Religious exemptions grow in contraception mandate
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius says "the president's policy respects religious liberty."
March 16th, 2012
08:00 PM ET

Religious exemptions grow in contraception mandate

By Eric Marrapodi and Jessica Yellin, CNN

Washington (CNN) - The Obama administration announced late Friday two new steps in a controversial contraception mandate.

In an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking posted in the Federal Register, the administration offered several policy suggestions that would require the administrator of the insurance policy, not the religious institution or the insurer, to pay for contraception coverage.

The Obama administration also announced a new final rule on student health plans that effectively applies the contraception accommodation to religiously affiliated universities. This means students at religious universities that have moral objections can get contraception for free through their insurance providers. Schools have a one-year grace period before complying.

For religious institutions that provide their own insurance, the mandate opened the door to Americans to "formally comment on ideas for implementing this policy."

Sandra Fluke, the student who was at the center of a firestorm over contraception rules at her religious university, applauded the decision, saying in a statement, "I am very pleased that under these policies all women, regardless of what school they attend or where they work, will soon have affordable access to contraception."

The original mandate, enforcing part of the Affordable Care Act, included that insurers must provide, at no cost, all FDA-approved forms of contraception. Houses of worship have been exempted from the start, but now the administration is widening those exemptions to include other religiously affiliated groups.

Religious groups across a wide spectrum denounced the mandate, saying it infringed on their religious liberty. Most vocal was the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

"The bishops will begin analyzing it immediately, but now is too early to know what it says," said Sister Mary Ann Walsh, a spokeswoman with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

"I'm surprised such important information would be announced late Friday on St. Patrick's Day weekend as we prepare for the fourth Sunday of Lent," she added.

The new regulation prohibits lifetime limits on contraception and covers preventive services without cost-sharing for students on a college or university health plan. The new rule outlines that religious colleges and universities will not have to "pay, arrange, or refer" contraceptives for students, according to a statement from the Department of Health and Human Services.

"The president's policy respects religious liberty and makes free preventive services available to women," Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in the statement. "Today's announcement is the next step toward fulfilling that commitment."

The White House held a Friday afternoon conference call with stakeholders outlining the new plan, according to a Democratic activist who participated in the call but was not authorized to speak on the record about it.

Joshua DuBois, the director of the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, led the call, and Catholic health care and advocacy groups joined, the source said.

The extension of the religious exemption to colleges had been a major point of contention for many religious institutions.

"This is something the bishops should be happy about," said Steve Schneck, director of the Institute for Policy Research and Catholic Studies at the Catholic University of America.

"I think the take-away from this is, it's clear the administration is serious about its efforts to address the concerns of the Catholic bishops and others as it relates to the insurance mandate."

In an effort to address concerns of religious groups that self-insure, the new rules suggest creating "an exemption for group health plans established or maintained by certain religious employers."

The policy continued with a suggested four-part definition of who might qualify. It says the group must have religious values as its purpose, primarily employ people who share those religious beliefs, primarily serve persons who share those beliefs and be a nonprofit organization.

When the preliminary rule for the contraception mandate was released last year, it had a different four-point definition for a religious organization. Religious colleges and charities were all but written out of the definition, so they would not be included in the exemption.

According to the source, the administration said it does not want the new definition used as a precedent for future policies and regulation, the source said.

"It should ameliorate some of their concerns," Schneck said of the bishops.

Earlier this week, the U.S. Conference of Bishops said in a statement that the fight over the contraception mandate was strictly a religious liberty issue.

"One particular religious freedom issue demands our immediate attention: the now-finalized rule of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that would force virtually all private health plans nationwide to provide coverage of sterilization and contraception-including abortifacient drugs-subject to an exemption for 'religious employers' that is arbitrarily narrow, and to an unspecified and dubious future 'accommodation' for other religious organizations that are denied the exemption," the statement read.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: 2012 Election • Belief • Bishops • Catholic Church • Christianity • Church and state • Politics

soundoff (695 Responses)
  1. tilsunexplod

    I'm so sick of this........

