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Florida Evangelicals a different breed of voter than brethren in Iowa, South Carolina
Evangelicals are expected to account for about 40% of the Republican vote on Tuesday's primary in Florida.
January 28th, 2012
02:00 AM ET

Florida Evangelicals a different breed of voter than brethren in Iowa, South Carolina

By John Sepulvado, CNN

(CNN) - Conservative Christian activist Ralph Reed has called the Bible Belt home for decades, but he grew up in Miami in the 1970s, when the city was emerging as a diverse megalopolis.

Among his middle school friends were Jews, Catholics and Methodists.

Then, at age 15, Reed's family relocated to the sleepy mountain town of Toccoa, Georgia, so his dad, a doctor, could take a better-paying job.

“It was very conservative,” says Reed, who now lives outside Atlanta. “At first – as would be true of any 15-year-old – I didn’t like it. I think it was a culture shock.”

Ultimately, the mostly evangelical residents of Toccoa shaped Reed’s faith, helping lead him to Jesus in his 20s. But in terms of his faith-based organizing, the well-known activist drew more on his experiences in hyper-diverse Miami.

"Later on in life, when I became a leader in the Christian Coalition, I had a greater appreciation [for] ethnic and religious diversification,” Reed says.

That could be good news for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. The former Massachusetts governor is looking to regain momentum from chief rival Newt Gingrich, after the former speaker’s upset in South Carolina, in Florida’s Tuesday primary.

There are signs that Florida’s evangelical voters may be more forgiving of Romney’s past social liberalism than their Iowa and South Carolina brethren – and more willing to support a Mormon candidate.

“I think Romney could do well in Florida,” Reed says.

A more centrist evangelicalism

As a percentage of GOP voters, there are fewer evangelicals in Florida compared to South Carolina and Iowa, where Rick Santorum won the presidential caucuses, according to CNN exit polls from 2008.

In that year, evangelicals accounted for 40% of Republican primary voters in Florida, compared to 60% in the Iowa caucuses and South Carolina primaries.

And compared to those other early primary states, Florida is much more religiously diverse. In the 2008 primary there, Catholics were nearly a third of the Republican vote, with other kinds of Christians, Jews and those with no religious affiliation each claiming a chunk of the vote.

Still, evangelical Christians claim a bigger share of the Florida Republican vote than any other religious tradition. There also are signs they may be more tolerant of a Mormon candidate than born-again Christians in the Bible Belt and Midwest.

In the South Carolina primary, Romney claimed 22% of the evangelical vote, compared to 44% for Gingrich, according to CNN exit polls.

Florida’s evangelicals are “more open” to the idea of a Mormon in the White House, according to Orlando area pastor Joel C. Hunter.

“Our nature, of being a fairly mobile state, with a lot of tourism and a lot of transcultural and transnational interaction really makes us boundary spanning, rather than sticking to our own affinity groups,” Hunter says.

He leads a congregation of 15,000 at Northland, a Church Distributed, a nondenominational megachurch of the kind that are more popular in Florida than in Iowa or South Carolina.

“For any independent church, you’re going to be open – necessarily open – to non-ready made boundaries, open to other religious groups,” Hunter says. “You’ll be more likely to partner with groups that aren’t necessarily like your own.”

The pastor cites his church’s partnerships with local synagogues and mosques to help local homeless children. For Hunter, teaming up with different religious traditions follows the example of Jesus.

“Jesus talked to the people, the religious leaders others wouldn’t talk to,” he says.

“As an evangelical, I should be ready to talk to a lot of people that aren’t like myself, because that’s what I see in the life of Christ, and I’m looking to build relationships.”

Mark I. Pinsky, the Florida-based author of "A Jew Among Evangelicals," says there are other key differences between evangelicals in Florida and those in Iowa and South Carolina.

“In Iowa,” Pinsky says, “they tend to be rural and older. In South Carolina, they tend to be more fundamentalist, and more likely to be affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention,” a denomination that isn’t shy about pointing out theological differences with Mormonism.

Pinsky says Florida evangelicals, especially in the central part of the state, are more likely to have Mormons as neighbors, compared to their brethren in South Carolina and Iowa.

“Nondenominational evangelicals are less likely to demonize someone who is a real person,” Pinsky says.

Less Preaching, More Teaching

Even in smaller Baptist churches in Florida’s Panhandle, there are “notable differences” with Christians in more historically evangelical parts of the country, according to pastor Curtis Clark.

“There’s still a lot of yelling from the pulpit in South Carolina,” says Clark, who leads a congregation of 2,500 at Thomasville Road Baptist Church in Tallahassee. Clark says his congregation is split between Republicans and Democrats, that almost all the adults have college degrees and that the parishioners want to be led, not yelled at.

“I try and teach, try and encourage,” Clark says. “Florida evangelicals are a little bit more educated, and have a broader experience.”

Census figures from 2010 show Florida has a slightly greater share of college graduates than South Carolina.

Both the Romney and Gingrich campaigns are reaching out to evangelicals to quell concerns about their candidacies. Both campaigns held conference calls with influential conservative religious leaders last week, discussing religion, personal and policy decisions.

Many evangelicals have expressed concern about Romney’s past support for abortion rights and gay rights and over Gingrich’s failed marriages.

But Romney doesn’t need to win big among evangelicals to take Florida, Reed says. Because evangelicals make up a smaller portion of Republican voters, Reed says Romney only needs to win a sizeable share of their support.

“If Romney gets a third of evangelical voters” Reed says, “he wins the primary.”

While Romney skipped meeting with some evangelical leaders in South Carolina, including officials at Bob Jones University, his campaign has started more aggressively courting pastors and religious community networks in Florida. The campaign has participated in multiple conference calls with religious leaders and activists.

“In part, I think [the Romney campaign is] more open to outreach by virtue of the Florida demographic,” Reed says.

