Unbelieving preachers get help to 'come out' as open atheists
Minister-turned-atheist Jerry DeWitt speaks at ReasonFest in Kansas earlier this year.
June 13th, 2012
10:47 AM ET

Unbelieving preachers get help to 'come out' as open atheists

By Dan Merica, CNN

(CNN) - Jerry DeWitt entered the ministry when he was 17, launching a 25-year career as a Pentecostal preacher. He traveled all around his home state of Louisiana, preaching and ministering wherever he could.

All these years later, DeWitt, 42, is still on the road, and now takes his message all over the United States. But the nature of that message, along with his audience, has changed dramatically.

DeWitt is now an avowed atheist, and his audiences are made up of religious “nones,” the growing number of Americans who are atheist, agnostic, humanist or just plain disinterested in identifying with a religion. Today, DeWitt preaches a gospel of disbelief.

During his speeches, he talks about the process of leaving his preacher job. “If you don’t believe, then you will be like me - you’ll suddenly find yourself where you only have two choices,” DeWitt told a group in Johnson County, Kansas, earlier this year.

“You can either be honest that you don’t believe ... or you can pretend that you do,” he said. “Which is what so many people are doing and that is called faith.”

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The transition from preacher to outspoken atheist has not been easy, and DeWitt is trying to smooth the way for other former believers. He is executive director of Recovering from Religion, an organization founded in 2009. Its slogan: “Thousands of organizations will help you get INTO religion, but we’re the only one helping you OUT.”

But a relatively new effort goes a step further than his own group by focusing on helping clergy in particular. In March 2011, a coalition that includes national groups such as American Atheists, the Freedom From Religion Foundation and the Richard Dawkins Foundation helped launch the Clergy Project, which is aimed at giving doubting and atheist preachers a community in which they can talk about their disbelief.

The program's ultimate goal: to help unbelieving preachers to “come out” in real life.

A safe online community

The Clergy Project’s key component is a private online community of active and former pastors discussing their conversions to lives of active disbelief. It lets congregational leaders come out anonymously, using an alias.

“It is important to focus on any group of people who are in a lot of pain,” said Linda LaScola, a co-founder of the Clergy Project. “That is why the Clergy Project exists, and it wouldn’t be growing if there wasn’t a need for it.”

When it launched last year, 52 clergy signed up for the online community, according to LaScola. A little more than a year later, 270 members are contributing to the message boards and connecting anonymously with one another.

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According to LaScola, the community includes some rabbis, imams and Catholic priests, but the majority are Protestants.

Members are barred from disclosing what is discussed on the boards, but DeWitt said it’s a blend of humor, advice and encouragement. DeWitt, who left his congregation just over a year ago, is considered the group’s first graduate.

“It gave me confidence to come out,” DeWitt said of the Clergy Project. “Knowing that I was not alone, that I was not a fluke, that I was not a freak of religious nature, but that this is a process; it most definitely gave me confidence and a purpose.”

Jerry DeWitt, far right, in his days as a minister.

DeWitt said that after connecting with people on the message boards, he realized he faced fewer obstacles than some others who are trying to leave the ministry. For example, DeWitt's wife and son already knew about his disbelief, while other questioning preachers had not yet told their families.

“I think it is important when you are struggling that you talk it out, that you write about it, that you find support,” said Teresa MacBain, acting executive director of the Clergy Project. “I still try to reach out to people who are questioning, who are doubting, clergy people and laypeople alike, and let them know they are not alone, that there are people who care.”

How does he feed his family?

For 44 years, MacBain was involved in some sort of ministry, from organizing worship music to being a senior pastor at a Methodist church in Florida.

At a recent American Atheists convention in North Bethesda, Maryland, MacBain first publicly announced her atheism, inspiring a roaring round of applause. American Atheists President David Silverman walked onstage and hugged her as MacBain began to cry.

"I was the one on the right track, and you were the ones that were going to burn in hell," MacBain told the crowd. "And I'm happy to say as I stand before you right now, I'm going to burn with you."

