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My Take: On gay marriage, Obama, Billy Graham, and a tale of 2 Christianities
President Obama cited his Christianity in explaining his support for gay marriage.
May 10th, 2012
11:41 AM ET

My Take: On gay marriage, Obama, Billy Graham, and a tale of 2 Christianities

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

Not so long ago and not so far away, the culture wars stuck to a simple script.

On questions such as abortion, the Republicans would denounce the Democrats for preaching a "secular agenda." The Democrats would denounce the GOP for injecting religion into politics. Then, because the overwhelming majority of Americans believe in God, the Republicans would usually win.

Things today are more confusing, and more interesting.

After John Kerry’s defeat at the hands of George W. Bush in the 2004 presidential election, the Democrats got religion. Nowadays they too present their public policy positions in moral and often biblical terms, describing the question of taxes, for example, as a matter of “fairness” and in some cases quoting from the Gospel of Luke (“Blessed are the poor.”)

Nowhere is this shift more stark than on the gay marriage debate. In a week that saw North Carolinians inject a gay marriage ban into their Constitution, the nation’s most celebrated preacher and the nation's most celebrated politician weighed in—as Christians.

In full-page ads in North Carolina newspapers, Billy Graham said, “The Bible is clear—God’s definition of marriage is between a man and a woman." In an interview yesterday with ABC’s Robin Roberts, President Obama said that when he and the First Lady “think about our faith, the thing at root that we think about is not only Christ sacrificing himself on our behalf, but it’s also the Golden Rule, you know, treat others the way you would want to be treated.”

Both men ignored facts that did not support their cases. Graham did not mention the many cases of polygamy in the Christian Bible. And Obama ignored the many cases in which homosexuality (particularly male homosexuality) is denounced.

Two things are striking about this debate. The first is that both sides are now conducting it in religious terms. Whereas the GOP in prior culture wars was able to denounce the Democratic Party for pushing a “secular agenda,” now it is in the much more difficult position of claiming (as Rick Santorum did of Obama) that the left is preaching a “phony theology.”

Second, it is striking how closely this debate mirrors the slavery debate in antebellum America. Then, pro-slavery forces read key passages in the Bible in a "commonsense" manner and concluded that God was in favor of slavery. Meanwhile, anti-slavery activists, seeking after the "spirit" rather than the "letter" of the Biblical text, concluded that slavery flew in the face of both "love your neighbor" and the Golden Rule.

As Mark Noll argues in his book America’s God, the fact that the Bible seemed to most "commonsense" readers to support slavery brought on a crisis of authority that helped to produce what we now liberal Protestantism. Many American Christians at the time just knew slavery was wrong, so they learned to read the Bible in a different way.

We may be at a similar inflection point today. If you take a literal approach to the Biblical books and focus only at passages on sexuality, the Bible seems to support Graham. But if you focus on its broader message of love, it casts its vote for Obama.

As with slavery in the nineteenth century, public opinion in the twenty-first century is shifting rapidly on the gay marriage question, and not only among secular types. Billy Graham and other evangelicals who continue to insist that “the Bible is clear” in its opposition to gay marriage would do well to heed the lessons of America's most costly conflagration over race.

As they preach what they see as the "clear" meaning of scripture, they are not only swimming against the tide of history. They are putting their own religious tradition at risk.

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

- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: Bible • Billy Graham • Christianity • Culture wars • Gay marriage • Homosexuality • Politics • Same-sex marriage • United States

soundoff (641 Responses)
  1. Reality

    Gay marriage? Gay unions? Minor issue!!

    Onto the nitty gritty of s-ex, contraception and STD protection in the 21st century;

    ONLY FOR THE NEWCOMERS:-–>>>-->>>

    – from a guy who enjoys intelligent se-x-

    Note: Some words hyphenated to defeat an obvious word filter. ...

    The Brutal Effects of Stupidity:

    : The failures of the widely used birth "control" methods i.e. the Pill ( 8.7% failure rate) and male con-dom (17.4% failure rate) have led to the large rate of abortions and S-TDs in the USA. Men and women must either recognize their responsibilities by using the Pill or co-ndoms properly and/or use safer methods in order to reduce the epidemics of abortion and S-TDs.- Failure rate statistics provided by the Gut-tmacher Inst-itute. Unfortunately they do not give the statistics for doubling up i.e. using a combination of the Pill and a condom.

    Added information before making your next move:

    from the CDC-2006

    "Se-xually transmitted diseases (STDs) remain a major public health challenge in the United States. While substantial progress has been made in preventing, diagnosing, and treating certain S-TDs in recent years, CDC estimates that approximately 19 million new infections occur each year, almost half of them among young people ages 15 to 24.1 In addition to the physical and psy-ch-ological consequences of S-TDs, these diseases also exact a tremendous economic toll. Direct medical costs as-sociated with STDs in the United States are estimated at up to $14.7 billion annually in 2006 dollars."

    And from:

    Consumer Reports, January, 2012

    "Yes, or-al se-x is se-x, and it can boost cancer risk-

    Here's a crucial message for teens (and all se-xually active "post-teeners": Or-al se-x carries many of the same risks as va-ginal se-x, including human papilloma virus, or HPV. And HPV may now be overtaking tobacco as the leading cause of or-al cancers in America in people under age 50.

    "Adolescents don’t think or-al se-x is something to worry about," said Bonnie Halpern-Felsher professor of pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco. "They view it as a way to have intimacy without having 's-ex.'" (It should be called the Bill Clinton Syndrome !!)

    Obviously, political leaders in both parties, Planned Parenthood, parents, the "stupid part of the USA" and the educational system have failed miserably on many fronts.