That suggests the Romney camp suspects Florida’s evangelicals will be more open to his candidacy than other evangelicals in the primary states so far.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Mitt Romney • Newt Gingrich • Politics

soundoff (1,828 Responses)
  1. Iqbal Khan

    http://www.realzionistnews.com/?p=60

    January 30, 2012 at 12:43 am |
  2. Iqbal Khan

    Israeli Assassinations and US Presidents

    By Alison Weir

    There is evidence that in 1991 an Israeli undercover team planned to assassinate a U.S. President. The intended victim was George Herbert Walker Bush. http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article30362.htm

    January 30, 2012 at 12:33 am |
    • Reality

      What instigated the attack on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon? And what drives today's 24/7 mosque/imam-planned acts of terror and horror? The koran, Mohammed's book of death for all infidels and Muslim domination of the world by any means.

      Muslims must clean up this book removing said passages admitting that they are based on the Gabriel myth and therefore obviously the hallucinations and/or lies of Mohammed.

      Then we can talk about the safety and location of mosques and what is taught therein. Until then, no Muslim can be trusted anytime or anywhere..................................

      January 30, 2012 at 8:13 am |
  3. Reality

    Dear Florida Evangelicals,

    Another poster for your golf carts:

    . JC's family and friends had it right 2000 years ago ( Mark 3: 21 "And when his friends heard of it, they went out to lay hold on him: for they said, He is beside himself.")

    Said passage is one of the few judged to be authentic by most contemporary NT scholars. e.g. See Professor Ludemann's conclusion in his book, Jesus After 2000 Years, p. 24 and p. 694.

    Actually, Jesus was a bit "touched". After all he thought he spoke to Satan, thought he changed water into wine, thought he raised Lazarus from the dead etc. In today's world, said Jesus would be declared legally insane.

    Or did P, M, M, L and J simply make him into a first century magic-man via their epistles and gospels of semi-fiction? Most contemporary NT experts after thorough analyses of all the scriptures go with the latter magic-man conclusion with J's gospel being mostly fiction.

    Obviously, today's followers of Paul et al's "magic-man" are also a bit on the odd side believing in all the Christian mumbo jumbo about bodies resurrecting, and exorcisms, and miracles, and "magic-man atonement, and infallible, old, European/Utah white men, and 24/7 body/blood sacrifices followed by consumption of said sacrifices. Yummy!!!!

    So why do we really care what a first century CE, illiterate, long-dead, preacher/magic man would do or say?

    January 29, 2012 at 11:35 pm |
    • ......

      repeat bull sh it alert hit report abuse on all reality garbage

      January 30, 2012 at 6:42 am |
    • Phillip Evans

      Your facts are uncoordinated. The text does not read that he "thought" He talked to Satan.

      INVALID COMPLAINT.

      http://biblicalvalidity.blogspot.com/

      January 30, 2012 at 12:40 pm |
    • Phillip Evans

      "contemporary NT scholars"

      "biblical scholars"

      Oh, boy. Where did you dig up those dead bones? Can't you think and reason for yourself?

      http://biblicalvalidity.blogspot.com/

      January 30, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
  4. Sue

    Gerald, what specifically is it that you think that I am ignorant of? Keep in mind the Pew survey showing that atheists generally are better informed about the Christian religion than Christians are.

    Frankly, gerald, you're full of shit, and you are both stupid and ignorant.

    January 29, 2012 at 8:44 pm |
  5. ashrakay

    If you want easy answers, choose religion. If you enjoy uncomfortable questions, choose science.

    January 29, 2012 at 8:33 pm |
  6. humanbean

    I've been reading through some of these comments, and I find it hilarious observing one man made religion debunking another man made religion.

    January 29, 2012 at 7:02 pm |
    • Tommy DeVito

      You are amused? I am here to amuse you? Tell me what is so F"n funny about me?

      January 30, 2012 at 7:38 am |
  7. George

    If you are an Evangelical from Florida, please go to vote on Tuesday. Make your voice heard loud and clear. If you think that America is slipping into the moral sewer, do something and vote. We can only bring about change if we take action!

    January 29, 2012 at 6:07 pm |
    • Listening

      Yes, exactly. No perfect candidate, but NOT voting for a Mormon is the right thing to do.

      January 29, 2012 at 11:28 pm |
    • Al

      And vote for who? Newt? The Republican example of morality. lol. Newt is no more Christian than I am. He is using your religion to get votes.

      January 30, 2012 at 3:54 am |
  8. Iqbal Khan

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9f0sBA61L0Y&w=640&h=360]

    January 29, 2012 at 5:57 pm |
    • Listening

      How do you post a video like this? I've tried posting the link, posting embed code, but doesn't work. Whats the secret? 🙂

      January 29, 2012 at 11:05 pm |
  9. Iqbal Khan

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4s_IUwwGq-A&w=640&h=360]

    January 29, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
    • Listening

      How do you post a video like this? I've tried posting the link, posting embed code, but doesn't work. Whats the secret? 🙂 🙂

      January 29, 2012 at 11:06 pm |
  10. Bernadette

    Very informative article, I'm glad to hear Florida is different and I'm sure it's because of all the diverse ethnicities. To all the Christians, just remember to follow Jesus's teaches and forget the nowadays politics, everyone have a place under this sun, living with respectful differences is why humans are so adaptable, spirituality and politics is personal and have to place in policy in the broader context.

    January 29, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
  11. Bo

    I made this post at 4:37am. “Supposing that atheists were right about the “evil” of all religious people. Supposing it were proven with out a trace of doubt that there is no god and all people were convinced it was true. Then try to imagine, if you can, the fate of this world?”

    All brought was arguments, including one about a song sang by the ‘Beetles’ or a member of the ‘Beetles’. No one expressed any imagination of what society might be like without God. At least I thought that they someone would refer to some societies, ie. governments, that are almost without the influence of God such as North Korea, China, and Russia.

    What prompted this question was the story of an immigrant from Russia to the U.S. who knew nothing but atheism when he arrived in the U.S. The very brief story is: he knew the oppression of an atheistic society, then he discovered Christianity and eventually was converted.

    January 29, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
    • George

      I got news for you Bo. Russians never did abandon their religion. The Russian Orthodox Church is more powerful today than it ever was. You don't go from atheism to Christianity overnight if all the people ever knew was atheism.

      January 29, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
    • I'm The Best!

