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Strange religious bedfellows unite for letter against hotel porn
Hotels' in-room movie selections should not include porn, according to two religious scholars.
July 12th, 2012
11:03 AM ET

Strange religious bedfellows unite for letter against hotel porn

By Dan Merica, CNN

(CNN) – A letter penned by two notable scholars - a Christian and a Muslim - and sent to a number of different hotel industry executives has asked those hotels to remove pornography from their company’s in-room movie selections.

Robert P. George, a professor at Princeton University and the past chairman of the conservative National Organization for Marriage, and Shaykh Hamza Yusuf, co-founder of Zaytuna College, a Muslim school, wrote the letter to urge hotels “to do what is right as a matter of conscience.”

“We are, respectively, a Christian and a Muslim, but we appeal to you not on the basis of truths revealed in our scriptures but on the basis of a commitment that should be shared by all people of reason and goodwill: a commitment to human dignity and the common good,” reads the letter.

The letter marks the joining of two unique men with two distinctly different faiths. Yusuf says they were able to put aside their disagreement on other issues because of  their commitment to this cause. “We need to see that those things that are threatening our society today are much graver than anything that may divide us,” he told CNN.

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Reaction to the letter from some adult film stars - and even from some advocates for removing porn from hotels - was negative.

Craig Gross, a pastor and the founder of XXXchurch.com, says the letter is an empty gesture with no power behind it.

“It has got to be one of the dumbest letters I have ever read,” Gross said. “It is like asking the Internet to stop selling porn. It sounds good and all, but it isn’t going to happen.”

But the letter’s authors argue that the Internet and hotels are different, with hotel owners directly profiting off the temptation of porn.

“We urge you to do away with pornography in your hotels because it is morally wrong to seek to profit from the suffering, degradation, or corruption of others,” states the letter. “You are placing temptation in their path - temptation for the sake of profit. That is unjust. Moreover, the fact that something is chosen freely does not make it right.”

Yusuf continued to use this argument in an interview with CNN. “Just because we are able to do something doesn’t mean it is what we should be doing. And just because you can sell these things doesn’t mean it is something you should be selling,” he said.

In Gross’ opinion, this logic is a slippery slope. When planes offer access to WiFi, is that placing temptation in the path of those who may view porn on the Web? When hotels offer room service, he asks, are they tempting dieters?

Gross has a long history of helping those with porn addictions, and his website is dedicated to getting people help. According to him, removing porn from hotels is a futile endeavor because of the "unfettered availability of porn on the Web. “

According to a 2005 report on the state of the adult entertainment by Adult Video News, a trade journal on the adult-film industry, 55% of hotel movie rentals are porn movie rentals. The average revenue from movie rentals, according to LodgeNet, a company that provides in-room entertainment services, was $16.51 per room per month in 2008. In the third quarter of 2009, LodgeNet brought in $64.8 million. This, however, included more family-friendly options as well.

A 2011 report by Robert Mandelbaum at Colliers PKF Hospitality Research found that from 2000 to 2009, movie rental revenue for hotels in general decreased 39%.

Even with the reported slip, Gross and other critics acknowledged there is a demand for adult entertainment.

“This is supply and demand,” Gross said. “We spin our wheels doing all the wrong things. The issue is not that it is available; the issue is that people buy it.”

Prior to this letter, however, some hotels had already pledged to remove pornography from their programming or had removed it.

In 2011, Marriott International - a company founded by a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that continues deep Mormon ties - pledged to phase out adult content from all hotel rooms. The move came after groups like Focus on the Family met with Marriott officials to urge them to remove adult movies.

The church of porn and football

“Adult content will be off the menu for virtually all of our newly built hotels,” read the Marriott statement. “Over the next few years, this will be the policy across our system.”

Marriott is not the first hotel group to do this, though. Omni Hotels, a Dallas-based luxury hotel chain, removed all adult films from its in-room systems in 1999. According to other reports, adult-free programming is helping the Omni differentiate itself in the hotel market.

Websites like cleanhotels.com look to help porn-free hotels by compiling a list of hotels that do not offer adult entertainment and leading people to them. Cleanhotels.com says it does so because its supporters want to know they are “supporting a facility that cares enough about the wellbeing of its customers not to make harmful pornographic movies available.”

The American Hotel & Lodging Association, however, defends the right of hotels to choose what services to offer in their rooms.

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“In-room offerings such as this are made available based on market demand, are not offered in all hotels, and are subject to the same legal review all hotel operations are subject to,” read a statement from Kathryn Potter, senior vice president of marketing and communications for the association.

Ron Jeremy, an adult-film star who has been in over 2,000 porn films, according to the Internet Adult Film Database, sees efforts to remove porn from hotels as attacks on freedom of speech.

“What they have to understand is that freedom of speech works for all of us, not just for them,” Jeremy said about those who want to get porn out of hotel rooms. “This is a country that is secular; you have freedom from religion and freedom of religion. Give me a break.”

While Jeremy said he is all for making sure kids in hotel rooms can’t get to porn - “I think that is marvelous” - he said he doesn’t see why adults shouldn’t watch “consenting adults have consenting sex.”