    The most effective forms of contraception, ranked by "Perfect use":

    1a. (Abstinence, 0% failure rate)
    1b. (Masturbation, mono or mutual, 0% failure rate)

    Followed by:
    One-month injectable and Implant (both at 0.05 percent)
    Vasectomy and IUD (Mirena) (both at 0.1 percent)
    The Pill, Three-month injectable, and the Patch (all at 0.3 percent)
    Tubal sterilization (at 0.5 percent)
    IUD (Copper-T) (0.6 percent)
    Periodic abstinence (Post-ovulation) (1.0 percent)
    Periodic abstinence (Symptothermal) and Male condom (both at 2.0 percent)
    Periodic abstinence (Ovulation method) (3.0 percent)

    Every other method ranks below these, including Withdrawal (4.0), Female condom (5.0), Diaphragm (6.0), Periodic abstinence (calendar) (9.0), the Sponge (9.0-20.0, depending on whether the woman using it has had a child in the past), Cervical cap (9.0-26.0, with the same caveat as the Sponge), and Spermicides (18.0).

    May 11, 2012 at 7:41 am |
  2. Mary

    Gays should not be allowed to vote or even live in this country. The fact that our elected leaders in this Christian nation aren't doing what we vote them into office is a testament to the fact that they are being controlled by the devil. We are a Christian nation and we need to go back to our Christian roots and values!

    May 11, 2012 at 7:33 am |
    • Mirosal

      Mary, seek therapy NOW, or at least adjust your meds. You're just spouting the TYPICAL christian bigotry they teach so well in their schools. Have you ever had a thought of your own? Or are you just a good little christian parrot?

      May 11, 2012 at 7:41 am |
    • Mary

      Are you another typical atheist satan worshiping pile of garbage trash? Enjoy burning in hell. Bring BBQ sauce.

      May 11, 2012 at 8:09 am |
    • Mirosal

      How can I be a "satan worshipper" when I have no belief in your "devil"? You think that anyone who doesn't share YOUR beliefs is condemned to what you call "hell", and you're quick to threaten them with it. You've already judged. Not very christian of you, is it?

      May 11, 2012 at 8:15 am |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      Mary: You're a bigoted idiot. Who the hell are you to judge these people who are naturally born this way? Who the hell are you to say who has a right to live in the country? Who the hell are you to step on anyone's basic rights to freedom? Your country is not a christian nation and never has been. The fact that you even make such a moronic claim shows that you couldn't have more than a grade 6 education. Your ignorance is not the problem of society...time to get back on the meds.

      May 11, 2012 at 8:20 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Nothing starts the day off better than a good dose of Christian Apocalyptic Schadenfreude.
      So Mary, at what point should all the gays be deported? If a 7 year old girl asks mom to cut her hair short becuase she wants to be a boy, should she be boxed up and shipped off? Or should the se.x gestapo wait until she's a teenager?
      And where should they be shipped? Should the government set up reservations, like with the indiginous people?
      Maybe work camps would be a better solution. It would probably be easier herding them into the commnunal showers than it was those pesky Jews last century.

      May 11, 2012 at 8:46 am |
    • Primewonk

      Oft times on these threads we see "Christians" posting that atheists come on and lump all Christians together and mock/trash them – and castigate us for doing so.

      And then we find ignorant, hômophobic, fundiot, môrons – like Mary – posting things like, " Gays should not be allowed to vote or even live in this country. The fact that our elected leaders in this Christian nation aren't doing what we vote them into office is a testament to the fact that they are being controlled by the devil. We are a Christian nation and we need to go back to our Christian roots and values!"

      And not a single solitary "real" Christian has had the balls to call her on this. If you "real Christians" don't want us to lump you in with cretins like Mary, why don't you speak up and out? You silence is tacit approval of these îdiots.

      May 11, 2012 at 9:17 am |
    • TR6

      Yes, we must get back to how it really was. Black slavery, second class citizenship for women, the slaughter of native Americans, primitive medicine and no indoor plumbing

      May 11, 2012 at 11:58 am |
    • danielwalldammit

      You don't know anything about our country's religious history. What's more, you don't care.

      May 11, 2012 at 12:34 pm |
  3. SOAPY32

    it hurts my heart that barack obama president of the united states of america is indoctrinated into the lies of the so called son of god holy spirit jesus christ jesus the myth is the result of WICKED LOVER OF DEVIL SODOMITE PRIESTS NEST OF VIPERS creating false book high holy text of god holy spirit new testament DESIGNED AND WRITTEN TO PUSH FORTH FALSE SON OF GOD HOLY SPIRIT JESUS CHRIST teaching opening up hearts to wicked shadow poison wretched darkness it also blinds barack obama president of the united states of america true nature of wretched shadow poison darkness hearts of hate filled homosexuals

    May 11, 2012 at 7:17 am |
    • Primewonk

      Your problem, like most fundiots, is that you think we are a christian nation. We aren't. Whatever your version of a god wants, need, desires, or demands, is irrelevant, as he has no legal standing in our laws.

      May 11, 2012 at 9:20 am |
  4. johnfrichardson

    Christ, this Prothero is a dope. He opens with the abortion debate and says the "Republicans would usually win". The Republicans have won their share of elections, but when did they even make a serious attempt to overturn Roe vs Wade legislatively? The Republicans held the White House and both houses of congress at the beginning of Bushbaby's term. And what happened on abortion? Zip. Their position on the abortion debate has LONG been a political loser. Coming out foursquare against it can help you in the reddest of red states. (How did the Repubs, btw, end up being symbolized by a color whose only prior political significance was as the adopted color of communists?) But in most of the most populous states and in aggregate nationally, proposing abortion bans is politically unwise, to say the least.

    May 11, 2012 at 6:32 am |
  5. truth

    1 Corinthians 6:9-11 ESV / 28 helpful votes
    Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the se.xu.ally im.mo.ral, nor ido.laters, nor ad.ulte.rers, nor men who practice ho.mos.exu.ality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

    May 11, 2012 at 5:10 am |
    • Mirosal

      If you are going to use a screen name like "truth", don't you thnk you'd better start spouting off some truth? Using quotes from the world's best selling book of fiction is hardly the "truth" in any way, shape, or form.