      Sweden is a pretty good example. They are around 50% or more atheist. They have a very liberal government with free health care and many other things that most would view as good. And they aren't a communistic country

      January 30, 2012 at 11:24 am |
    • I'm The Best!

      Belgium and the Netherlands also have a pretty high percentage too. All of these are considered "free countries".

      You don't really have much of an argument here. But what happens when you have a very religious country? Just look at some of the poorest, most troubles/dangerous countries in the world and you'll have your answer to that one

      January 30, 2012 at 11:29 am |
  12. Reality

    Hear Ye, Hear Ye Florida Evangelicals,

    Only for the newbies:

    Beware of the Infamous Angelic Cons:

    Joe Smith had his Moroni.

    "Latter-day Saints also believe that Michael the Archangel was Adam (the first man) when he was mortal, and Gabriel lived on the earth as Noah."

    Jehovah Witnesses have their Jesus /Michael the archangel, the first angelic being created by God;

    Mohammed had his Gabriel (this "tin-kerbell" got around).

    Jesus and his family had Michael, Gabriel, and Satan, the latter being a modern day dem-on of the de-mented.

    The Abraham-Moses myths had their Angel of Death and other "no-namers" to do their dirty work or other assorted duties.

    Contemporary biblical and religious scholars have relegated these "pretty wingie thingies" to the myth pile. We should do the same to include deleting all references to them in our religious operating manuals. Doing this will eliminate the prophet/profit/prophecy status of these founders and put them where they belong as simple humans just like the rest of us.

    Added details are available from your caring "AARPie".

    January 29, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
    • ......

      hit report abuse on all reality crap

      January 29, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
    • Nii Croffie

      REALITY as a convert from agnosticism I frankly do not see ur point. I converted after I prophesied just when I was laughing at prophets with friends. U see I've seen too much to believe there is/can be nothing. I can identify with S.Paul n co. I will never go back. I pray u get this experience too.

      January 29, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
    • Nii Croffie

      Besides Athenian democracy was not the only model for ur Anglo-Saxon ancestors or have u forgotten they were democratic b4 they came into contact with the Romans and Greeks. Parliament existed in Anglo-Saxon times in England as the Witan. Lots of cultures are democratic just look deeper.

      January 29, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
    • ashrakay

      @Nii Croffie, Aside from the fact that you didn't convert from agnosticism (i.e., you can't convert from a non-religion), why do you find prophesy so biblical? Einstein "prophesied" all kinds of understandings of time and space that we are now finding to be true 70 years after the fact. Science fiction writers have also "prophesied" all kinds of things that were later invented. In fact, it seems that the ability to predict or anticipate the future is just a matter of how imaginative and intelligent you are. Why the need to make it something religious? There's plenty of secular forms of prediction with more reliable outcomes.

      January 29, 2012 at 8:18 pm |
    • Nii Croffie

      Was Einstein intelligent only? U do not know much about the human brain do u? Have u not heard of the sub-conscious? Intuition? Instinct? The emotional quotient? Look humans are emotional animals no matter how intelligent u want them to be. Check out Einstein's biography! If u r not sure why bother?

      January 30, 2012 at 2:04 am |
    • Nii Croffie

      As to the question of my religious preferences I have left the religious/agnostic/atheist camp for good and there's nothing u can say to make me look ur way again! Take it from me I have seen too much! Enjoy ur day. I love and respect u as myself just as u r just the way u r b'cos God loves u.

      January 30, 2012 at 2:15 am |
    • Nii Croffie

      I really do not care about de theology of this n that. The science in this n that. I have academic qualifications in both. I do not care if u believe I converted from agnosticism or not but I just wanted to tell REALITY that I am. As to something being biblical or not discuss it with the theologians

      January 30, 2012 at 2:26 am |
    • ashrakay

      @Nii Croffie, Whatever you want to attribute the ability of prediction to, god is obviously not required. Weathermen do it, astronomers do it, engineers do it and so on without any need for emotional quotients, instinct, intuition or any other metaphysical explanation. In fact, computers are also capable of performing predictions and each year they get smarter and smarter to where they will like outstrip mans ability to predict outcomes in the next 20-40 years.

      Don't worry. Nobody is trying to "get you back" on our side. It's reserved for reasoning minds who are interested in reality. As you seem to lack both, there is no danger of you slipping over here and no desire on our end to recruit you. Don't be so paranoid.

      January 30, 2012 at 2:39 am |
    • Nii Croffie

      Ashrakay ur reasoning minds seems not to be reasoning very much today. If a computer can be intelligent it is not a problem but u can see that if a computer is ur model of intelligence then it has no motives. It takes its motives from elsewhere. Please we scientists/engineers do not prophesy.

      January 30, 2012 at 4:06 am |
    • Nii Croffie

      Neither do we reject knowledge no matter what. This is because we get all sorts of things from all sources. If ur religion says there is no God fine by me. As to paranoia. Look in the mirror.

      January 30, 2012 at 4:11 am |
    • ashrakay

      @Nii Croffie, I suspect I'm talking to a teenager, so I'll try to be gentle. Religion requires a deity. Your comment about motive completely disregards the fact that humans make decisions everyday that are completely devoid of motive. One such example is instinct as you suggested earlier. If something flies toward your eye, you will instinctively blink. This is a predictive calculation (prophesy, for the religious folk), that is completely devoid of motive. Instinct is just one example of action without motive. In fact, a computer can be programmed with "motive" just as humans can be. And in time they will likely ascribe their own motives as they become more independent AIs.

      January 30, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
  13. George

    I hope that Evangelicals turn en masse in Florida to defeat Romney. This NE liberal has no idea what conservatism is about, and he is less likely to advance the Christian agenda.

    January 29, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
    • Staring Horse with Tongue Sticking Out

      Yes, the Chistian agenda. No 1st ammendment rights. Removing the freedom of religion and turning our wonderful Secular socienty into an abyss like the Middle East with a Theistic country. Good thinking George, as usual.

      January 29, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
    • Nii Croffie

      HORSE I think u shud think b4 u speak. Do u know what he IS talking about? Ask him first? If u speak too fast and listen little u r not being sensible. U don't have to be X'tian to b stupid. Human is enough.