She said she sees plenty of growth potential in the Clergy Project. In the near future, she said she hopes to incorporate it as a nonprofit and begin raising funds for clergy who have decided to leave ministry jobs. She also wants to compile a group of employment recruiters to help former clergy find new jobs.

DeWitt, for his part, is struggling financially and said his house could be foreclosed on in the next few months.

For former preachers in search of work, their old skills can be hard to translate into new fields. What references do former ministers use if they have disappointed their congregants by leaving the pulpit?

MacBain said that some “formers,” as she calls ex-clergy, have left their hometowns for new jobs in fields ranging from radio to counseling.

To aid those transitions, Recovering from Religion has started the Clergy Professional Relief Fund, dedicated to “helping ex-ministers have a soft landing after coming out of the ministry.” Though little money has been collected so far, the hope is to help former ministers with job training and relocation expenses.

“Even if you have a degree in divinity, that doesn’t really mean anything,” DeWitt said. “That is the biggest fear that a nonbelieving clergy member has. How does he feed his family?”

Losing faith, losing friends

As a young fresh-faced minister, DeWitt was first confronted with his disbelief when he “became the person who got the burden of preaching about hell,” he said. “I really loved the people I preached to, I loved them like family. So imagine preaching that if you don’t do this, you are going to burn in hell. That wasn’t easy for me.”

After doubt about hell, DeWitt began to research other schools of thought about God and belief. He began to develop other doubts, about certain biblical translations and about healing.

“The next big issue was the failure of prayer,” DeWitt said. “People are passing away, whenever we pray for them to live. People aren’t getting jobs, whenever we pray for them to have jobs.

“The harder we tried to alleviate suffering within our church, it seemed like the worse things got,” he said. “It didn’t seem like prayer made any difference. It just continually crushed my heart.”

When DeWitt decided to come out as an atheist, some in his congregation appeared shocked.

“I was very heartbroken actually because his family means so much to me; they are actually like family,” said Natosha Davis, 30, who attended DeWitt’s church for four years. “I was very heartbroken for him that he had to go through that and struggle.”

Many congregants were less charitable. “Some people where he lives just totally turned their backs on him,” Davis said. “He was ostracized, excommunicated. It is like he has a disease, but he doesn’t.”

When DeWitt runs into people he used to preach to, he still averts his eyes. Going to the post office and to Walmart, he said, can be stressful because of the possibility of running into a former congregant.

“It is because places in which you were once admired now you are suddenly scorned or pitied,” DeWitt said, who admits not having many friends anymore. “It makes for an extremely uncomfortable life.”

And yet DeWitt said his atheist life mirrors his old religious one in some key respects. In some ways, he said, he’s still a minister.

“The origin of the symmetry is me, is my personality, my love for people, my love for ministering,” DeWitt said. “What I have always tried to do is to minster from where I personally am at.

“When I was 17, I preached what I believed was best for people at the time; when I was 20, it was a little different; at 25 it was different, too,” he said. “And now at 42, I am still the same guy preaching what I see is best for people.”

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Atheism • Christianity

soundoff (5,298 Responses)
  1. The Corrector

    Never let your ego stand in the way of true happiness & I will be with you forever.

    June 20, 2012 at 7:35 am |
  2. The Corrector

    Atheists only ever expect failure from you.
    So let's give the atheists some failure.
    I failed my driving test once.
    In my line of work, it's been duly noted that all atheists are headed for a complete nervous breakdown.
    We have to put atheists on suicide watch.
    This is a persistent failure of atheists.

    June 20, 2012 at 5:28 am |
    • Primewonk

      What line of work are you in?

      And where did you do your grad work to be trained to make these clinical assessments?

      June 20, 2012 at 8:25 am |
    • The Corrector

      I'm a service provider & service user & naturally the service has to be just right.
      What kind of service are you into?

      June 20, 2012 at 9:02 am |
  3. Mofo ex Machina

    "Yes it is!" "No it isn't!" "Yes it is!" "No it isn't!"
    There is just the most overpowering need to post something, ANYTHING here. I mean, everyone else is.