      May 11, 2012 at 5:16 am |
    • Kebos

      @truth – Is it nice living in your world of fantasy and make-believe?

      May 11, 2012 at 5:39 am |
    • Primewonk

      Szilard 88:16 I'm all in favor of the democratic principle that one idiot is as good as one genius, but I draw the line when someone takes the next step and concludes that two idiots are better than one genius.

      May 11, 2012 at 9:23 am |
    • Nii

      I am a black African prince and I can tell u for a fact that Europeans either hired professional slave traders or kidnapped slaves themselves apart from the POWs they bought. Also African slavery is very different from yours as the slave becomes a family member of his master's. He is allowed...

      May 11, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
    • Nii

      However you are right that there is no need to be high and mighty about another's sin. It is even forbidden to judge one outside the Church for his sin since the highest punishment for sin is to be put out of the church. The clash comes when people outsude the church ask u to judge their behaviour.

      May 12, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
    • Nii

      TP
      Its ur right 2 elect a public official but a privilege 4 u 2 stand n b elected a public official? U've de right just by virtue of citizenship n a public official gains de privileges by qualifying ahead of others. You r married cos someone considered u good enough not cos u r a woman.

      May 12, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
    • Nii

      MOMOYA
      Also I find it funny that a seasoned Evangelist like yourself will be talking about stoning disobedient children when thats not what it says! I think you missed the class on contextual interpretation at theological school. There are several verses which shows that disobedient children r safe.

      May 12, 2012 at 7:08 pm |
    • Nii

      REALLY-O
      Seems you are part of the people who do not know much about the scientific basis of the Bible. If u read it in a literalist fashion you are not reading it analytically. An allegorical view is also not supported. It is interpretative. You use knowledge to interprete it.

      May 12, 2012 at 7:17 pm |
    • Nii

      REALLY-O
      If u have nothing to say why not just poke fun at spellings. Well most of your medical assertions about believers will not cut it. Your perception is unscientific and infantile. I wish the mature Atheists step out on the blog more often instead of immature hatheists.

      May 13, 2012 at 8:35 am |
  6. The Truth

    The LDS church has been caught on camera giving AIDS to the children of gay couples so that people will think that gay people are raping their kids and they ARE INNOCENT GAY COUPLES!!!

    http://mormonconspiracy.com/

    The celestial room is a room in the LDS TEMPLES that is kept VERY SECRETIVE like the masons because the masons helped them design in! Not only that but new information has been uncovered recently that explain why so all of the temples are so locked down hard!

    Families donate their sons and daughters that are CHILDREN and they are then taken to celestial room and there the priests and high council church members who are WHITE MEN secretly marry these children usually three at a time and then they CONSUMATE the marriages to these CHILDREN and have been doing terrible things! The celestial rooms is never cleaned because the MORMONS believe that children's blood bring them closer to GOD. So they wipe the blood from the children all over the furniture!! After then they inject children with AIDS so that they don't marry anyone else later on and are kept "PURE" by that way.

    LDS IS SICK AND NEED TO BE STOPPED!!

    May 11, 2012 at 2:29 am |
    • raceisamyth

      Haha real mormons dont follow that doctrine. You must not understand the pre joseph smith mormans.

      May 11, 2012 at 2:34 am |
    • The Truth

      Mormon cult did not exist BEFORE Joe Smith! He invented it!

      May 11, 2012 at 2:45 am |
    • jim

      I see you are still smoking crack, you really should take a break.

      May 11, 2012 at 5:07 am |
    • Kebos

      Ok, this post about children's blood and such is pretty far-fetched. But, just to put a finer point to a reply above, all religion is invented. God doesn't exist. Jesus wasn't a son of god. Mohammed wasn't a prophet. Moses didn't part a large body of water, etc. etc. etc. Over-active imaginations and many people throughout history suffering a malady of mental illnesses created what we call the bible, Koran, Talmud, etc. etc.

      May 11, 2012 at 5:44 am |
    • raceisamyth

      The civilized tribes believe in God while the other tribes worship underground aliens from outer space...which is a joke

      May 11, 2012 at 7:43 am |
  7. Henry James

    He believes what he has been told all his life but has never really objectively analyzed it. Our parent were told stuff before they were able to judge whether it was true or not. It was easier to accept it as true and passed it on to their children. He doesn’t know what he doesn’t know, which makes him overly confident. Over confidents is a short road to irrationality. I was the same way till I started seeing the cracks in religion. Why do we need faith when all God has to do is send angles to preach to us every Sabbath? No preachers to get it wrong, or rip us off. No faith just facts. According to theologians all the ethereal proof is only seeable after you die. How convenient! Why does God hates logical people?

    May 11, 2012 at 2:24 am |
    • Mirosal

      if you want facts and not faith, it will set the Guinness world record for the shortest sermon ever "Thank you for coming, I have nothing to say, good day. And don't forget to put your life savings into our collection basket on your way out."

      May 11, 2012 at 2:27 am |
  8. The Truth

    JOHN TRAVOLTA IS INNOCENT!! He is not raping hundreds of men like the LDS and Vatican lawyer have said! The court system pockets are PADDED WITH MORMON DOLLARS!! They are trying to ruin John Travolta as a scape goat! Vote against the lawyers and Mormon church!!

    May 11, 2012 at 2:22 am |
  9. Mirosal

    I laugh when you christians CLAIM that marriage is a christian thing. You're idiots. Marriage was around far longer than chrsitianity, and your own book of myths says so. Noah boarded his little cargo ship with HIS WIFE, sons, and THEIR wives. They weren't christian. Abraham married Sara, they weren't christian either. And what about all the societies around the world who had NEVER heard of your god? They had spouses as well. Kinda throws your "marriage is christian" theory out of the window doesn't it?