      January 29, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
    • Staring Horse with Tongue Sticking Out

      I can assure you, I know what George is talking about. George (unless he is a troll, not sure) is profoundly stupid. Stupid to the point that I still don't understand how he ever managed to get on the internet in the first place.

      George is a closet h.o.mos.e.xual but he won't come out of the closet so instead he has transformed himself into a h.o.mophobe and hides behind the Bible to justify Gay bashing.

      George is a bigot who, in particular hates women. He is a CLASSIC case.

      George would have Separation of Church and State eradicated. Un-American.

      Scary bucket of beliefs he is carrying around. Good thing he is so stupid so we don't have to worry about him doing anything crazy. I hope.

      And that is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg for George. He doesn't even think people and things are made of sub-atomic particles. He feels Science is a religion that contradicts Christianity.

      You want him? You can have him.

      Oh, oops did I remember to think before I spoke I hope so Nii.

      January 29, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
    • Nii Croffie

      HORSE I like politics, sports n religion very much since dey r about the basic issues of life. However 4 an intellectually lively debate 2 go on decorum must be maintained. I am X'tian but not h.o.m.o.p.h.o.b.i.c. or anti-women's rights. That is not what the Bible teaches. Prejudice and paranoia?

      January 29, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
    • Nii Croffie

      Lots of scientists are Christians. Science has never contradicted Christianity. The fields of Psychology, Psychaitry and Psychoanalyses are virtually the Bible. Science is based on the Scientific Method, Atheism on philosophy of Scepticism. Never the same. Atheism is a religion. Science is a tool.

      January 29, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
    • Nii Croffie

      What do the X'tian right want but to keep the State and Church separate but complementary. Remember Christianity gave birth to American Democracy. Atheism to Communism. It is best if we talk over things instead of name-calling n entrenched positions. I don't believe politicians that much, do u?

      January 29, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
    • George

      @Horse

      I don't know where to begin. You're whole post was a personal attack against me. And you are lying.

      First, I am not a hom.os.exual nor do I fear them. Second, I do not hate women. Third, I said that MODERN physics is a religion, i.e. big bang theory.

      Why are you lying about me?

      January 29, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
    • George

      @Horse

      But at least you told the truth about me and the separation of church and state. There is no such thing.

      January 29, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
    • Reality

      "The history of democracy traces back to Athens to its re-emergence and rise from the 17th century to the present day. According to one definition, democracy is a political system in which all the members of the society have an equal share of formal political power. In modern representative democracy, this formal equality is embodied primarily in the right to vote."

      January 29, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
    • George

      @Reality

      Right. And Christians need to stand up and exercise their right to vote.

      January 29, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
    • Nii Croffie

      REALITY Ur history is flawed. There is a huge difference between Athenian democracy and American democracy. If u doubt check. American democracy had inspiration from Athens but essentially it had a more Christian basis than most liberals care for. It is de Presbyterian form of government secularised

      January 29, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @George

      You mean advance this Christian agenda? Pfui!

      Christian Right Agenda = Christian Theocracy

      Theocracy = A government ruled by or subject to religious authority.

      Christian Right = Predominately Evangelicals

      The Texas history books are rewriting history to give the conservative slant. The objective of this effort, is to create a Christian Nation, a theocracy with Jesus as Head of State.

      The recent article about the letter to the Jews, from George Washington, must sting like a son-of-a-gun. We are a secular nation. Thank god!

      A huge campaign is underway, to convince the American people, the founding fathers never intended a separation of church and state. Thomas Jefferson's role as a founding father is played down. In some cases Jefferson is smudged.

      Expect an attack on the 1st and 14th Amendments. The founding fathers will weep.

      Most of the Tea Party are for a Christian Theocracy. The Tea Party is in bed with the Christian Right. A vote for any Tea Party candidate, is a vote for Christian Right domination.

      The Republicans are the puppets of the Christian Right and Rich White Men. If you aren't rich or if you aren't white, then this is not your party. Remember Rand Paul's wish to have limited government that should not force private businesses to abide by civil rights law? Isn't that a tad racist or is it just me? Can you say: "You want me to sit where on the bus?" Like father, like son, I guess.

      You will see an amendment defining marriage as between a man and woman. Existing gay marriages will be revoked. Gay rights will dwindle and die.

      Roe Vs. Wade will be reversed. Women will once again be forced to seek back alley remedies. Men may be forced to buy condoms on the black market. You will procreate! Or you will be abstinent! It is not up to you!

      Stem cell research will stagnate. The hopes of damaged and sick people will be dashed. Little Billy better get used to that wheelchair.

      All scientific research will be scrutinized by the Christian Right. "Whether or not a theory is in agreement with the Evangelical's interpretation of god's will", will be the new metric. Get use to hearing "God Did It". No one will dare question otherwise.

      Science classes will be much easier. Much less to remember or think about. 90% of the answers will be "D" – God did it. 30% correct will be passing. 50% will be Valedictorian.

      Makes it pretty easy to get their "sheep skin". Baaaaa!

      Education doesn't matter! Jesus is coming soon. When Perry told of his poor academic performance, The Republicans (Tea Party?) applauded.
      Let's glorify ignorance and stupidity!

      You say you've developed a vaccine that will prevent women from getting cervical cancer? No, Mr. Scientist. You will pour it down the drain! And you will make drugs that prevent STDs no more! So sayeth the Lord...According to the Religious Nuts.
      "Giving the HPV vaccine to young women could be potentially harmful, because they may see it as a license to engage in premarital $ex. Abstinence is the best way to prevent HPV" – Bridget Maher of the Family Research Council

      I would much rather my daughter was lying there dying of cancer, rather than having taken a shot that might have given her out of control urges. Like all the other childhood inoculations. ?

      There was a recent article on the Religious blog about how Evangelical young'uns are not waiting for marriage.
      Little Betty is not praying so often, because she is so devout. She is praying for her Aunt Flow. Amen!

      P_ornography will be illegal. The Religious Right will decide what is p_ornographic , as well as what is art. You will watch television programs approved by the Evangelicals. Lots of reruns of "Growing Pains", starring that Evangelical darling Kirk Cameron. Thank you Jesus!