    March 17, 2012 at 12:24 am |
  2. tilsunexplod

    I'm no fan of religion either, but THEY'RE NOT THE PROBLEM IN THIS CASE!!!!!!! They have every right to NOT want their TAX DOLLARS (insurance premiums... same gd thing anymore!) spent on something they have a strong personal moral objection to.. AND THEY HAVE THAT RIGHT!!!!!!!!!

    March 17, 2012 at 12:23 am |
    • RillyKewl

      Their tax dollars??
      The churches pay taxes now? Oh, that's nice. Guess you should be the one to tell them. Good luck with that.
      And once they do, you can let them know that when the check clears, we'll be interested in their healthcare policy opinions.

      March 17, 2012 at 12:33 am |
  3. tilsunexplod

    you people are all nuts.... the actual cost of the stupid contraception at issue is: "Cost about $15–$50 each month" quoted from the first result of Google. But the exalted **Sandra Fluke" is QUOTED in this article: "I am very pleased that under these policies all women, regardless of what school they attend or where they work, will soon have AFFORDABLE access to contraception."..........THIS IS THE FALLACY PEOPLE!!!!! You DON'T NEED INSURANCE or GOVERNMENT ASSISTANCE FOR THIS!!!!!! THIS IS HOW THE SOCIALISTS ARE FOOLING THE STUPID MASSES!!!!!!

    March 17, 2012 at 12:20 am |
  4. tilsunexplod

    you people are all nuts.... the actual cost of the stupid contraception at issue is: "Cost about $15–$50 each month" quoted from the first result of Google. But the exalted **Sandra Fluke" is QUOTED in this article: "I am very pleased that under these policies all women, regardless of what school they attend or where they work, will soon have AFFORDABLE access to contraception."..........THIS IS THE FALLACY PEOPLE!!!!!

    March 17, 2012 at 12:18 am |
    • RillyKewl

      Why don't you go ask your Mommy how oral contraception is prescribed.
      Maybe she can explain it to you.

      March 17, 2012 at 12:35 am |
  5. BunnyBunny

    The Church (even with tax exempt status) is acting as an employer they come under secular laws, which legitimately trump any mystical authority.

    If they do not want their congregation to take birth control tell them. Other employees, who are not as religious may want birth control.

    Their insurance would have to be written up different than everybody else's. They would require a special privilege in their insurance. What if a company has a religious objection to blood transfusions or to pre-natal care can they bar the insurance from providing that care?

    March 17, 2012 at 12:12 am |
  6. Joesnopy

    Please Please Please keep it up RePubs. You are handing Obama the White House for 4 more years. The true RePubs are letting the right wing church going nuts kill the GOP.

    March 17, 2012 at 12:12 am |
  7. bill

    Now we are discussing contraception?

    These lunatics would vote for Fidel Castro if he said he was a right wing republican.

    March 17, 2012 at 12:11 am |
  8. Reality

    For printing in the next Federal Register:

    Guidance for women on how to care for themselves "contraceptually":

    FIRST-YEAR CONTRACEPTIVE FAILURE RATES- From the Guttmacher Insti-tute

    Percentage of women experiencing an unintended pregnancy (a few examples)


    Pill (combined)……… 8.7
    Tubal sterilization ……0.7
    Male condom ……….17.4
    Vasectomy…………… 0.2
    IUD (Copper-T).............1.0
    (Masturbation mono or dual).............. 0

    Periodic abstinence.. 25.3 (RCC approved)
    Calendar.................... 9.0 (RCC approved)
    Ovulation Method....... 3.0 (RCC approved)
    Sympto-therma.......... 2.0 (RCC approved)
    Post-ovulation............. 1.0 (RCC approved)

    No method................. 85.0" (RCC approved and important to women wanting to get pregnant)

    (Abstinence)................... 0 (RCC approved)

    March 17, 2012 at 12:10 am |
    • Bobs Friend

      Reality, I have to congratulate on what is probably your most mature post yet!
      Who knew that the calendar method was comparable to the pill? And it's free!!

      March 17, 2012 at 12:33 am |
    • Future Texas Doc

      Not so fast Bob's Friend. Calendar, Ovulation, Symptothermal, and post-ovulation all fall under periodic abstinence, which has a typical failure rate of 25.3% according to Guttmacher. Guttmacher does not list the specific typical failure rates for those methods; it only has the "perfect use" failure rate. Compare the perfect use of the Calendar Method (9%) to the perfect use of combined pills (0.3%), and that's quite a bit different.

