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My Take: Dear God: How to pray on National Day of Prayer?
President Barack Obama praying at a White House Easter event in April.
May 3rd, 2012
09:51 AM ET

My Take: Dear God: How to pray on National Day of Prayer?

Editor's Note: Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion scholar and author of "God is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions that Run the World," is a regular CNN Belief Blog contributor.

By Stephen Prothero, Special to CNN

Dear Deity,

In the Milky Way, on planet Earth, in the United States of America, Thursday is our National Day of Prayer, so I am writing to ask You how to pray.

Seventy eight percent or so of U.S. citizens are Christians, so should we pray today to the Christian God? This seems to be the conviction of the folks at the National Day of Prayer Task Force, which pops up first if you Google “National Day of Prayer.” (By the way, do You Google, God? And if so do you ever Google "God"?)

The NDP Task Force refers to itself as “Judeo-Christian,” but it sure looks evangelical to me. It has been chaired since 1991 by Shirley Dobson, the wife of Focus on the Family founder (and evangelical stalwart) James Dobson. Its site quotes liberally from the New Testament, and one of its goals is to “foster unity within the Christian Church.”

A NDP Task Force press release begins: “Americans to Unite and Pray on Thursday, May 3rd, for the 61st Annual Observance of the National Day of Prayer." But will their sort of prayer really unite our nation?

Twenty four percent of Americans are Catholics, and God knows they don’t pray the way evangelicals do. Nearly 2% are Mormons and another 2% are Jews. And neither of those groups talks to You with the easy familiarity of born-again Christians.

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And what about American Hindus and Muslims and Buddhists?  Muslims agree with their Jewish and Christian neighbors that there is one God. But how to pray as a nation when some believers affirm more than one God and some affirm fewer?

As You obviously know, the 1.6% of Americans who call themselves atheists and the 2.4% who call themselves agnostics refer to today as the National Day of Reason. On their web site, they argue that our National Day of Prayer represents an unwanted and unconstitutional intrusion of religion into the workings of the U.S. government.

In his various proclamations of the National Day of Prayer, including this year's, President Obama has referred to prayer as an important part of U.S. history. He speaks of the Continental Congress and Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King, Jr. being driven to their knees by the force of the tasks set before them.

But when our national icons have prayed on our behalf, they have done so in generic terms. Washington addressed “the Almighty”; Jefferson called on “that Infinite Power.” They did so because they wanted prayer to unite us, not to divide us, and they knew from the start that different Americans call You by different names.

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But addressing “Providence” in vague pieties will not satisfy everyone either. The evangelicals at the NPD Task Force reject efforts to “homogenize” America’s many different ways of praying into one common prayer.

I see their point. Like language, religion is a specific sort of thing. If you are going to speak, you need to choose a language. If you are going to pray, you need to choose a religion (and a god). So if they want to pray to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, more power to them.

But what happens when that particular prayer language is put forth as our collective national language? What happens when we pray, as Rick Warren did at President Obama’s inaugural, “in the name of the one who changed my life, Yeshua, Isa, Jesus”? Then prayer turns into a wedge, dividing those who call you Christ from those who call You Krishna (or do not call on You at all).

So I return to my original question: How should we pray on this National Day of Prayer?

But while I have Your attention (do I?) I have one more.

This year the NDP Task Force has chosen for its theme “One Nation Under God” and its Bible quote is: “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord” (Psalms 33:12). Is our god You? Since 1954 we have bragged in our Pledge of Allegiance that we are "one nation under God." Are we?

All too often, it seems to me, we use You rather than following You. Democrats ask You to shill for them on tax policy and immigration. Republicans claim to speak in Your name on abortion and gay marriage. Does this annoy You — playing the pawn in our political chess games? Don't You sometimes just want to smite us?

Finally, before I let you go, I must ask You about the marginal tax rate for the wealthiest Americans. Perhaps You have more important things on your plate, but while I have Your attention (do I?) I must ask: What portion of their income should millionaires pay to the U.S. government? When President Kennedy came into office the highest income tax rate was 91%. Was that too high? Today it is 35%. Is that too low? (Just curious.)