      Will museums exhibiting transitional fossils and other evidence of evolution, be deemed po_rnographic and closed? Their exhibits burned? To be sure, they will receive no funding.

      Creationism will be taught in public school, most likely alongside evolution rather than instead of, but no guarantees. Creationism/ Intelligent Design will consist of 10 chapters. Evolution will be mentioned on the book jacket cover.

      Vouchers will enable parents to send their child to religious schools. Funds to public schools will dwindle. Quality education will be out of reach for the masses. The finite amount of money, will be spread too thin. Destroying the public school system is the purpose of the voucher system.

      If each faith attends their own school, interacts only with children who believe as they do, Might this not interfere with the melting pot, we often brag about? Won't this increase prejudices? The Catholics once told their children that Jews have horns. *sigh*

      Segregation, is not beneficial. We need to learn to get along, and work together. Toddlers are really good at playing well with others.

      Little Johnny will believe in talking snakes and Zombie Messiahs. He will spend his free time watching the heavens, waiting for Jesus to return. The rest of the world is spending their time learning real science and math. Good luck Johnny. Can you say: "Would you like fries with that?" And you Betty! Lots of jobs overseas. With your qualifications, there is a pole with your name on it, waiting for you.

      State-sanctioned Prayer will be in our schools. The Christian Right think they know better than the Founding Fathers and want to tamper with the Bill of Rights. They want to amend the U.S. Const_itution, so that the Government would legally sponsor and take over the activity of prayer. Only the one true god, the Christian god, will be given homage. The god(s), of all other faiths, will be subservient to the Christian god. Muslim parents will need to make this clear to their children. Will the Catholics and the Mormons be Christian enough? What about the Jehovah Witnesses? The Evangelicals / Jesus will determine this.
      The non-Christians will be allowed to put their heads down on their desks, during the morning worship. They can contemplate their damnation, for not accepting Jesus.

      $ex education will consist of abstinence only. Studies have shown it is a worthless concept. But, it will please the religious fanatics. Why did little Betty have her purity ring reshaped into a tongue stud?

      The war against unions, commenced during the Reagan administration, will continue. Labor will be humbled. They will accept the wages they are offered and should be grateful to get it. The Mexicans won't come here for jobs, anymore. The rate of pay won't justify the effort.

      Say goodbye to enti_tlements. Medicare will be changed to a voucher system. When Grandma is out of vouchers, she is out of luck. Social Security is a Ponzi Scheme! We will reduce Grandmas' pension a % for each, predetermined, increment of life. God said to honor our fathers and mothers – the elderly. But, I guess the Evangelicals know best.

      Our elderly will die earlier than they would like. But, they have the promise of an afterlife to comfort them. Unless of course, they haven't accepted Jesus. Then, they will burn in a place created by an all loving and all just god, for all eternity.
      Best for them to concentrate on the pie in the sky. Works better than opium for a lot of people.
      Go toward the light, Grandma... Grandpa is waiting for you.
      We love you Grandma. But, the Republicans have taken away Medicare and cut your Social Security. Go to sleep, now.

      The government will turn over Medicade and the rest of the programs for the p_oor, to the Christian Right. They will decide who will receive help and who will not. No longer will the criteria for receiving help, simply be income. Every dime given, will have "strings". The poor will be beholden to the Evangelicals. If you receive assistance, you WILL be watched. Perhaps a Christian brother will be assigned to be sure you are acting in accordance to the Evangelical's desires.

      The Christian Right has embraced Paul as the moral lawgiver. Paul's First Ep_istle of Paul to the Thessalonians, is often quoted by the Republicans. You never hear them quote Jesus' advice to the rich. You don't bite the hand that feeds you. Jesus will understand.

      The Tea Party / Evangelicals applaud the executions, of human beings. The more the merrier. They will be a burden to the state, no more! If it turns out some were actually innocent, god will set it right... Providing they have accepted Christ.
      Perhaps trials aren't necessary. Send the accused directly to god's justice! We are a Christian nation!! Are we not the hand of god?

      The accused are of another faith, you say? Give them a chance to pray the Sinners Prayer, and send them to judgment.

      The Tea Party Republicans screamed, "YES", when asked if an uninsured man should be allowed to die.
      If you read the Good Samaritan parable told by Jesus, you might come away with the idea that Jesus wouldn't agree.
      But, I bet Jesus will change His mind once the Evangelicals rule in His name. Jesus will decide that it was the sick fellow's personal responsibility. Good Christians should not be bothered! Thus saith the Lord! Wow! I didn't even see His lips move...
      Could be, Jesus will feel compelled to rewrite the entire bible, leaving out those obviously unclear parts. The Evangelicals will help Jesus clear them up. Guaranteed!

      Jesus will be the Head of State! He will be represented by an empty chair at the head of the leadership table. Only the Evangelicals will be able to hear His voice. They will tell the rest of us His will.

      Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!

      The Evangelicals will rule in the name of a non-existent demigod.

      NOTE:
      "Theocracies generally do not tolerate freedom of expression. They believe their dogma is divine; that it comes from divine revelation (directly from God as in Moses on Mount Sinai) and therefore, no dissenting opinion can be accurate or helpful. This often leads to widespread abuse of basic human rights."
      http://www.duhaime.org/LegalDictionary/T/Theocracy.aspx

      WoW! If the above quote doesn't make you wanna puke...

      The Evangelicals are not content to run their own lives. They want to get, by political means, what Jesus never has and never will give them, by returning.

      Vote for the Dems in 2012. There are a lot of things I would like to see changed in the Democratic Party, but at least they are not insane.

      Thank God, this country is a secular nation.

      Remember, Jesus won't really be in charge. It will be an Evangelical idiot.

      Cheers!