    May 11, 2012 at 2:01 am |
    • raceisamyth

      We are only saying we want to protect the meaning of marriage as we feel God defines it to us. Thats all. I have no problem with gays getting married somewhere else.

      May 11, 2012 at 2:05 am |
    • Mirosal

      What about the billions on this planet who do NOT folow YOUR "god"? Are they to be denied that right as well? Do they HAVE to subscribe to YOUR point of view?

      May 11, 2012 at 2:15 am |
    • mandarax

      Ironically, Jesus never said one thing about gay marriage. However, he did say quite a lot about divorce, but that never seems to keep evengelical Christians (who have the highest divorce rate by denomination) from hurling stones at others.

      May 11, 2012 at 2:28 am |
    • WASP

      @raceisamyth
      We are only saying we want to protect the meaning of marriage as we feel God defines it to us. Thats all. I have no problem with gays getting married somewhere else.
      May 11, 2012 at 2:05 am"

      you have one key word in your comment that makes you either completely wrong or a bigot......"WE" is that key word. there are those that don't believe anyone of a dark skin tone should live in america, they're a "WE"; there are those that don't believe women should have the same "god given rights" as man, they're a "WE". so you see your "WE" doesn't apply to everyone and sure as hell shouldn't be forced on other people, just because YOU think it's how it should be due to a 2000 year old male dominated mythology.

      May 11, 2012 at 6:13 am |
    • raceisamyth

      Youre a fool. We does not mean you people. We means the christian church, both male and female. Dont bring the dark skin card up. I have dark skin. And light skin black folks dislike dark skin more than whites. I bet you deny or have no clue about the history of slavery or that it continues to this day. What are you doing to stop it?

      May 11, 2012 at 6:49 am |
    • WASP

      @myth: yes i can compare denying same gender couples their civil rights to how america once refused to give africans their civil rights......what makes them so different that you deserve civil rights and they don't. slavery? lmao let's try the attempted genoside of my ancestory then come talk to me. oh i'm lacota btw. yes there is still slavery in this world, in all fashions; last time i checked we had a civil war over that very issue, and guess what no more slavery in america. if it doesn't effect my homeland, i say let them fight their own war to end it if they want to. i might not be very nice perspective, but you want freedom fight for it, don't expect people to come in and save you. we fought for it, my ancestors fought for freedom,instead we got tossed into modified concentration camps called " reservations"

      May 11, 2012 at 7:07 am |
    • raceisamyth

      The civil war was not about slavery. It was about gold and real estate. Less than 3% of SOUTHERNS owned slaves in 1861. That means 97% did not.

      May 11, 2012 at 7:51 am |
    • raceisamyth

      Ultimately, it was about state rights to govern.

      May 11, 2012 at 7:53 am |
    • danielwalldammit

      Early Christians were radically anti-family. Today's Christians are uniformly ignorant of their own church history.

      May 11, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
  10. raceisamyth

    You know the only law christians hold to true value..love others as I have loved you…if you dont understand Gods love, its going to be real hard to love others. Yes we hurl insults out of fear or anger…thats called judgement or prejudgement…and its the one sin NO human can keep from commiting. God had to do all thr work because it is impossible to see the world through someone elses eyes.

    May 11, 2012 at 1:28 am |
    • raceisamyth

      Also known as true empathy

      May 11, 2012 at 1:29 am |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      Raceisamyth,

      I don't believe in god and I have no problem loving others. That statement is a non-sequitur.

      May 11, 2012 at 1:33 am |
    • mandarax

      Also known as self-righteous bullshlt. "If you are not a Christian you are not capable of truly giving love like I do." Come down off your pedestal, you pious pr.ick.

      May 11, 2012 at 1:36 am |
    • raceisamyth

      Yes but you dont love God. So you dont understand how to love as God loves you. But with all due respect sir, God loves you either way.

      May 11, 2012 at 1:37 am |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      With all due respect,

      There is no reason to think anything you say in reference to a god is anything but complete conjecture. It is at best a baseless opinion.

      May 11, 2012 at 1:40 am |
    • raceisamyth

      Faith is a journey....not a magic pill. It takes time....and hardship...heck i scream at God all the time....God wants brutal honesty from us.

      May 11, 2012 at 1:42 am |
    • raceisamyth

      I respect that. Im not here to say you need Jesus....Im here to tell you God loves you whether you like it or not. Thats just how i feel.

      May 11, 2012 at 1:45 am |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      Faith is a poor reason to believe in anything. Faith is not a virtue, that is a fallacy spread by theologians to keep people from rationally thinking about the true nature of belief.

      May 11, 2012 at 1:47 am |
    • mandarax

      Thank you once again for telling me what God wants from us. Strange how what are supposedly "God's words" bear such a strong resemblance to some dimwit typing nonsense on his computer.

      May 11, 2012 at 1:47 am |
    • raceisamyth

      I didnt learn my faith from a theologian. I didnt grow up in churxh. My faith developed when I watched my bestfriend be cured of severe lupus when he called out to God. Not saying it works everytime...but it def worked for me that day.

      May 11, 2012 at 1:51 am |
    • mandarax

      race – everything is not a matter of opinion or faith. There is an objective reality and you have not hesitated to misrepresent it. You were saying just below that the Hopi have been talking about Yaweh for 10,000 years. You demonstrated that you are perfectly willing to simply make things up and present them as facts. Why should anyone believe what you say about the nature of the universe and the voice of God if you will fabricate such a basic thing?

      May 11, 2012 at 1:54 am |
    • raceisamyth

      Its just how my heart feels. Thats all. Everyone has a different view on the question of the afterlife. No two minds think identical. But I believe we were created by the Spirit and only that spirit is good. I know quite a bit about the civilized tribes history. The Hopi prophesized about many things. From the flood to the internet.