This prayer is already too long, so I should stop. But if You are still there (are You?) maybe you could just tell me whether You follow the Roman Catholic Church. If so, could you comment on the recent fight the Vatican has been picking with American nuns? Do you think our nuns should be spending more time fighting contraception and less time caring for the poor and the sick?

And do get back to me on that how to pray thing. We’re all supposed to do it on Thursday, together.

Sincerely,

Steve

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Stephen Prothero.

- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: Barack Obama • Catholic Church • Christianity • Politics • Prayer • Uncategorized • United States

soundoff (4,673 Responses)
  1. Cannan

    I teach history. And I have learned a great deal about the history of world religions and cultures. I have read the Koran, Torah, Hindu (sanskrit texts), Buddhism, zoroasrianism, confucianism and the Gospels of the New Testament.

    But today, I am a firm believer of the Gospels written by Jesus' apostles. Why? The reasons are endless, but one is the fact that the book of Genesis in Chapter 16 and 25 (written 1200 years before the birth of Christ) indicated that Abraham's son, Ishmael (the father of the Arab people) will be a wild man full of anger and his descedants will be hostile toward his brothers. The Bible clearly indicates that the brothers of the Arabs are the Jews (Isaac, son of Abraham and brother of Ishmael). Today, although the Bible made this prophetic statement 3200 years ago, Arabs are hostile against the Jews.

    Another reason I am a firm believer of the Gospels is because 700 years before the birth of Christ, Isaiah wrote EXACTLY what would happen to Jesus and the events to follow after his death. It is a shocking accuracy, one that even Jews do not like to acknowledge. Read Isaiah from chapters 50 through 53.

    The third is that in Genesis, and throughout the Bible, God warns that if anyone raises their hands against his chosen people (Jews) they will feel his wrath. It is amazing, hw the Jews have continued to exist despite ALL of their enemies since ancient times. And every one of them has suffered greatly after raising their hands against the people of Judea. Just look at the history, Babylon, Assyria, Rome (city of Pompei a couple of years after the destruction of Jesrusalem in 73 AD), Russia (one generation after the Jewish Pogroms the entire Romanov Dynasty was annihialated followed with generations of terror under Stalin and Soviet leaders), and Nazi Germany.

    Yet it says that when you bless Jews, the nation prospers. The U.S. was the only nation opening their arms to them after 1880's. It so happens that is when America began to evolve to a world power. Coincidence? My intelligence and sources I refuse to think that.

    The accuracy of the New Testament is even more compelling. I am therefore a firm believer of the Gospels of Jesus' Apostles.

    May 3, 2012 at 8:37 pm |
    • Deist

      . . . and the Council of Nicaea . . ? en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Council_of_Nicaea

      May 3, 2012 at 8:40 pm |
    • Godoflunaticscreation

      ACT NOW AND GET A JESUS MUG AND T-SHIRT!

      May 3, 2012 at 8:40 pm |
    • BRod

      I used to think like you do. Took me over a decade to break through all the brainwashing. Religion ruined my life.

      May 3, 2012 at 8:42 pm |
    • Lol

      Lol stop lying, you don't know history, let alone teach it, ya lying troll moron liar.

      May 3, 2012 at 8:46 pm |
    • Mosby

      Your natural Christian affinity skews your view in that direction, but that's fine. I'd like to see more self-proclaimed Christians act more like Jesus, and understand, forgive and even love their enemies, and share their wealth with the poor.
      You know what I've noticed about Jews? They seem unusually kind and generous, more so in many ways than Christians - just the opposite of their chariciture. You know I've noticed about Muslims I've met in America? They're unusually peace loving, more so in many ways than Christians – just the opposite of the stereotype. The enemies to peace use the name of religion to mask their true aim – domination – but they are enemies alike to Jews, Christians, Muslims, and all the other religions combined. God is good, but warring over God is bad.

      May 3, 2012 at 9:08 pm |
  2. Madame

    Soon the Muslims will take over America, as they've done almost in Europe... so you nonbelievers will have it even tougher

    May 3, 2012 at 8:36 pm |
    • Godoflunaticscreation

      You sound schizophrenic. Seek help.

      May 3, 2012 at 8:37 pm |
    • BRod

      Makes your god sound pretty useless, huh?