      January 29, 2012 at 7:33 pm |
    • ashrakay

      @George, Your argument that science is a religion is so overused and is not what religion is defined as. It's only the most selective description to help you feel better about your own fallacies. There is no deity in science and it is just as interested in proving itself false as it is in proving itself true. This is an important step in the scientific method. It is fluid and it ascribes no absolutes. There is no more religion in modern physics as there was classical physics. There is fanaticism. There is excitement. There is the joy of self-discovery and exploration. If this is a religion to you, it should seem far more desirable to any religion you currently subscribe to.
      noun
      the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, esp. a personal God or gods: ideas about the relationship between science and religion.
      • a particular system of faith and worship: the world's great religions.
      • a pursuit or interest to which someone ascribes supreme importance: consumerism is the new religion.

      January 29, 2012 at 8:26 pm |
    • The Maurey Povich Bible Show

      You know Georgie, you maybe better take a little look at some of the goings-on in Israel of late, and what happens when the ultra-orthodox gain a little power. It's a little preview of your "Christian nation". You think YOU are conservative. Just wait until someone more holy, more true, more conservative, more insane, comes along, and YOU are on the left. Things will look a bit different then.

      January 29, 2012 at 9:39 pm |
    • George

      @David Johnson

      You have posted this before. I've agreed with most of it, but not your characterization of the Christian agenda as somehow bad. Nobody wants a theocracy. We want a moral government informed by men of conscience that will bring our country back to God.

      @Maury

      I happen to agree with the ultra-orthodox Jews in Israel. They know what is best for their country.

      January 30, 2012 at 12:44 am |
    • Staring Horse with Tongue Sticking Out

      George, you know I disagree with everything you say all the time, BUT I was just bustin' your balls on the G.a.y thing. I mean, you are a h.o.m.ophobe and you do seem to hate women, but I don't know if you are G.a.y and don't care. Anyway, I don't think I need to add anything to what the other posters have already said. Nighty night. And say goodnight to Bruce for me. Kidding!

      January 30, 2012 at 12:48 am |
    • George

      @Horse

      I do not fear hom.os.exuals, and I do not hate women. Just because I believe that God gave men and women different but complimentary roles does not mean that I hate women. You just need to read the Bible to know that.

      January 30, 2012 at 1:03 am |
    • JF

      I believe that God gave men and women different but complimentary roles

      Now that's funny. Georrge, who do you think wrote the Bible? It didn't magically appear.

      January 30, 2012 at 4:13 am |
    • Nii Croffie

      Sophistry, wannabe philosopher? I know science's aversion to truth is incomprehensible but we need it ok? I do not believe in any religion whether it has God or not. I just want as much knowledge as I can gather. That is the philosophy of science. Everything can change. Please accept this.

      January 30, 2012 at 4:49 am |
    • Nii Croffie

      Y r u so emotional? I've seen theories n laws proven and others repealed while others r being modified. Thats what makes science exciting. Don't mess things up with truth. Copernicus is still fresh in our minds. As to me I won't respond as for all I know u may be right. I love u as myself anyways.

      January 30, 2012 at 5:03 am |
    • bigot

      "Nobody wants a theocracy. We want a moral government informed by men of conscience that will bring our country back to God."

      George, you contradict yourself more than your bible contradicts itself.

      January 30, 2012 at 10:04 am |
    • George

      @Bigot

      You've chosen an appropriate name for yourself. Look up the definition of theocracy. We don't want clerics running this country. We have a democratic republic and want to keep it. We just want the Christian majority to get out and exercise their vote and do something to stem secularism. That was the way it used to be in this country before secularism set in.

      January 30, 2012 at 10:33 am |
  14. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things
    Mid day prayer is rest for the soul
    Speak with God
    Early and often
    Prayer changes things

    January 29, 2012 at 1:14 pm |
    • ashrakay

      Please provide examples, not plat.itudes.

      January 29, 2012 at 8:30 pm |
    • An inconvenient truth

      The end of the slave trade. Changed by prayer and people of prayer

      January 30, 2012 at 6:44 am |
    • bigot

      "The end of the slave trade. Changed by prayer and people of prayer"

      LOL how ironic, considering people of prayer created the slave trade.

      January 30, 2012 at 10:06 am |
    • Nope

      We've been praying you would stop posting this crap, yet it continues, proving prayer doesn't work.

      Oh, and how about all those prayers for world peace that go unanswered.

      Oh and then there's the prayers of starving people around the world whose prayers go unanswered, dying by the millions.

      January 30, 2012 at 10:56 am |
    • Nope

      Dr. Herbert Benson of Harvard Medical School and other scientists tested the effect of having three Christian groups pray for particular patients, starting the night before surgery and continuing for two weeks. The volunteers prayed for "a successful surgery with a quick, healthy recovery and no complications" for specific patients, for whom they were given the first name and first initial of the last name.

      The patients, meanwhile, were split into three groups of about 600 apiece: those who knew they were being prayed for, those who were prayed for but only knew it was a possibility, and those who weren't prayed for but were told it was a possibility.

      The researchers didn't ask patients or their families and friends to alter any plans they had for prayer, saying such a step would have been unethical and impractical. The study looked for any complications within 30 days of the surgery. Results showed no effect of prayer on complication-free recovery. But 59 percent of the patients who knew they were being prayed for developed a complication, versus 52 percent of those who were told it was just a possibility.

      January 30, 2012 at 11:05 am |
    • just sayin

      Nope a Dope
      Bull Sh it

      January 30, 2012 at 11:08 am |
    • Ummmm

      If "just sayin" only had a brain.....

      January 30, 2012 at 11:09 am |
    • Phillip Evans

      Joh 16:22 And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you.
      Joh 16:23 And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you.

      INQUIRY: If Dr. Herbert Benson's study concerning prayer is correct, then LOGICALLY CONCLUDE that those three Christians were given to Christ by the Father like the Eleven (John 17) and / or that they saw Him in "that day"...

      January 30, 2012 at 12:43 pm |
    • Nope

      "If Dr. Herbert Benson's study concerning prayer is correct, then LOGICALLY CONCLUDE that those three Christians were given to Christ by the Father like the Eleve"

      Poor reading comprehensions skills or what, what an idiot.

      January 30, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
    • nope a dope

      speaking of idiots what is an Eleve

      January 30, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
    • Phillip

      "speaking of idiots what is an Eleve"

      Poor idiot you couldn't read the post before, no wonder you're posting crap on this site and can't even comprehend your own bible.