      May 11, 2012 at 1:59 am |
    • mandarax

      Your reference to "the civilized tribes" tells me all I need to know. You are wrong about what that phrase means historically, you are wrong that it applies to the Hopi, you are unaware of the how loaded with condescension the phrase is. And that crap about a flood and the internet is just ludicrous. I don't just "know quite a bit" about Native American history – being an expert on that subject is my profession, and you are full of crap.

      May 11, 2012 at 2:05 am |
    • raceisamyth

      Its not derogitory. If you really know American Indian history, you understand austrian economics vs social economics role in our demise. You know Lakota assimilated other tribes. Dont give me that crap

      May 11, 2012 at 2:09 am |
    • Henry James

      He believes what he has been told all his life but has never really objectively analyzed it. Our parent were told stuff before they were able to judge whether it was true or not. It was easier to accept it as true and passed it on to their children. He doesn’t know what he doesn’t know, which makes him overly confident. Over confidents is a short road to irrationality. I was the same way till I started seeing the cracks in religion.

      May 11, 2012 at 2:13 am |
    • raceisamyth

      And you also know damn well the pilgrims brought the practice of multiple wives with them. And you also know they accepted our definition of marriage. You also know how the mohawk attacked their own people. Dont prance around like were innocent. You know God animals are the only natives here.

      May 11, 2012 at 2:19 am |
    • raceisamyth

      Mandarax you lost all credibility with me when you said native americans. Have you forgotten the American Indian movement already. Or do you just sit aound and study pottery

      May 11, 2012 at 6:55 am |
    • WASP

      @myth: "Yes but you dont love God. So you dont understand how to love as God loves you. But with all due respect sir, God loves you either way."

      how can a creature seperated from all forms stimulus, understand love or any emotion for that matter? as children we are taught how to deal with emotions from our parents. if god truly was the alpha, then who taught it to deal with emotions? what parent taught this creature of pure thought to not break his toys when he gets angry? the main flaw in the whole "god" thing is it has emotions, which is irrational due to the fact emotions are an imperfection. we have jealousy,rage, envy, all sorts of emotions that drive people to do stupid things in the heat of the moment. what use would an all knowing all powerful being have for emotions when he had nothing to teach him how to control them? when you were a child and you threw a tempertantrum your parents corrected you, they showed you love so you understand how to recieve and give love properly. most children even have to be taught to share and how not to hit, they don't understand that hitting and taking everything for themselves is wrong until we teach them it is wrong.

      May 11, 2012 at 7:24 am |
    • raceisamyth

      The civilized tribes believe in God while the other tribes worship underground aliens from outer space…which is a joke

      May 11, 2012 at 7:44 am |
    • Mirosal

      So is believing in an all powerful all knowing all present being (that will judge your life and condemn you to "hell" if you disobey it) that not a single person in thousands of years has ever been able to provide one iota of evidence verifying its existence.

      May 11, 2012 at 7:59 am |
  11. Flamespeak

    "After John Kerry’s defeat at the hands of George W. Bush in the 2004 presidential election, the Democrats got religion."

    Typical of politicians. Denounce something when it suits their needs, cling to it and call attention to it when denouncing it causes them political problems.

    This is shameful. Whatever your religious stance is, I ask you to remain faithful to it UNLESS something deeply personal changes your stance, not the public opinion to win a higher approval rating.

    May 11, 2012 at 1:27 am |
    • mandarax

      If you are just now realizing that religion is a tool for manipulating people, you have only just begun to see the light.

      May 11, 2012 at 1:31 am |
  12. Henry James

    I am a born again secular humanist, so these are not my views anymore.
    It really goes back to the Old Testament but is repeated with the Puritans.
    Many of our religions originate from the Puritans. Life was extremely tough between, food shortages, freezing winters, diseases, hurricanes etc. If God was in control of everything and perfect in his judgment then God must be punishing them for something. So the parishioners where very quick to punish anybody severely for even the smallest infraction. Even if it meant burning so called Witches to death. This is why so many theologians try to control and oppress others. As to avoid God’s wrath against themselves.

    May 11, 2012 at 12:53 am |
    • raceisamyth

      No we punish ourselves. Remember life was worry free in eden. We brought death to this world when we fell.

      May 11, 2012 at 12:56 am |
    • raceisamyth

      The most important aspect in all religions is that you love others as God loves you, and let God judge them.

      May 11, 2012 at 1:00 am |
    • raceisamyth

      But the morality of Gods church must be maintained by those who dwell in Gods church.

      May 11, 2012 at 1:03 am |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      Raceisamyth,

      We had nothing to do with the choices that were made in Eden. If a murderer was caught would it be just to punish his family and all his relations until the end of the world? Of course not...

      May 11, 2012 at 1:22 am |
  13. Bob

    Look into the eyes of a suffering victim of any of the multiple disfiguring, debilitating, painful diseases that "loving" Christian god has created. Then you might understand that Christian god as described in the bible is not loving, doesn't give a hoot about human suffering, and in fact does not exist.

    Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement. Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.
    http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

    May 11, 2012 at 12:40 am |
    • raceisamyth

      Why do you blame God for the actions of humans?

      May 11, 2012 at 12:45 am |
    • raceisamyth

      Why do you blame God for the evil in man? Human made their owm choice in defying God.

      May 11, 2012 at 12:47 am |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      Raceisamyth,

      Man does not cause all the suffering in the world.

      Why does god get all the credit and none of the blame?

      May 11, 2012 at 1:19 am |
    • neverXmiss

      It all roots to man. Why is there global warming? man. Why is there radiation? man. Why is there crime? man. Why is there injustice? man.

      but hey you don't believe god exists, so why the heck do YOU care? lol i love atheists going to religious posts.

      May 11, 2012 at 4:03 am |
    • Mirosal

      And we like coming here. It gives us a little comic relief.