    I don't see nobody here but us chickens, myself.
    The day may soon come when Christianity is swept away as rapidly and thoroughly as the pagan god worship that preceded it. I suspect the Christians see this coming as well as they are sure getting militant.The Muslims seem to have the same foreboding and are responding similarly. Religions themselves, cornered beasts.

    June 19, 2012 at 10:17 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      No, they'll never do away with God, nor His people. The earth and everything that's in it may turn to dust and sun may loose it's light, and the universe may become dark and silent, but God will always be, and His people will dwell eternally with Him.
      And the only thing Christians "see comming" is the things that are comming to pass foretold long ago in the Word of God... God is not slack in His promises. But one day to Him as thousand years nd thousand years as one day. We live in time, but He is the Lord of Time, and in His time He will purge the Earth from the evil that's walking upon it. His people who long for His comming will be glad. So let not this world boast against the Lord in whose hand is every human breath. No one will do away with God, and His Christ, who is Lord blessed forever, to whom all creation is subdued and in whom all things consist. Man must remember that he is made of dust. If he forgets, that still does not change the fact that he is!

      June 19, 2012 at 11:06 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I couldn't even get through the first two lines of your drivel, Prissy, without tripping over your illiterate stupidity. It's "lose", azzwipe. Not "loose". Why can't you morons figure that out? And it's "its light", ya fvckin' moron. "It's" is a contraction. It is short for "it is", you idiot. You should have learned that in elementary school, but you were in that "special class" where you were busy learning how to wipe your butt because you weren't capable of much more than that, were you?

      June 19, 2012 at 11:11 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Good grief, but your ignorance is the gift that keeps on giving, Prissy. "Comming"? REALLY? You want to be taken seriously as a Biblical interpreter and you can't even get THAT right?

      June 19, 2012 at 11:12 pm |
    • FellowTraveler2012

      Don't take the criticism of fools to heart Prism. 'Is it important how a man speaks or spells? Is that REALLY more important than the stories he tells?"

      June 20, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      I don't, Fellow Traveler...
      It's not my misspelling and grammar that are thorn in their side which they hate, but the message of my posts.
      But as I said it before, I'll say it again : If every other word of my posts were misspelled, but they understood the meaning of them, the rejection of truth in them will be a heap of coals of fire on their heads on the Day of their Reckoning......because the professed themselves to be wise, but being fools they rejected God and those who spoke in His behalf, amusing themselves in their mockeries! But it is a trivial thing to me to be ridiculed by foul mouth fools!

      I dare them to spell and speak my native language as I do English! LOL!.... They amount to no more then hot air in the wind!

      June 20, 2012 at 10:10 pm |
  4. The Corrector

    As we complete our brush with death, the atheists must complete their brush with life.
    Did the atheists enjoy their brush with life?
    Because we enjoyed our brush with death.
    God gave us our brush with death.
    The Devil gave atheists their brush with life.
    Did you enjoy your brush with death?
    Did atheists enjoy your brush with life?

    June 19, 2012 at 9:21 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      What are you, the Fuller brush man?

      June 19, 2012 at 11:13 pm |
    • Bet

      @ Tom


      June 20, 2012 at 2:47 am |
  5. Caribbean Queen

    Atheists u have no facts!, God = Fact!
    Atheists are all brainwashed.

    June 19, 2012 at 8:58 pm |
    • JWT

      heres a fact for you

      God == fiction.

      June 19, 2012 at 9:16 pm |
    • Bet

      You believe in talking snakes, a boat that held two of every living thing, devils, angels, that a dead guy came back to life, got beamed up into the sky, and that he's coming back on a rainbow throne, and you call atheists brainwashed? LOL!

      June 20, 2012 at 2:42 am |
    • Bob Loblaw

      A good dictionary might help you understand what a fact is. Then you can verify you "fact" for us.