      January 30, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
    • ashrakay

      Let's just forget about the est. 600,000 people that died in the war to end slave trade—the people that sacrificed their families and livelihoods, and faced certain death to help save other peoples' lives.... Yes, it was a magical series of words spoken at the sky that ended slavery. By the way... the slave trade is alive and well in other countries. Maybe you should pray harder.

      January 30, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
    • Phillip Evans

      You didn't read my post.

      "INQUIRY: If Dr. Herbert Benson's study concerning prayer is correct, then LOGICALLY CONCLUDE that those three Christians were given to Christ by the Father like the Eleven (John 17) and / or that they saw Him in "that day"..."

      I DID NOT SAY "like the Eleve"

      if you have no logical response, don't lie and / or manipulate my post.

      January 30, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
    • ashrakay

      @Phillip Evans, You can't quote a self-promoting book as proof of anything. Shall I quote Lord of the Rings as proof of dragons?

      January 30, 2012 at 10:51 pm |
  15. Come on, be honest for a change..

    It seems christians feel they didn't evolve. Well, based on some here, I'd have to agree.

    Would be nice if they finally did though. You know, catch up with the rest of us.

    January 29, 2012 at 12:46 pm |
    • Nii Croffie

      Hmm! Did u evolve? I don't see much difference with u trading insults with them n all. Only difference is they know the difference between a scientific theory like Evolution and a fact.

      January 29, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
    • Q

      Evolution is both a fact (a change in gene variants in a population over time) and a scientific theory (the combined weight of physical evidence from every relevant scientific discipline indicating a progression of biological forms over billions of years which concordantly explains extinct and extant biodiversity).

      January 30, 2012 at 12:53 am |
    • Nii Croffie

      We scientists use the word fact very sparingly my friend. The evidence for the Law of Variation has been extrapolated to confirm Evolution but there is a reason why Law comes before theory which comes before Hypothesis in the Scientific Method and all can never be true to encourage investigation.

      January 30, 2012 at 1:44 am |
    • Q

      @ Nii – Sophistry. You may be a scientist, but you write like a wannabe philosopher and I suspect your science is equally overinflated in your own humble opinion. But then, perhaps you're arguing gene frequencies don't actually change in populations and countless studies are falsified by your definitional fiat of what, precisely, a "fact" actually is.

      January 30, 2012 at 4:12 am |
    • Nii Croffie

      Reply to Q on thread 14

      January 30, 2012 at 5:08 am |
    • bigot

      "Only difference is they know the difference between a scientific theory like Evolution and a fact."

      The only thing is you are basing your "FACT" on writings from people who lived 2000 years ago, when in fact, this is not "FACT" but "FAITH"

      January 30, 2012 at 10:07 am |
  16. Sue

    Florida evangelicals are merely a different breed of stupid compared to other believers in religions. More extreme and generally more harmful, but same old nonsense.

    January 29, 2012 at 11:31 am |
    • Nii Croffie

      Very emotionally immature, and irrational. Wonder if u cud make sane, clear judgements if ur life depended on it. Read the Bible and practise it so that u can become rational and emotionally mature. I love u as myself.

      January 29, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
    • gerald

      Sue,

      I don't think your stupid. Just ignorant.

      January 29, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
    • Staring Horse with Tongue Sticking Out

      All Christians are ignorant.
      Some Christians and some Athiests are stupid.

      January 29, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
    • i wonder

      gerald,

      So, what do you call a person (you) who says, "your" when it should be, "you're" (after having been informed numerous time of the distinction)? Ignorant or stupid?

      January 29, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
    • Sue

      Gerald, what specifically is it that you think that I am actually ignorant of? Keep in mind the Pew survey showing that atheists generally are better informed about the Christian religion than Christians are.

      Frankly, gerald, you're full of shit, and you are both stupid and ignorant.

      January 29, 2012 at 8:45 pm |
    • Nii Croffie

      Sue what do you mean by better-informed? Which parameters were used? Information does not automatically translate into obedience and that is what is necessary from the Christian viewpoint. So take it easy, relax and enjoy ur life. Read a Bible to feel good.

      January 30, 2012 at 3:58 am |
    • The Bible is Evil

      "Read a Bible to feel good."

      Which part should she read? The one where god kills nearly everyone on the planet? Or the part where's it's ok to beat your slave as long as they take a while to die? Or the part where you can have se.x slaves? Or the part where god tells us that most of us will suffer for all eternity – complete with extra gnashy teeth? There's so many uplifting, feel good parts to choose from!

      January 30, 2012 at 4:02 am |
    • Phillip Evans

      FALLACY: One sided argument/. Biased sample.

      January 30, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
    • The Bible is Evil

      What, exactly, was fallacious about my argument? The original contention was that the bible was a happy good. I provided counter examples to show that this is most definitely not the case. Counter examples are, by their nature, one-sided.

      Idiot.

      January 30, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
  17. Reality

    Only for the those Floridians interested in a religious update: (newbies only)

    1. origin: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F20E1EFE35540C7A8CDDAA0894DA404482

    “New Torah For Modern Minds

    Abraham, the Jewish patriarch, probably never existed. Nor did Moses. The entire Exodus story as recounted in the Bible probably never occurred. The same is true of the tumbling of the walls of Jericho. And David, far from being the fearless king who built Jerusalem into a mighty capital, was more likely a provincial leader whose reputation was later magnified to provide a rallying point for a fledgling nation.

    Such startling propositions – the product of findings by archaeologists digging in Israel and its environs over the last 25 years – have gained wide acceptance among non-Orthodox rabbis. But there has been no attempt to disseminate these ideas or to discuss them with the laity – until now.