      March 17, 2012 at 12:52 am |
  9. Loren32

    NO one is trying to prohibit women's healthcare...

    March 16, 2012 at 11:50 pm |
    • Don't be so ignorant!

      Well that was deluded, loren.

      A great many people are trying to ban forms of womens' healthcare, and perhaps you are too young to remember, but when it was illegal before, large numbers of women turned to "back alley" abortions, often performed in unsanitary conditions by untrained people. Injuries and death were very common.

      Inhibiting access to contraceptives IS a form of prohibiting womens' healthcare.

      March 16, 2012 at 11:56 pm |
    • Dennis

      just define what it can be.

      March 16, 2012 at 11:57 pm |
    • Chris

      Good. Now let's stop insurance coverage for the treatment of vasectomies and prostate cancer. Men can pay out of pocket, right?
      Vasectomies are for equality with contraception.
      Prostate cancer is for equality with polycystic ovarian syndrome. If one is not covered because men can't get it, only women, then it should work the other way around.

      Now that I think about it, any prescription that can be paid with money need not be covered by your health insurance.

      March 16, 2012 at 11:59 pm |
    • Loren32

      Women that kill their unborn children should deserve death in a back alley.

      March 16, 2012 at 11:59 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      What about the men that impregnate them, Lori?

      March 17, 2012 at 12:13 am |
    • BMW57

      Healthcare that is too costly to afford is prohibited healthcare. If we cannot afford it it is of no value

      March 17, 2012 at 12:14 am |
    • Bobs Friend

      @ Ignorant:

      Your ridiculous argument that because there used to be "back alley" abortions we need legal abortion is like saying make robbery or murder legal because people still do it despite it being illegal.

      "This is really bad.. wait I know!! Lets legalize it" DUHHHHH

      Your dedication to sin has blinded you.
      Eph 5:14 This is why it is said: "Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you."

      March 17, 2012 at 12:25 am |
    • RillyKewl

      No, just another half dozen states + all of those clerics who showed up for Issa's Congressional Spanish Inquisition.
      Also all of the republican candidates running for office.
      You mean nobody other than those people?
      Or were you referring to some one else? Sister Mary Ann Walsh is certainly trying to keep her bishops busy condemning people who need coverage for contraception. She's a real nasty piece of work.

      March 17, 2012 at 12:51 am |
    • RillyKewl

      I'll meet you in a dark alley, Loren. Say that again, when we get there.

      March 17, 2012 at 12:54 am |
    • Bobs Friend is ignorant too

      Banning abortion will not stop abortion; it won't even slow it much. Like drugs, it will be driven underground, where desperate women will be maimed and killed in unsanitary or unsafe procedures, as it was before. If you knew your history, you would know that the way it was before was a strong force in legalizing abortion.

      You are blinded by your ideology, and it has led you to abandon your humanity.

      No need to comment further to loren32, who has proven to be psychotic.

      March 17, 2012 at 2:24 am |
  10. Dennis

    The christian reich would turn this country into their own Doma if they could.

    March 16, 2012 at 11:49 pm |
  11. Religion_is_for_sickos

    This is actually quite good. This will push the issue of employer paid healthcare right to the front burner and topple the stranglehold the capitalists have had over this aspect to slave labor, and help to force a single payor system to our healthcare. YEAH, good job your twisted mental fvcks in the straight jacket land of christiantiy. You know there never was a person named jesus chris. Try learning about the world around you. zeitgeistmovie.c.o.m
    Fvcking tools.
    "We will never be free untilt he last monarch is strangled with the entrails of the last priest."

    March 16, 2012 at 11:48 pm |
    • Loren32

      Never heard of Jesus Chris...

      March 16, 2012 at 11:52 pm |
    • tgallant

      Too bad you did not pick up your meds today.

      March 16, 2012 at 11:59 pm |
    • What ACrock!

      You DON'T believe in the Jesus of the Bible but you lap up the bilge that a bunch of Zeitgeisters spew with NO proof at all while they're taking your money on street corners......................?

      You're obviously a good example of the failed American education system.