      May 11, 2012 at 4:22 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Tsuamnis – God, Earthquakes – God, Tornados – God, Hurricanes – God, Wild Fires – God, Genetic Deificiencies – God, Floods, Famine, Draught, Plague – God God God God. Infanticide, genocide, globocide. God God God.
      What happened to the Hit.ti.tes and the Girgash.ites and the Amorites and the Canaanites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites? God "cleared them away".

      May 11, 2012 at 8:12 am |
  14. mandarax

    Biblical family values:
    And Sarai, Abram's wife, took Hagar the Egyptian, her handmaid, and she gave her to Abram as a wife. And he came to bed with Hagar. (Genesis 16)

    May 11, 2012 at 12:35 am |
    • raceisamyth

      And gave birth to Ishmael. Something tells me that bloodline is important to Islam....hmmm muhammed maybe

      May 11, 2012 at 12:37 am |
    • mandarax

      So, violating marriage is sometimes part of God's plan? So who are you to decide when it's alright?

      May 11, 2012 at 1:28 am |
  15. raceisamyth

    Tom....then freakin ordain the mayor!!!!!

    May 11, 2012 at 12:35 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Ordain what mayor?

      May 11, 2012 at 12:35 am |
  16. Henry James

    If you want to be free, there is but one way; it is to guarantee an equally full measure of liberty to all your neighbors. There is no other.
    Carl Schurz (1829 – 1906)

    May 10, 2012 at 11:51 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Excellent.

      What is the big, friggin' hairy deal, people? What is the worst possible outcome of the legalization of gay marriage? Go ahead and describe it, you delusional freaks.

      Really, how awful can you possibly make it appear?

      Worse than some of the sham marriages that already exist? Worse than no marriages for any same-s#x couples, who will continue to live together anyway, but be denied the benefits traditional married couples take for granted?

      Good grief, do you idiots have nothing more significant to worry about?

      May 10, 2012 at 11:56 pm |
    • raceisamyth

      Tom let me give you the real solution. Religious couples get tax breaks and benefits that gay unions do not. A govt recognized union will solve this problem. Gays arent getting married in the church. Deal with it.

      May 11, 2012 at 12:04 am |
    • God

      Gay$ do not want to get married in a church. They want the same civil government benefits as everyone else, dipsh!t.

      May 11, 2012 at 12:07 am |
    • raceisamyth

      What youre saying is gaychristians should be able to get married in a mosque. Good luck with that.

      May 11, 2012 at 12:08 am |
    • raceisamyth

      And they should have it. A union. Not a marriage made in Christ which is 1 man and 1 woman.

      May 11, 2012 at 12:10 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I repeat for the mentally challenged race idiot: You're an idiot.

      May 11, 2012 at 12:11 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You feckin' moron, I couldn't care less if gays get married in a church. What kind of special stupid are you? Did you have to apply for a permit to be this idiotic?

      Your church and its asinine beliefs are irrelevant, you dimwitted dolt. No one gives a rat's patootie about the religious beliefs you are hyperventilating over.

      When you wake up from your stupidity-induced coma, do alert the media.

      May 11, 2012 at 12:16 am |
    • raceisamyth

      Hmmm. Tom all you do is throw insults. I forgive you. Sorry if i offended you.

      May 11, 2012 at 12:17 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Oh, please, you disingenuous dip shirt, go suck some dead priests.

      May 11, 2012 at 12:21 am |
    • raceisamyth

      The day gays get married in a church is the day gays get married in beth shalom or a mosque. And we all know...that isnt happening. Get married in a courthouse. Problem solved.

      May 11, 2012 at 12:22 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      ANd when you finish that chore, race baiter, go back to junior high school and start your education all over. Maybe you could manage to remain sentient and try to pass a class or two.

      Alert the media when you are awards a diploma, you derp.

      May 11, 2012 at 12:25 am |
    • raceisamyth

      Hey tom...did u know if all black americans moved to iceland and stayed isolated for 5 gen..theyd all turn white. Same if all white americans moved to nigeria...theyd all turn black. Genetics proved our diferences are cultural, not racial.

      May 11, 2012 at 12:28 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Good god almighty, you're ignorant. Don't you know that no church in the US can claim to legally marry anyone? Unless you have a state issued license, you idiot, your "church wedding" is meaningless legally.

      How do you not know this? How do you even manage to tie your own shoes, you idiot?

      May 11, 2012 at 12:29 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      OK, you're an idiot.

      May 11, 2012 at 12:30 am |
    • raceisamyth

      Degrees from liberal universities are toilet paper. They dont evem teach real history....on purpose.

      May 11, 2012 at 12:30 am |
    • Bob

      Hey folks, when you see such an obvious troll like the Piper's Son, just ignore it. Some people never learn.

      May 11, 2012 at 12:30 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You're special, Boob.

      May 11, 2012 at 12:33 am |
    • Bob

      This Bob didn't post that negative comment about Tom Tom. I think Tom Tom rocks. Go, Tom Tom, and ignore the trolls.

      Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement. Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.
      http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

      May 11, 2012 at 12:41 am |
    • Henry James

      To reply to Piper Son
      I am a born again secular humanist, so these are not my views anymore.
      It really goes back to the Old Testament but is repeated with the Puritans.
      Many of our religions originate from the Puritans. Life was extremely tough between, food shortages, freezing winters, diseases, hurricanes etc. If God was in control of everything and perfect in his judgment then God must be punishing them for something. So the parishioners where very quick to punish anybody severely for even the smallest infraction. Even if it meant burning so called Witches to death. This is why so many theologians try to control and oppress others. As to avoid God’s wrath against themselves.

      May 11, 2012 at 12:42 am |
  17. Henry James

    It is not only the Gay & Lesbian that are ostracized by the Fundamentalist.
    It is anybody that disagrees with them. They search high and low till they find preacher that will echo back to justify what they already believe. Then they stamp it with “God Said It!” and they stop questioning if it really is true. This is where their subjugating dogma comes from. They hide behind religion and yell “Heretic!” through a megaphone if you dare question their reasoning. We are expected to tolerate their intolerance. Why can’t we each allow the other to live their own lives? It is dangerous to venerate any idea beyond question. The most insidious lie is the one we tell ourselves. We should all be honest enough, to objectively examine what we believe to be, but do not know is true. Once we accept reality on its own terms instead of trying to make it into what we want it to be, then we can use this insight to perhaps actually achieve some of what we need.