      June 20, 2012 at 3:38 am |
    • sam stone

      God is fact? Perhaps to those who have no concept of the difference between their opinions and fact

      June 20, 2012 at 8:13 am |
  6. Firm Believer of YHWH

    IF there is no God, then why are we here? Life has no meaning if we don't believe in anything other then are selves..

    June 19, 2012 at 7:50 pm |
    • Bet

      That's a lie. You only believe it because it's what you've been taught.

      June 19, 2012 at 7:59 pm |
    • JWT

      There is lots to believe in – just not god.

      June 19, 2012 at 9:14 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @Firm Believer

      If you want to devalue humanity so much, then do so, but as for me, I choose to define my own purpose and meaning in life, rather that latch on to something due to low self-esteem.

      June 19, 2012 at 9:18 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      it's "ourselves". FYI. Personally I think it's an illusion that man loves to have that life MUST have meaning. It's such an arrogant statement. However, I could say I find a great deal of meaning in the love I share with my family and the world around me. I find meaning in the creations that I bring to planet earth as one of its artists. I find meaning in the bite I just took of my strawberry. None of this required me to also have a god. Try again.

      June 19, 2012 at 10:04 pm |
    • sam stone

      Too bad your life has no meaning without your god. Going to visit him soon?

      June 20, 2012 at 8:16 am |
    • The Dog Delusion

      of course life has no ultimate meaning if atheism is true. but that's not really an argument for god. it just describes the absurdity of a godless world.

      June 20, 2012 at 11:33 am |
    • PRISM 1234

      If a man does not (or- refuses to) believe in God it is because he loves darkness rather then light, and he is refusing to humble himseolf before his Maker. Becaue we all have, because we have been given, this witness in our consciences that there is a God and that we are more then just animals.
      But after deniying the voice of one's conscience for so long, God turns those who do so to believe a lie, because the love of truth was not found in them. That is how God sifts human hearts.....
      *Hebrews 4:12,13
      *St John316-21
      *Romans 1:18-20
      *2Thessalonians 2:11.12

      June 20, 2012 at 11:37 pm |
    • JWT

      I have a perfectly good conscience and there is no god involved and never has been.

      You are welcome to your beliefs Prism but they do not extend to other people that do not believe as you do. Your religion is right for you and other people's choices – usually different – are right for them. Accept that and move on.

      June 21, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
  7. The Corrector

    The Department of Corrections is headed in the right direction because it's got such a fine reputation to uphold.
    The Department of Corrections is now recruiting very decent people.
    USA.GOV will lead you to the application webpage.
    Because the Department of Corrections has to head in the right direction, you'll find its' influence on other government bodies quite staggering.

    June 19, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
  8. The Corrector

    Are these atheists now confessing their many failures in public?
    It won't buy them a second longer because atheists have no god to confess to.
    Are you stuck confessing many failures to the very useless Devil/Lucifer/Satan?
    Have you the heart to do anything properly?

    June 19, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
  9. The Corrector

    I've already put the Devil straight on many things.

    June 19, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
    • Bet

      Are you having some weird fantasy about s.ex with an imaginary red guy or are you just having a seizure?

      June 20, 2012 at 2:46 am |
    • JWT

      Maybe he is a used car salesman for Dodge trucks.

      June 20, 2012 at 6:58 am |
  10. The Corrector

    I ask all atheists one simple question;
    Just precisely how much misery did you invite?
    Inviting misery flatlines your life bit by bit by miserable bit.

    June 19, 2012 at 3:02 pm |
    • SRO


      June 19, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      Yeah... huh?

      June 19, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
  11. GetReal

    Just because you don't believe in any religion means you're an atheist? Atheist means "without God". It appalls me how many self-proclaimed atheists there are. Nobody is without God – it doesn't matter if you're religious or not.

    June 19, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
    • SRO

      An atheist is one who lacks a belief in a deity.