      March 17, 2012 at 1:40 am |
  12. gotburquas?

    Women we have to keep LOUD AND PROUD. The Christian Sharia Law Taliban is noticing oh gee, maybe we ought to take a cooling off period. Yeah, you do that, but we will still be marching, still be making sure state and federal legislators know, you deny me my reproductive rights, you lose the women's vote. They are shaking because they know, they stepped in a a poop patch, and they can't get it off their shoes.

    March 16, 2012 at 11:47 pm |
    • What ACrock!

      While you're all getting your knickers in a twist about "women's rights"which are only under threat in your fevered imaginations -– you havent NOTICED that the NDAA has come into effect while you had your eyes off the ball! The NDAA means you've ALL lost your freedom [and, effectively your Bill of Righrs] and you didn't notice!!!!!!!! How stupid are you?

      March 17, 2012 at 1:44 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Hmmm. "Knickers in a twist" and "fevered imagination." Both phrases I've used but rarely seen posted by anyone else, yet here you are, using them.

      Obvious troll is obvious.

      March 18, 2012 at 11:22 am |
  13. postedbygeo

    The invasion of America by middle-eastern-religions is gaining strength, christianity-islam-judism are middle-eastern, they pay homage to their mecca-jerusaleum , they have dragged America into their religious squabbles. According to their revised books, innocent pure newborn children are born evil, dirty and condemned until they are converted to a middle-eastern religion. These religions were born out of poverty, displaced Egyptian workers no longer needed to build pyramids were sent away with memories of Egyptian man-gods that were molded into their new modified Egyptian religions.

    March 16, 2012 at 11:47 pm |
    • Ah....wait just a second

      But just give em a dunk, and they will be warshed all clean. Poofp.

      March 16, 2012 at 11:51 pm |
  14. Hannah

    I don't get this whole argument. Should it be a woman's right to have her insurance cover birth control. After all they cover Viagra fro men. Never vote for a Republican if you are a woman. Never vote Republican if you are a working person. That covers most of the people in this country.

    March 16, 2012 at 11:22 pm |
    • Jack

      you are confused at best... try grammar and a little intellect... try again?

      March 16, 2012 at 11:32 pm |
    • John

      I assume you mean never vote Republican if you are a working person that works for the Government. Try working for yourself, and then make that statement. Sigh.

      March 16, 2012 at 11:34 pm |
    • VanHagar

      Classic liberal response to all problems–some one else has the obligation to pay for something to make my life complete.

      March 16, 2012 at 11:39 pm |
    • RAWR

      Jack, why would she listen to you? You cannot even use proper capitalization.

      March 16, 2012 at 11:41 pm |
    • Loren32

      Many things cause impotency for men, thus viagra. Only one thing causes pregnancy, yet there are many ways to not get pregnant with out people paying for your birth control.

      March 16, 2012 at 11:56 pm |
    • rpratz

      Really? Most plans do NOT cover ED treatment. Get a grip!!

      March 16, 2012 at 11:59 pm |
    • Jeff

      VanHagar, I'm personally paying for my insurance through my university, and I would not like to be told that my medications are not being covered due to religious beliefs. Someone else doesn't pay my insurance, I personally pay my insurance.

      March 16, 2012 at 11:59 pm |
    • tgallant

      The issue is religious rights and whether there should be a copay. Anyone going to Georgetown can get birthcontrol for 9 per month. Fluke thinks it should be covered under the student's heath plan and be free no copay.

      March 17, 2012 at 12:01 am |
    • Chris

      Loren32... is being impotent a deadly disease? Does it prevent someone from keeping a job?
      Polycystic ovarian syndrome is deadly if a cyst ruptures and the woman doesn't get emergency surgery. But cyst growth can be inhibited by oral contraceptives.
      Dysmenorrhea and endometriosis are painful, disabling diseases. They can force sufferers from going to work for several days every month. Oral contraceptives are often prescribed to treat those conditions.

      March 17, 2012 at 12:04 am |
    • reply

      The whole point of health insurance is to provide coverage for unforeseen events that can cause financial distress for the insured. We have turned it into something else entirely. There are a lot of things that are covered that shouldn't be. There should be some other mechanism to pay for these items. If we continue to require insurance companies to pay for more and more, they will just continue to jack up the rates making the cost of insurance more of a financial hardship than it already is. Fewer people will be able to afford it. This just makes it harder for the economy to recover. There has got to be another way.

