of the pagan year and yuletide comes from the Germanic pagan name for their winter festival. Pentagrams, which most Christians incorrectly believe to be a sign of Satanism, were first discovered on pottery found in Mesopotamian ruins and were once used by Christianity to signify the five wounds of Christ. I can go on but...I think together we have made a good point. Thanks for the info you shared!

      September 23, 2011 at 10:44 am |
    • misha

      "ckelley: @Misha – here's some more stuff Christians love. The word Easter?"

      From what I understand, Easter was originally a Roman spring fertility rite, hence rabbits, which were a pagan symbol of fertility.

      Hitchens is right: take religion out of the Middle East and watch what happens. Germany learned from history. Too bad evangelicals have not. Turkey is a Muslim nation, part of Nato, and Jews have lived there for centuries without fear. Same for Morocco. When Jews were expelled from Spain in 1492, they were given refuge in Constantinople, now Istanbul. Jews were better off in the Ottoman Empire, than in Europe: they did not live in fear.

      September 23, 2011 at 10:59 am |
  19. SilverTrail

    ??? Mideast peace does not exist as long as Muslims don't repent and Israel exists. The West should protect Israel and pay tax to her since she has been a human shield for Europe and USA.

    September 23, 2011 at 8:28 am |
    • michael

      when will Israel recognize a Palestinian state? their chance is now, they choose not to . Does Israel really want peace? If so why are they not jumping on this opportunity?

      September 23, 2011 at 9:00 am |
    • SilverTrail

      Michael, study the Israel's current condition from every angle and then you'll know. You Americans never had national crisis from foreign military attacks you have become real air-heads except the conservatives.

      September 23, 2011 at 9:19 am |
    • misha

      "michael: Does Israel really want peace? If so why are they not jumping on this opportunity?"

      There is not peace, nor will there ever be because the Settlers and their politicians are financed by evangelicals. No turmoil, no Armageddon. It's that simple.

      Approximately 18K Israeli artists became fed up, and went to live in Berlin. Google "Haaretz Israeli artists Berlin."

      September 23, 2011 at 9:48 am |
  20. A Friend to the Jews

    Wow. An interesting article. It really sums up. As an Asian Christian, I or my home countries have no relation to the Jews historically but we always knew God loves Israel and she is special from reading the Bible. And Jesus our Lord was a Jew. The Jews can rely on the Evangelicals. We simply love them and believe Israel has right to exist happily especially after what they went through. The timing of rapture did not matter to us Christians. Like the President Nixon's mother, we simply love the Jews and wish their best spiritually and physically. Read Romans chapter 9 in the Bible.

    September 23, 2011 at 8:25 am |
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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.