    May 10, 2012 at 11:47 pm |
  18. Russ

    Stephen Prothero: read David Chappell's "Stone of Hope."

    There has not been a hermeneutical shift within the conservative groups (many still hold to inerrancy much like the Old Princetonians) and yet most today believe the Bible teaches racial equality – WITHIN the SAME framework. Opposite from your contention, it was precisely the fact that MLK could call white, Southern conservatives out WITHIN that SAME biblical hermeneutic that made the civil rights movement effective (appealing to passages like Gal.3:28 & Philemon). And notably, that is not something the ho.mo.se.xual rights movement can do.

    May 10, 2012 at 11:37 pm |
  19. Bob

    Chad, indeed, the bible is very clear on several issues. We can agree on that point. For example, in the bible, god is clearly demanding murder and genocide and other horrors such as animal sacrifice. In the bible, we find clear directions from nasty Christian god like these:

    Numbers 31:17-18
    17 Now kiII all the boys. And kiII every woman who has slept with a man,
    18 but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

    Deuteronomy 13:6 – “If your brother, your mother’s son or your son or daughter, or the wife you cherish, or your friend who is as your own soul entice you secretly, saying, let us go and serve other gods … you shall surely kill him; your hand shall be first against him to put him to death”

    Note that the bible is also very clear that you should sacrifice and burn an animal today because the smell makes sicko Christian sky fairy happy. No, you don't get to use the parts for food. You burn them, a complete waste of the poor animal.

    Yes, the bible really says that, everyone. Yes, it's in Leviticus, look it up. Yes, Jesus purportedly said that the OT commands still apply. No exceptions. But even if you think the OT was god's mistaken first go around, you have to ask why a perfect, loving enti-ty would ever put such horrid instructions in there. If you think rationally at all, that is.

    And then, if you disagree with my interpretation, ask yourself how it is that your "god" couldn't come up with a better way to communicate than a book that is so readily subject to so many interpretations, and has so many mistakes in it. Pretty pathetic god that you've made for yourself.

    So get out your sacrificial knife or your nasty sky creature will torture you eternally. Or just take a closer look at your foolish supersti-tions, understand that they are just silly, and toss them into the dustbin with all the rest of the gods that man has created.

    Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement. Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.
    http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

    May 10, 2012 at 11:35 pm |
    • Chad

      Do you know the context of that?
      Do you know what the bible records as the reason why God commanded that killing? Why dont you know that?

      are you familiar with the biblical text at all, or are you just happy grabbing stuff off of infidels.org?

      May 10, 2012 at 11:39 pm |
    • raceisamyth

      God did not commumicate with a book. Did moses have the torah before he wrote it? Did Yeshua have the new testament before the apostles wrote it? No sir.

      May 10, 2012 at 11:39 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      oooh. And you are qualified as a Biblical scholar because you have what degrees?

      Oh, sorry. Never mind. You don't know what the word "degree" means. Poor thing.

      May 10, 2012 at 11:43 pm |
    • Chad

      @raceisamyth "God did not communicate with a book"

      =>God doesnt ONLY communicate with a book, He has communicated personally, through the prophets, through the person of Jesus, to us now through the indwelling Holy Spirit.

      At the same time, throughout history, the biblical text has always been critical, and God has worked through that as well.

      May 10, 2012 at 11:47 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Nonsense, Chard. Produce evidence that any such nonsense is based on fact, you moron.

      May 10, 2012 at 11:49 pm |
    • raceisamyth

      "Why do you call me good? No one is good but God". Yeshua (Jesus) Christ

      May 10, 2012 at 11:49 pm |
    • raceisamyth

      Chad, without Gods Spirit...all it is is words without meaning. God does not speak to everyones heart in the same way. If he did, we'd all be robots like satan wanted.

      May 10, 2012 at 11:52 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      Well Chad why not tell everyone why god said to kill everyone but he virgin girls?

      Let the mental contortions begin.

      May 11, 2012 at 12:14 am |
    • Bob

      Chad, seriously, regarding context, think that through again:

      How is it that this apparent divine (or divinely inspired book, depending on which Christian one listens to) is so susceptible to different interpretations and to being taken out of context? Wildly different, in fact; many readers find instructions for murder and other violence in it, and for some it justifies hate and bigotry, while others claim it to be promoting peace and love. Don't you think that if a real "god" had a hand in it, such a powerful creature would do a better job of making sure that such an important message could not be so open to such varying interpretations? Or do you even bother to question your obviously ridiculous beliefs?

      For that matter, how come your 'omnipotent' creature couldn't do all its supposed "saving" without the loony son sacrifice bit? And for that matter, how was it a sacrifice at all, when an omnipotent being could just pop up a replacement son any time it wants with less than a snap of its fingers? Pretty feeble god it is that you've made for yourself there.

      Crazy stuff, what you Christians fall for.

      Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement. Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.
      http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

      May 11, 2012 at 12:35 am |
    • raceisamyth

      You know the only law christians hold to true value..love others as I have loved you...if you dont understand Gods love, its going to be real hard to love others. Yes we hurl insults out of fear or anger...thats called judgement or prejudgement...and its the one sin NO human can keep from commiting. God had to do all thr work because it is impossible to see the world through someone elses eyes.

      May 11, 2012 at 1:26 am |
  20. Chad

    As they preach what they see as the "clear" meaning of scripture, they are not only swimming against the tide of history. They are putting their own religious tradition at risk.