      March 17, 2012 at 12:07 am |
    • Chris

      @ tgalant... not all birth control pills are equal.
      Mine cost $30 a month in copay (with health insurance that covers the rest of the costs). I cannot change as it took a while to find the one that would reduce my horrible menstrual pain and heavy bleeding every 21-35 days. The $9 ones do not work for me.
      I do not take those pill for fun, I take it because I cannot live a normal life and work without it. I am a young widow and have not had s3x in longer than any man would survive.

      And I am not alone. Many women take specific BC pills to treat various disabling (even deadly) conditions. They can't just take the $9 one. Trust me, I would chose to pay $9 instead of $30 if I could.

      March 17, 2012 at 12:09 am |
    • reply

      @ Chris. I think the problem is with the name of the item. Because it is called B/C pills, many people (nearly all males) assume the sole purpose of taking the pill is to avoid pregnancy. As you point out, there are many important reasons for taking these pills and they have everything to do with a medical condition and nothing to do with entertainment. Perhaps they should be treated like cosmetic surgeries. If it is to treat a condition it's covered by insurance. If it is simply to avoid pregnancy, it is not covered. The prescribing doctor can indicate which is the case on the prescription. I am fine with having my insurance premiums increase if it means helping someone with a medical condition. However, I think it is wrong to require insurance companies, ultimately the policy holders, to pay for items that are not being used to treat a medical condition. Insurance does not cover elective cosmetic surgery. I think that is a good precedence. If it's just to avoid pregnancy, go purchase a box of condoms from Walmart.

      March 17, 2012 at 12:25 am |
    • RillyKewl

      Don't vote republican if you liked the 20th Century.
      Now that we've entered the 21st, they're pulling us back into the Middle Ages.

      Never vote republican. The whole party is run by 17 billionaires + thats it. They think everybody else is just their stooge.
      They just do this War on Women hate-mongering to rally votes from the lunatic fringe anyway. Nobody will vote for them now.

      March 17, 2012 at 1:01 am |
    • VanHagar

      @Jeff...what you'd like is fine–but please don't fall into the group that says you have a right to it and that someone else should pay for it. If your paying for your insurance–you get what you pay for. If you don't like it, find supplemental coverage or something else entirely different. Your lament that you don't want someone's religious convictions dictating what type of medication is paid for under your plan is no different than that other person's lament that your dictating how they should act. It cuts both ways.

      March 17, 2012 at 1:10 am |
  15. the_golem

    now that religious organizations are into politics, are they going to lose their tax exempt statuses?

    March 16, 2012 at 11:21 pm |
    • tgallant

      Planned Parenthood and NOW are into politics...should they lose there tax exempt status?

      March 17, 2012 at 12:03 am |
    • the_golem

      well, duh, yes of course- tax exempt means you are not part of the political system. violate that, and face the wrath of the irs

      March 17, 2012 at 1:02 am |
    • RillyKewl

      YES! They absolutely should. They should shut up until they do.
      Planned Parenthood and NOW are in different status categories, and NOW is a registered lobby.

      March 17, 2012 at 1:03 am |
  16. ppedo

    Anybody who works with insurance companies knows they don't give anything away. The
    Church will end up paying in spite of Obama's "exemption. The dems and the women's movement have hijacked the administrations assault on the first amendment. What's next.

    March 16, 2012 at 11:18 pm |
    • tgallant

      You are right. Of all the commenters here, you see what the real issue is.

      March 17, 2012 at 12:04 am |
  17. CRC

    The dems don't get it and never will. It doesn't matter who is paying for the birth control meds; it only matters that the Catholic church is ultimately the vehicle that these meds use to get to its members. In other words if it wasn't for the Catholic church, the insurance carrier would not have a way to address those people in that church with birth control meds.

    March 16, 2012 at 11:09 pm |
  18. Rob

    How thoughtful of insurance administrators to pay for birth control for free. Obama should just make a law that everything is free. I'm just glad I live in a country where insurance companies have unlimited money that doesn't come from their clients' premiums so they can give lifestyle drugs away for free.