      May 3, 2012 at 8:43 pm |
  3. George P

    Bottom line is all are going to believe and pray, or not, their own way. As a Christian I respect that. I wish, just once, for the sake of unity, a president would say, "On this national day of prayer, I will silently pray in my own way, and encourage those that believe in a God, or higher power, to do the same". Close his eyes and do what's in his heart. As we all should.

    As a Christian, of course I think my faith is the right faith, but am commanded by my God to get along with others. And yes I believe that means I should have the right to say and think what I believe, but not require or force anyone to feel the same. I'm not God and have NO right to pass judgement, but I should have the right to believe what I believe and not have to feel persecuted. Like all should.

    May 3, 2012 at 8:35 pm |
    • James PDX

      That is just common sense. Too bad it's so uncommon.

      May 3, 2012 at 8:37 pm |
  4. live4grace

    Hey, NPD was organized by Chrisitans. If that's offensive, organize another one that you find more tasteful. No one's forcing anyone to do anything. If people on the right mix their politics with their faith they aren't the only ones. But prayer is never a bad thing, please.

    May 3, 2012 at 8:34 pm |
  5. Pope_Inquisitor

    god is pretend, just myth. There are no demons, deities, dragons or unicorns or leprechauns.

    May 3, 2012 at 8:34 pm |
  6. Everett Wallace

    I have no religion, I have no denomination affiliation do NOT go to church.. I trust in GOD THE FATHER GOD THE SON GOD THE HOLYSPIRIT. I have seen the unseen GOD who is known as the FATHER. HE is the only one who created the Heavens and Earth book of genesis. HE has placed HIS anointing upon me. HE touched me 7 times on my heart and 7 times on my head and to tell you how HIS touch felt. Imagine having an orgasm and intensify it 10 times. Not crazy been to mental hospital twice and jail twice ALL because I acknowledge that I have seen HIM. I told the church leaders back in 2005 and This is what has happened to me.

    May 3, 2012 at 8:33 pm |
    • BRod

      Ewww! Pervy god. 0_o

      May 3, 2012 at 8:34 pm |
    • edwardo

      Total freak !!

      May 3, 2012 at 8:36 pm |
    • Godoflunaticscreation

      Apparently he only touches altar boys now.

      May 3, 2012 at 8:36 pm |
  7. Jonathan

    I'm sorry but there are way more than 3.6% agnostics and atheists in America.

    May 3, 2012 at 8:32 pm |
    • Crom

      The percentage doesn't matter. Atheists and honest agnostics are head and shoulders above everyone else in the sanity dept.

      May 3, 2012 at 8:34 pm |
    • !

      You counted and asked all 312 million Americans?

      Stop making the numbers bigger

      May 3, 2012 at 8:34 pm |
    • n8263

      It should have been mentioned that including atheists and agnostics nearly 20% of Americans are non-religious and this segment is growing much faster than any religious segment.

      May 3, 2012 at 8:34 pm |
    • BRod

      Most people who say they are Christian, really aren't. When pressed, you will find that they don't truly believe all that garbage in the Bible. "Christian" means so many different things to so many different people, that it has essentially lost all meaning.

      May 3, 2012 at 8:36 pm |
    • Mosby

      Great job, Steve Prothero. God doesn't control the weather or mankind. God is good, that's all. The only thing worth praying for is for man to be inpired by the wisdom that his role on Earth is to help others, to make a family, and not to war against his brothers and sisters, but to tolerate and even celebrate our differences. If God can do that, it will be the miracle that proves God is and is good and great.

      May 3, 2012 at 8:49 pm |
  8. !

    Few 100% true Reasons why Atheism is TERRIBLE and unhealthy for our children and living things:

    † Atheism is a religion that makes you angry, stupid, brainwashed, ignorant & blind.
    † Atheism is a disease that needs to be treated.
    † Atheism makes you post stupid things (90% of silly comments here on CNN blogs are posted by closet Atheists)
    † Atheist are satanic and have gothic lifestyle.
    † Atheists causes problem in our religious society.
    † Atheists are mentally ill, that's why they have no faith.
    † Atheism won't take you to kingdom of heaven and paradise.
    † Atheism making you agree with Stalin, Hitler (Denied his faith later), Mao, Pol Pot & other terrible mass murder leaders.
    † No traditional family lifestyle, no holidays, no culture, boring and feeling 'outsider'
    † Atheists are angry, drug additcted and committ the most crime.
    † Atheist try to convert people over internet because they feel "safer" behind closet.
    † Atheists do not really exist, they just pretend that they don't believe in God and argue with religious people.
    † Atheists have had terrible life experience, bad childhood and not being loved.
    † Most Atheists are uneducated... No Atheists could run for presidency.
    † Atheism brought upon the French Revolution, one of the most evil events of all of history.
    † Atheism cannot explain the origins of the universe, therefore God exists.
    † All atheists believe in evolution, which means they don't believe in morality and think we should all act like animals.
    † The Bible says atheism is wrong, and the Bible is always right (see: Genesis 1:1, Psalms 14:1, Psalms 19:1, Romans 1:19-20)
    † Countries where Atheism is prevalent has the highest Suicide rate & Communist countries = Atheism!
    **Only 2-3% of the U.S. are Atheists/Agnostics VS. over 90% who believe in God (80% Christians) in the U.S.**

    † † Our Prayers goes to Atheists to be mentally healthy and seek their creator † †

    PS! the USA is a Christian nation and will always be.
    http://rightremedy.org/tracts/7 ..

    May 3, 2012 at 8:31 pm |
    • Tim

      Is there a website you go to find these 'facts' or do you just rearrange those word fridge magnets until something sounds good?

      May 3, 2012 at 8:34 pm |
    • Godoflunaticscreation

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eBUA-dlxQng

      May 3, 2012 at 8:35 pm |
  9. Voiceofreason

    Here's one for all you Athiests and non-believers out there. If God isn't real then why is there so many Christians and so few of you? We're here to stay, so you might as well get with the program.

    May 3, 2012 at 8:31 pm |
    • BRod

      Because most people fear death.

      May 3, 2012 at 8:32 pm |
    • Godoflunaticscreation

      You sound like Edward Current.

      May 3, 2012 at 8:32 pm |
    • Crom

      Whenever you can work yourself up to it, snuggums, you all just go ahead and start the mass murdering. I look forward to it.

      May 3, 2012 at 8:32 pm |
    • !

      They will all convert last minute before death..... they just try to be arrogant now

      May 3, 2012 at 8:33 pm |
    • edwardo

      There was a time when "everyone" thought the earth was flat. Thank god (sarcasm) for Chris Columbus. A dead fish floats down stream, takes a live one to swim upstream. You are a dead fish!

      May 3, 2012 at 8:33 pm |
    • BRod

      I do not fear death, Mr. exclamation mark. Therefore no reason to fearfully kiss some mythological deities butt right before I enter the Big Sleep.

      May 3, 2012 at 8:38 pm |
    • James PDX

      At one time, there were more people who believed in Roman Gods than the Christian God. Does that mean that at that time they were correct? Terrible 1st grade logic.

      May 3, 2012 at 8:40 pm |
  10. Troll

    There are so many trolls in this forum you really cannot have a productive conversation...

    May 3, 2012 at 8:25 pm |
    • Crom

      Since when did a troll ever want a productive conversation? Troll fail.

      May 3, 2012 at 8:31 pm |
    • Johnny Blammo

      No, good conversations do arise, but it takes two people who are up to it. One of the major impediments is that religious people are at an extreme disadvantage due to the total lack of evidence for theis position. As such, they cannot support anything they say beyond their scripture, and as it turns out, the atheists generally know their scriptures better than they do, especially the problems of it.

      The inability to support arguments tends to frustrate religious people into some responses that are, well, frustrated. Often times they will start repeating thing they have been told about atheists which are wildly untrue, which of course makes us unhappy as we don't like the same old lying stereotypes repeated.

      And this is an unmoderated forum, so any comment may get five people responding, and some came be very sharp (true of both sides). Unmoderated forums are the wild west, so you have to be up for it.

      If you were to throw out an intelligent topic and defend your side intelligently, you would be surprised what some of us are capable of. But if you go lowbrow and throw out Pascal's Wager and threats of Hell, you of course are going to get slammed.

      So put out a topic.

      May 3, 2012 at 8:45 pm |
    • Johnny Blammo

      Silence. Troll was just trolling.