    The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, which represents the 1.5 million Conservative Jews in the United States, has just issued a new Torah and commentary, the first for Conservatives in more than 60 years. Called "Etz Hayim" ("Tree of Life" in Hebrew), it offers an interpretation that incorporates the latest findings from archaeology, philology, anthropology and the study of ancient cultures. To the editors who worked on the book, it represents one of the boldest efforts ever to introduce into the religious mainstream a view of the Bible as a human rather than divine docu-ment. “

    2. Jesus was an illiterate Jewish peasant/carpenter/simple preacher man who suffered from hallucinations (or “mythicizing” from P, M, M, L and J) and who has been characterized anywhere from the Messiah from Nazareth to a mythical character from mythical Nazareth to a ma-mzer from Nazareth (Professor Bruce Chilton, in his book Rabbi Jesus). An-alyses of Jesus’ life by many contemporary NT scholars (e.g. Professors Ludemann, Crossan, Borg and Fredriksen, ) via the NT and related doc-uments have concluded that only about 30% of Jesus' sayings and ways noted in the NT were authentic. The rest being embellishments (e.g. miracles)/hallucinations made/had by the NT authors to impress various Christian, Jewish and Pagan sects.

    The 30% of the NT that is "authentic Jesus" like everything in life was borrowed/plagiarized and/or improved from those who came before. In Jesus' case, it was the ways and sayings of the Babylonians, Greeks, Persians, Egyptians, Hitt-ites, Canaanites, OT, John the Baptizer and possibly the ways and sayings of traveling Greek Cynics.

    earlychristianwritings.com/theories.html

    For added "pizzazz", Catholic theologians divided god the singularity into three persons and invented atonement as an added guilt trip for the "pew people" to go along with this trinity of overseers. By doing so, they made god the padre into god the "filicider".

    Current RCC problems:

    Pedophiliac priests, an all-male, mostly white hierarchy, atonement theology and original sin!!!!

    2 b., Luther, Calvin, Joe Smith, Henry VIII, Wesley, Roger Williams, the Great “Babs” et al, founders of Christian-based religions or combination religions also suffered from the belief in/hallucinations of "pretty wingie thingie" visits and "prophecies" for profits analogous to the myths of Catholicism (resurrections, apparitions, ascensions and immacu-late co-nceptions).

    Current problems:
    Adulterous preachers, pedophiliac clerics, "propheteering/ profiteering" evangelicals and atonement theology,

    3. Mohammed was an illiterate, womanizing, lust and greed-driven, warmongering, hallucinating Arab, who also had embellishing/hallucinating/plagiarizing scribal biographers who not only added "angels" and flying chariots to the koran but also a militaristic agenda to support the plundering and looting of the lands of non-believers.

    This agenda continues as shown by the ma-ssacre in Mumbai, the as-sas-sinations of Bhutto and Theo Van Gogh, the conduct of the seven Muslim doctors in the UK, the 9/11 terrorists, the 24/7 Sunni suicide/roadside/market/mosque bombers, the 24/7 Shiite suicide/roadside/market/mosque bombers, the Islamic bombers of the trains in the UK and Spain, the Bali crazies, the Kenya crazies, the Pakistani “koranics”, the Palestine suicide bombers/rocketeers, the Lebanese nutcases, the Taliban nut jobs, the Ft. Hood follower of the koran, and the Filipino “koranics”.

    And who funds this muck and stench of terror? The warmongering, Islamic, Shiite terror and torture theocracy of Iran aka the Third Axis of Evil and also the Sunni "Wannabees" of Saudi Arabia.

    Current crises:

    The Sunni-Shiite blood feud and the warmongering, womanizing (11 wives), hallucinating founder.

    4. Hinduism (from an online Hindu site) – "Hinduism cannot be described as an organized religion. It is not founded by any individual. Hinduism is God centered and therefore one can call Hinduism as founded by God, because the answer to the question ‘Who is behind the eternal principles and who makes them work?’ will have to be ‘Cosmic power, Divine power, God’."

    The caste/laborer system, reincarnation and cow worship/reverence are problems when saying a fair and rational God founded Hinduism."

    Current problems:

    The caste system, reincarnation and cow worship/reverence.

    5. Buddhism- "Buddhism began in India about 500 years before the birth of Christ. The people living at that time had become disillusioned with certain beliefs of Hinduism including the caste system, which had grown extremely complex. The number of outcasts (those who did not belong to any particular caste) was continuing to grow."

    "However, in Buddhism, like so many other religions, fanciful stories arose concerning events in the life of the founder, Siddhartha Gautama (fifth century B.C.):"

    Archaeological discoveries have proved, beyond a doubt, his historical character, but apart from the legends we know very little about the circu-mstances of his life. e.g. Buddha by one legend was supposedly talking when he came out of his mother's womb.

    Bottom line: There are many good ways of living but be aware of the hallucinations, embellishments, lies, and myths surrounding the founders and foundations of said rules of life.

    Then, apply the Five F rule: "First Find the Flaws, then Fix the Foundations". And finally there will be religious peace and religious awareness in the world!!!!!

    January 29, 2012 at 11:16 am |
  18. George Marshall

    I despair that these are the most ignorant and incomprehensible posts that I have encountered. Doesn't anyone know how to write? Whether or not someone believes in religion is solely a personal and private matter. Religious beliefs are none of my business or anyone else's.

    January 29, 2012 at 8:59 am |
    • IceT

      I agree, religion is very personal .. and should stay that way.

      January 29, 2012 at 9:27 am |
  19. Reality

    Dear Florida Evangelicals,

    Beware of the Infamous Angelic Cons:

    Joe Smith had his Moroni.

    "Latter-day Saints also believe that Michael the Archangel was Adam (the first man) when he was mortal, and Gabriel lived on the earth as Noah."

    Jehovah Witnesses have their Jesus /Michael the archangel, the first angelic being created by God;

    Mohammed had his Gabriel (this "tin-kerbell" got around).

    Jesus and his family had Michael, Gabriel, and Satan, the latter being a modern day dem-on of the de-mented.

    The Abraham-Moses myths had their Angel of Death and other "no-namers" to do their dirty work or other assorted duties.

    Contemporary biblical and religious scholars have relegated these "pretty wingie thingies" to the myth pile. We should do the same to include deleting all references to them in our religious operating manuals. Doing this will eliminate the prophet/profit/prophecy status of these founders and put them where they belong as simple humans just like the rest of us.

    Added details are available.

    January 29, 2012 at 8:42 am |
  20. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things
    Speak Lord for your servant listens

    January 29, 2012 at 6:57 am |
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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.