      June 19, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      @GetReal, Of course we would expect a person who's very self-worth is created by belief in a deity to expect that all others have this same deity, whether they acknowledge it or not. This is the nature of self-delusion. You need EVERYONE to be in the same fantasy world as you, otherwise your story falls apart. When you examine the facts, you will find like many former atheists and this gentleman about whom the article is written, that what you believe is a series of stories told over and over again. All stories were told by men. Men are by their very nature flawed, so what you believe cannot be the whole truth. You may also find that that story that you are carrying around needs to be constantly "refueled" to keep it alive. This is another major difference between fantasy and reality. Reality just is. It doesn't need anyone to make it true. We don't have to feed the idea of gravity to keep our feet on planet Earth.

      June 19, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
    • niknak

      Since god does not exist, we are all without god.
      Does that clear it up for you?

      June 19, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
    • JWT

      Let me make this very clear – I have no god. That should be easy enough to understand.

      June 19, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
    • steve

      I am afraid you do, JWT.

      Having you believe that you do not is his primary weapon.

      June 19, 2012 at 7:51 pm |
    • JWT

      You have no clue Steve. You are welcome to believe in your religious stuff but not a single bit of it applies to me, so please keep your wild baseless assertions to yourself. I have no god Steve and I;d know that infinitely better than you.

      June 19, 2012 at 8:41 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      JWT, the greatest deception that satan, who is god of this world is deceiving his followers with, is by telling them that he doesn't exist. You are either a child of God , or satan is your father and your master, and you serve him by doing his will. There is no middle ground. Man without Christ is NOT free!

      June 19, 2012 at 9:27 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      Oh joy PRISM is here with more inane babble and delusional assertions.

      June 19, 2012 at 9:32 pm |
    • JWT

      You must be hard of hearing Prism – I have no god – there is neither a god nor a satan – if you believe I have either then you are clearly psychotic. I do not subscribe to your personal religious beliefs in any way.

      June 19, 2012 at 9:33 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      @PRISM 1234, Really? That's the best satan could come up with? God isn't real? I think he'd do much better pointing out what an evil SOB god is by getting people to read the bible. That seems like a far better strategy.

      June 19, 2012 at 10:11 pm |
  12. billsf

    I'm an atheist, but I believe that there is an energy that connects all of life. One could call this "God" if they chose to.
    I believe that most of the bible was made up by man. There's some really insane stories in that book.

    June 19, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
    • The Dog Delusion

      what do you mean by "energy"? all the atheists i know dont believe in any supernatural.

      June 19, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
    • niknak

      Dude, that is the Force, you know, what guided Luke Skywalker's hand when he destroyed the Death Star.
      Don't you know your Star Wars?

      June 19, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
    • Awakened

      Energy is not supernatural... The sun produces energy. Your body produces energy. There is energy that holds/bonds molecules together. In fact, there is energy in everything... and the energy that makes us connects us through a cosmic recycling process that I like to call re-creationism. We all are one, from the same creative force that we know as energy.

      The word "god" in most texts should be replaced with either politician (king) or priest and almost always applies godly powers to humans that seek nothing more that the expansion of their control.

      June 19, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
  13. Daniel Hoffman

    Atheists in the pulpit are very common. Anyone who watches the frauds on TV supposedly healing people or asking for a "seed of faith" (a large donation/loan that God will repay) knows that they don't believe the crap they are saying. If they did, they'd be terrified of divine wrath and stop right away. I'd wager that a full third of preachers don't believe in God.

    June 19, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
    • niknak

      Funny how they never seen to "heal" and amputee.......

      June 19, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
  14. Bob

    I used to be a Christian. Then I turned 10.

    June 19, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
    • fardarter

      Yes, that's about the same age as me.

      June 19, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
    • The Dog Delusion

      what a coincedence.....jerry dewitt showed the logic of a 10 year old with his conversion as well!

      June 19, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      i thought I knew everything then too.

      June 21, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
  15. berg

    Funny how these kinds of stories always seem to get top billing on CNN's "Belief Blog". They should rename it the "Unbelief Blog".