    March 16, 2012 at 11:07 pm |
    • Ah....wait just a second

      Well they give "lifestyle" Viagra to men, and Prenatal/Postnatal care as covered services to many people. Maybe just stop giving shots to kids, as "life" is a "lifestlye".

      March 16, 2012 at 11:15 pm |
    • Ah....wait just a second

      They cover Pancreat'itis for alchys, liver transplants for alchys, rehab for drug users, repeat kidneys for non-compliants ...who do you want to kill ? Where do you draw the line ? Coronary bypasses for fat people, angioplasites for fast food eaters ...CALL THE POOOLICE.

      March 16, 2012 at 11:19 pm |
    • Ah....wait just a second

      When are these idiots gonna get it through their thick heads, IT'S CHEAPER TO PAY FOR BC, than to pay for the results of NOT providing it ?

      March 16, 2012 at 11:22 pm |
    • ISRob Aretatard

      Lifestyle drug. Wow man you are an absolute re-tard. I hope you choke to death on your bible.

      March 16, 2012 at 11:28 pm |
    • Gary

      Uh, yeah, insurance company expense is lower with birth control included. Babies cost a lot more than birth control pills! Catholic requirement to not cover birth control results in more expensive policies currently. Catholic church will in the end have lower cost insurance policies due to Fed Govt requiring insurance company to "give away" birth control.

      March 16, 2012 at 11:29 pm |
    • Lindalou

      Wait a second..that's the stupidity of this whole thing. How is it not cheaper for the insurance company to supply b/c as opposed to go thru start to finish with a pregnancy.

      March 16, 2012 at 11:33 pm |
    • Bobs Friend

      Yea, I think all you liberals are right: Humans beings are expensive, so why don't we just kill them all and balance the budget. Then we could all have more for ourselves!!

      Your argument is no win. Human Beings are not worthless tissues to be disposed.

      March 16, 2012 at 11:54 pm |
    • rpratz

      So, IsRob, if you are really suggesting that female contraception is a necessary medical expenditure, then you must be a complete moron! Further, your uncecessarily vindictive comments demonstrate your utter lack of understanding of the scope of the medical insurance question before this country!

      March 16, 2012 at 11:56 pm |
    • reply

      I like eating chocolate. It makes me feel good. Can we require insurance companies to pay for it?

      March 17, 2012 at 12:10 am |
  19. big brother

    "I'm surprised such important information would be announced late Friday on St. Patrick's Day weekend as we prepare for the fourth Sunday of Lent," she added.


    Does this nun really believe the Federal Government runs on the Lenten calendar?

    March 16, 2012 at 11:07 pm |
    • Dimentex

      I was thinking the same thing – I'm a lapsed Catholic, but like non-Catholics have any bloody clue what "Lent" is.... and no offense, sister, but the 4th Sunday of Lent ain't nothing special. Two weeks from now on Palm Sunday, you might have an argument...

      March 16, 2012 at 11:26 pm |
    • Ah....wait just a second

      3 weeks from now, the biggest myth of all time. Still no point.

      March 16, 2012 at 11:35 pm |
    • BMW57

      Soemone tell me why the US government gives a carp what the council of bishops says or thinks.

      Lauren, A fetus is still not a person. This has been long decided in the US. I am sorry if you cannot get your archaic head around this. Oh and the sun does not revolve around the earth either, Galelleo was right.

      March 17, 2012 at 12:22 am |
  20. SafeJourney

    Just keep talking Repubs, just keep talking and trying to prohibit womens health care. You will be voted out next elections.
    Why do you think the intelligent, sane repubs are sitting out this general election

    March 16, 2012 at 10:57 pm |
    • Religion_is_for_sickos

      Correct-a-mundo. This Group Of Pedophiles is too fvcked up, and there will be a precipitous dropoff of at least 15% of Rethugnikkkan doofuses. Yeah. Obama 2012.
      This also means taking back the House and keeping the Senate, so we will be able to pass single payor, and the other truly useful things that need to be accomplished.
      K|ll the GOP, and put it out to pasture, and thank the religious right.

      March 16, 2012 at 11:55 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.