      May 3, 2012 at 8:54 pm |
  11. Westlin

    Hmmm...quite a few Christian dictators in the comments here. What a sad thing to see, that those who profess to love all mankind, who follow a god who is pure love, are full of hate and prejudice toward anyone who doesn't just "shut up and do as they are told." Sad, sad sheeple. My gods and goddesses don't hate the way your god does–wonder why? More mature perhaps, since they have been around a lot longer than the Christian god.

    May 3, 2012 at 8:24 pm |
  12. Mums

    If everyone was Christian we wouldn't have any problems or conflicts.

    May 3, 2012 at 8:22 pm |
    • James PDX

      If everyone was dead we wouldn't have any problems or conflicts.

      May 3, 2012 at 8:23 pm |
    • Godoflunaticscreation

      Yes Jimmy, that is an example of sarcasm. Now lets move on to hypocrisy.

      May 3, 2012 at 8:25 pm |
    • James

      That is why the Reformation went so smoothly.

      May 3, 2012 at 8:25 pm |
    • Brett the Atheist

      lol, yeah like The Great Schism and Protestant revolution.

      May 3, 2012 at 8:25 pm |
    • James PDX

      Also, Catholics, Mormons, Protestants, Evengelicals, etc... are all Christian variations and they can't agree on anything, thus all of the spiffy new names.

      May 3, 2012 at 8:27 pm |
    • James PDX

      In that case, well played, sir. You so perfectly imitated a nutjob that you sold it.

      May 3, 2012 at 8:29 pm |
    • Richard Jones

      Tell that to the folks in Northern Ireland. Christians have been fighting amongst themselves for 2000 years.

      May 3, 2012 at 8:29 pm |
  13. Bornagain

    Give no thought, what you will eat or drink, or for your life even. Consider it a living sacrifice to God. Your reward will be in Heaven. This life isn't real, but Heaven and Hell are very real. Trust in god, not in your own understanding.

    May 3, 2012 at 8:22 pm |
    • Ronin

      Then why don't you kill yourself?

      May 3, 2012 at 8:26 pm |
    • Godoflunaticscreation

      Why are most born agains raging alcoholics or ex drug addicts?

      May 3, 2012 at 8:29 pm |
    • James PDX

      i'm sorry, trust in who? I keep looking, but I don't see anyone named God. I know this dude works at Taco Bell name of Jesus, but his father's name is Manuel.

      May 3, 2012 at 8:32 pm |
  14. Ronin

    George Carlin said it best. Let's say there is a God and his whole Divine Plan. But what good is a Divine Plan if every schmuck with a prayer goes around and screws it up. Isn't that a little selfish? To actually think God would just change his plan just for you. It is the divine plan after all.

    May 3, 2012 at 8:22 pm |
  15. Lol

    The mighty Baby Jesus God of the Christian Bible: in character and behavior, is very similar to Buffalo Bill from Silence of the Lambs
    Christian: God is great! God is love!
    Person with any sense: w.t.f.?!?!???

    May 3, 2012 at 8:21 pm |
  16. Science

    I love how muslims have been brainwashed by muhammed a fake pedophile prophet lol

    May 3, 2012 at 8:21 pm |
  17. IN GOD WE TRUST

    Atheists: Would you rather live under strict Islamic Sharia law, or freedom Christian law?
    Think!

    May 3, 2012 at 8:20 pm |
    • momoya

      I know what Sharia law is, but I don't know what "freedom Christian Law" is.. Since I'd rather god with the devil I know, I pick Sharia..

      May 3, 2012 at 8:21 pm |
    • Godoflunaticscreation

      Heck of a choice. Can't I just take what's in the mystery box? Im counting on a trip to the tropics. I don't know if you've heard but I love the tropical climate.

      May 3, 2012 at 8:23 pm |
    • edwardo

      I don't want to live under any religious laws. Just laws based on reality. I liked it when Russia banned bibles, and arrested anyone who practiced Xtianity. Wish we would do that here.

      May 3, 2012 at 8:23 pm |
    • BRod

      How about "none of the above"?