    "clear" in quotes.. thats cute 😉

    now, you can say that the bible is wrong because it condemns homosexuality,
    you can claim it is "out of step" with current "progress" of society
    you can claim that the bible is outdated
    you can claim it preaches hatred

    however

    you can NOT claim it is unclear on the issue. OT and NT. The difference between that and biblical view on slavery will become apparent to you if you ever actually decide to read the bible (which one would have thought was at least a small portion of the coursework for "religious scholarship" at BU)..

    The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen. 26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error. 28 Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done.. Romans 1

    May 10, 2012 at 11:19 pm |
    • raceisamyth

      God constantly uses the sign of the cross to get our attention. Here in the US rocks compressed by the earths heat come from the ground in a perfect cross shape. My cherokee ancestors would wear them around their necks.

      May 10, 2012 at 11:22 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      snore.....zzzzzzzzzzzzzzxxzzzzzzzzzzzzzz HUh? zzzz, never mind, it's just some Christard..zzzzzz

      May 10, 2012 at 11:23 pm |
    • raceisamyth

      Check out the cherokee outpouring. See for yourself.

      May 10, 2012 at 11:24 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Yah, raceisanidiot. I'll bet they did. They probably also lived in sh!tty pueblos and refused to have their language perpetuated in written form.

      Big fuckin' hairy deal.

      May 10, 2012 at 11:26 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      "my Cherokee ancestors... probably smoke dope and you likely do, too, whilst making fry bread for the tourists to demonstrate how admirable and noble your race is.

      May 10, 2012 at 11:28 pm |
    • Bob

      Yes, Chad, the bible is very clear on several issues. We can agree on that point. For example, in the bible, god is clearly demanding murder and genocide and other horrors such as animal sacrifice. In the bible, we find clear directions from nasty Christian god like these:

      Numbers 31:17-18
      17 Now kiII all the boys. And kiII every woman who has slept with a man,
      18 but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

      Deuteronomy 13:6 – “If your brother, your mother’s son or your son or daughter, or the wife you cherish, or your friend who is as your own soul entice you secretly, saying, let us go and serve other gods … you shall surely kill him; your hand shall be first against him to put him to death”

      Note that the bible is also very clear that you should sacrifice and burn an animal today because the smell makes sicko Christian sky fairy happy. No, you don't get to use the parts for food. You burn them, a complete waste of the poor animal.

      Yes, the bible really says that, everyone. Yes, it's in Leviticus, look it up. Yes, Jesus purportedly said that the OT commands still apply. No exceptions. But even if you think the OT was god's mistaken first go around, you have to ask why a perfect, loving enti-ty would ever put such horrid instructions in there. If you think rationally at all, that is.

      And then, if you disagree with my interpretation, ask yourself how it is that your "god" couldn't come up with a better way to communicate than a book that is so readily subject to so many interpretations, and has so many mistakes in it. Pretty pathetic god that you've made for yourself.

      So get out your sacrificial knife or your nasty sky creature will torture you eternally. Or just take a closer look at your foolish supersti-tions, understand that they are just silly, and toss them into the dustbin with all the rest of the gods that man has created.

      Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement. Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.
      http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

      May 10, 2012 at 11:29 pm |
    • raceisamyth

      The Lakota refused it yes. Other civilized tribes like the chickasaw, creek and cherokee shared culture with the pilgrims.

      May 10, 2012 at 11:29 pm |
    • Rachel

      Chad-Well articulated!!

      🙂

      May 10, 2012 at 11:31 pm |
    • raceisamyth

      And we smoked tobacco and ate peyote. Youre supposed to eat pot because when your body metabolizes it, it becomes delta 9 thc

      May 10, 2012 at 11:32 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      And guess what, race? None of them matter a whit now. They're history. Not significant in current thought or culture. Not important in current religious thinking.

      Got milk? Got fact? Got evidence to the contrary? Post it, with cites.

      May 10, 2012 at 11:32 pm |
    • Chad

      Bob "Yes, Jesus purportedly said that the OT commands still apply"

      do you actually know what He did say?

      May 10, 2012 at 11:34 pm |
    • raceisamyth

      O but they are significant....very significant. Especially to God. So are you. Despite your outright refusal to try

      May 10, 2012 at 11:34 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Prove it, race dick.

      May 10, 2012 at 11:35 pm |
    • raceisamyth

      They are in the scriptures. Did it ever occur to anyone that Yeshua could have had a wife and children according to God law of marriage? Since when is it a sin to procreate. What was Yeshua doing the first 33 years of his life. The American Indians are called the 7th tribe.

      May 10, 2012 at 11:43 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Yah. And here's proof: Supercalifragilisticexpialidocius.
      Even though the sound of it is something quite atrocious, SupercalifragilisticexpialidociousSupercalifragilisticexpialidocious!

      Chapter 2: Mary Poppins, verse 1-7.

      Prove me wrong.

      May 10, 2012 at 11:46 pm |
    • raceisamyth

      Watch the cherokee outpouring. I told you. Perry Stone will show you the link in scriptures to our spiritual inheiritance. Enjoy

      May 10, 2012 at 11:55 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Oh, go stick your head up your ass, you dolt.

      May 10, 2012 at 11:58 pm |
    • Bob

      Yes, Chad. I know exactly. Next question please. And speaking of questions, how come your 'omnipotent' creature couldn't do all that suppsed saving without the loony son sacrifice bit? And for that matter, how was it a sacrifice at all, when an omnipotent being could just pop up a replacement son any time it wants with less than a snap of its fingers? Pretty feeble god it is that you've made for yourself there.

      Look into the eyes of a suffering victim of any of the multiple disfiguring, debilitating, painful diseases that your "loving" god has purportedly created. Then you might understand that Christian god as described in the bible is not loving, doesn't give a hoot about human suffering, and in fact does not exist.

      Join the movement. Be free of religion in 2012.
      http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/join-us.htm

      May 11, 2012 at 12:38 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.