    June 19, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
    • veggiedude

      A good book to read is "Losing Faith in Faith" written by a once upon a time Evangelist who now heads the Freedom from Religion Foundation.

      June 19, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
    • fardarter


      June 19, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
  16. Gays Are A Disease

    What is this crap? Atheists in the pulpit? I think I'm gonna be sick! I hope these jerks get tormented extra hard in hell!!!!

    June 19, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
    • Recovering From Religion

      There would have to be a hell first 🙂

      June 19, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
    • Matt

      As above there would have to be a hell first...so the threat is meaningless.

      "I hope these jerks get tormented extra hard in hell!!!!" – wow, aren't you a ray of christian sunshine – just implying that a person "should" be tormented for having doubts or not beliving in myths...your thoughts in regards to this are sickening.

      June 19, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
    • veggiedude

      I agree. They are worse than Hitler, Stalin and Kim Jong-il combined!!!

      June 19, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
    • Karen Winter

      Is that the "Christian love" we hear so much about?

      It's comments like yours that convince me that if I was presented with evidence of a god, and it turned out to be the Christian god (inspiring that kind of hate & ignorance) ............ I could believe ............. but, I certainly couldn't worship it!

      June 19, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
    • Thinker

      Hmm.... Judging by the name and comment, I would susspect the OP is a ... TROLL. Please do not feed the trolls.

      June 19, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
    • fardarter

      Hell is here on earth and you are building it around yourself - your hate is your own hell. You can live in it as long as you like, even for eternity. You are paying the price of your own disease. Why shower contempt on you when you yourself make your own hell for yourself–however, you are truly contemptible. You should know that.

      June 19, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
  17. Brandt

    Hey...I gotta say it's tough trusting when you don't get a job, etc. But part of the answer is a theology of sin and brokenness in the world, and part of it is a theology of responsibility. God does not drop jobs in people's laps if they don't prepare and study for them. Part of the adventure is that God is with us in the journey. The fact that God does not operate the way we want Him to does not disprove His existence by any means. I am single. I'm almost 40. And I take partial responsibility for that. Ultimately though, should God choose to bless me with a spouse He will. Having reformed leanings answers a lot of questions for me, including my salvation ultimately. Having charismatic leanings and an appreciation for the intimacy of God means that I believe He is near even when I don't always sense Him. Of course, this is why Satan tries to divide the church between denominations, etc. It was never Christ's intention.

    June 19, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
    • steve

      Hang in there, Brandt. You are definitely on the right path, and there will surely come a time when you WILL always sense Him. 🙂

      June 19, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
    • Recovering From Religion

      Our position is that you are in control, not a supernatural being. You're not a victim to your surroundings, you're an active participant. Carpe diem 🙂

      June 19, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
    • Thinker

      I was under the impression that Jesus never created a church in the first place, so I doubt that his intentions included even the Catholic Church.

      June 19, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
    • thinkhere

      no him..her either or it..all all and all nothing... grow up and think and then make your words fit reality.

      June 19, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
    • The Dog Delusion

      Jerry DeWitt had a hard time understanding this. He feels that if prayers are unanwered then God doesn't exist. Obviously, any logical human being will see the absurdity in a such a notion. I find it very amusing that such a person would be a major speaker at a "Reason Rally" and "Reasonfest".

      June 19, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Yes he seems to view God as his spiritual errand boy and manservant. Pretty backwards theology. I'd recommend C.S. Lewis The Burden of Glory as a counterpoint to anyone who is seduced by prosperity gospels

      June 21, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
  18. The Dude


    June 19, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
  19. The Dude


    June 19, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
  20. No Religion

    What hypocrites....We love you, ONLY if you believe as we do. Religious freaks are all the same. Manipulative, backstabbing, narrow minded hypocrites. I can't wait for the day they fall into the minority and are done away with.

    June 19, 2012 at 11:37 am |
    • mamatiger92

      Oh, the irony....

      June 19, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
    • Thinker

      How.... hypocritical of you.

      June 19, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
    • fardarter


      June 19, 2012 at 2:47 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.