      If Christians actually folllowed the Bible, it would be no different from Sharia law. And if Christians had their way, other people wouldn't have as many freedoms. You people already fight against freedom for gay people. You fight against the rights that a woman has to her own uterus.

      May 3, 2012 at 8:24 pm |
    • James

      Sometimes they are hard to tell apart...I think I am going to reject the idea that those are my only choices.

      May 3, 2012 at 8:26 pm |
    • Brett the Atheist

      Neither. That's why I prefer secular U.S. Law which the Founding Fathers so wisely established.

      May 3, 2012 at 8:28 pm |
    • James PDX

      IN GOD WE TRUST, would you rather eat poop or drink pee? This is actually a better choice than you gave us.

      May 3, 2012 at 8:34 pm |
    • Mike Blackadder

      Edwardo, the Russians did more than burn bibles. What Christian society was ever so oppressive as the ruling atheists?

      May 3, 2012 at 8:35 pm |
    • Mike Blackadder

      momoya thats just silly and you know it. Either that or you're totally paranoid.

      May 3, 2012 at 8:38 pm |
    • Godoflunaticscreation

      Communist does not equal atheist but the fellas who mass murder everyday and throughout history have gone by the name Christian.

      May 3, 2012 at 8:44 pm |
  18. edwardo

    Why pray? Doesn't he already know what's going to happen? Are you asking him to change his mind about the future. Stupid ritual. Why doesn't he heal amputees?

    May 3, 2012 at 8:16 pm |
  19. Angie

    Don't lean on your own understanding. Trust in God to save you from yourself. Accept Jesus into your soul and you can go to heaven when you die, otherwise, you're going straight to hell.

    May 3, 2012 at 8:16 pm |
    • David Hill, Jr,

      there it is

      May 3, 2012 at 8:17 pm |
    • edwardo

      If Xtians are going to heaven, I'm glad I'm not!

      May 3, 2012 at 8:17 pm |
    • Godoflunaticscreation

      I like tropical weather.

      May 3, 2012 at 8:19 pm |
    • It comes down to this...

      @edwardo
      Stains don't go to heaven but Christians do.
      And you would rather spend eternity separated from God and eternal bliss?
      Hmmmmm... so sorry for you.

      May 3, 2012 at 8:21 pm |
    • James PDX

      Ah, so you believe in Jesus simply to avoid punishment. That's akin to admitting that God isn't looking for good people, just easily intimidated ones.

      May 3, 2012 at 8:22 pm |
    • BRod

      @It comes down to this...

      If you could feel bliss while countless people burned for ALL ETERNITY, then you sir, are a psychopathic freak. How can you worship a god who is that sadistic and violent?

      May 3, 2012 at 8:27 pm |
    • David Hill, Jr,

      edwardo, thank you for confessing Christ with your Xians...""Xmas" is a common abbreviation of the word "Christmas". It is sometimes pronounced /ˈɛksməs/, but it, and variants such as "Xtemass", originated as handwriting abbreviations for the typical pronunciation /ˈkrɪsməs/. The "-mas" part is from the Latin-derived Old English word for "Mass",[1] while the "X" comes from the Greek letter Chi, which is the first letter of the Greek word Χριστός, translated as "Christ".[2]"

      May 3, 2012 at 8:36 pm |
    • David Hill, Jr,

      There is a common misconception that the word Xmas is a secular attempt to remove the religious tradition from Christmas[3] by taking the "Christ" out of "Christmas".

      May 3, 2012 at 8:37 pm |
  20. Claude Slagenhop

    Here are the other options practiced around the world: 1. The government is god (Communism), 2. Some thing other than God is god. (Hindu, Budda,etc), 3. Allah is God and Muhommad is his witch. All of these other 'gods' leave you dead. Worship the one true God and be saved forever. Teach others to follow Him voluntarily. Reject evil when you see it and don't feel you need to accept it just because you are 'tolerant of other religions'.

    May 3, 2012 at 8:16 pm |
    • momoya

      So out of the thousands of gods you could believe in, you believe in a desert war god from 3,000 years ago named Yahweh?? That sounds dumb to me.

      May 3, 2012 at 8:20 pm |
    • PraiseTheLard

      The One True God is the great Flying Spaghetti Monster !!!

      May 3, 2012 at 8:32 pm |
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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.