"If a guy has a hard day at work or is at a convention and wants to sit down in his hotel room and puts on an adult film and plays spank the monkey, why can’t he do that?"

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Christianity • Islam

soundoff (1,415 Responses)
  1. SNAPPA

    “We are, respectively, a Christian and a Muslim, but we appeal to you not on the basis of truths revealed in our scriptures but on the basis of a commitment that should be shared by all people of reason and goodwill: a commitment to human dignity and the common good,” reads the letter.

    First of all I take acception to the fact people call these guys "scholars" obviously believing in such nonsense precludes them from being anything other than smart. Second in the above quote using the term "reason" is such an oxymoron given their "beliefs". Thrid who the hell are they to dictate what I would do in a hotel room? Quite frankly it's none of their business what people do in private. This is the problem with religion always trying to tell you what you can and cannot do by people who haven't the good sense to know when they are being duped.

    July 13, 2012 at 5:51 am |
    • snappawhoppa

      *exception*

      July 13, 2012 at 8:30 am |
    • Mike

      SNAPPA, you have every right to stay perverted. Remember, you take your perversion to hell and exist with your personal worm eating off you forever. It's excruciating and ever lasting.

      July 13, 2012 at 9:58 am |
    • Who invited me?

      Pay no attention to Mike
      He has come to lie to everyone this morning

      July 13, 2012 at 9:59 am |
  2. lance corporal

    how about we keep the po rn and boot the religions????

    just sounds more fun

    July 13, 2012 at 5:21 am |
    • Truth

      Whatever the motives for atheist bloodthirstiness, the indisputable fact is that all the religions of the world put together have in 2,000 years not managed to kill as many people as have been killed in the name of atheism in the past few decades.
      It's time to abandon the mindlessly repeated mantra that religious belief has been the greatest source of human conflict and violence. Atheism, not religion, is the real force behind the mass murders of history.”

      July 13, 2012 at 5:27 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Ever heard of the Islamic conquests f.uckwit.

      July 13, 2012 at 5:38 am |
    • Truth

      Those lossing an arguement often resort to name calling. May God bless you and your family and open your eyes to the truth of his love.

      John 3 >>
      New International Version 1984

      16“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son,f that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.g 19This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. 21But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.”h

      July 13, 2012 at 5:47 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Well, have you ever heard of the Islamic conquests? HAIL SATAN.

      July 13, 2012 at 5:54 am |
    • SHAME

      TRUTH – you clearly are unaware of the meaning of TRUTH. I feel sorry for you, being brainwashed probably from birth with no faith in YOURSELF! You need a book to tell you how to feel, how to react how to deal with people. Why can't you write one post without spewing a bunch ofscripture writings? Those are not YOUR words, you didnt think of them, and they mean nothing in the present day.
      THINK OUTSIDE THE BOOK! BELEIVE IN YOURSELF! YOU CAN BE CURED OF THE DISEASE KNOWN AS RELIGEON!

      July 13, 2012 at 8:19 am |
    • Religion is the #1 problem in this world by far

      Truth, do you have any examples to back up your "indisputable fact"? Were the mass murders you are thinking of really due to Atheism?
      Also, how to the totals compare to the Christian god, who will send 5 billion of the current world population to eternal hellfire? This is not counting the billions of other non-Christians who have already died that would be in hell already, according to the myth.
      So even if you must tweak the historical facts to say these mass murders were due to Atheism, it still is pale in comparison with the loving Christian god.

      July 13, 2012 at 8:42 am |
    • Mike

      lance, you can stay perverted forever. Burning in hell is excruciating. Remember that.

      July 13, 2012 at 9:59 am |
  3. Truth

    Militant atheism, therefore, was a major factor in the m.urd.er of countless millions, during the past century. Unfortunately, militant atheism, is still driven by some of the same extremist views reminiscent of atheist-communist regimes of old. They, like their predecessors, do not hesitate to admit that they hate God, religion and that they would like to see both disappear forever. Furthermore, they are driven by a hatred for the unborn, and a blind support for common-law living, s.e.x.u.al im.mo.ra.lity, euth.an.asi.a, etc.

    The understandable concern of many is that a propagation of their philosophy of meaninglessness and their blind allegiance to atheistic evolution would lead, in the long run, to a return to a cold-hearted and dangerous devaluing of the weak and the needy in society; though they "assure" us that that is not part of their agenda. We believe that their cold-heartiness toward millions of unborn babies, and their total support of euthanasia indicates otherwise.

    July 13, 2012 at 5:20 am |
    • Gandalftheballer

      I'm sick and tired of trying to argue with someone like you, so I will put it simply. You are a cultist. Athiests do not want anything other then the freedom to do as they wish as long as it does not harm others, you know, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?

      You seem to think that your faith gives you the right to tell other people who do not share it to follow its edicts. You sound like a tyrant and should be ashamed. And just to be clear, athiesm did not cause all those deaths. Hitler was insane, and a roman catholic. Stalin did not do things in the name of athiesm, he did them because he was a bloodthirsty madman. I would love to see an argument directly linking his disbelief in god to all the people he killed. They were poliitical prisoners etc. The crusades, 911, etc are all directly because of religion thinking that because a certain sect or lets be honest, cult, believes in something that they can enforce their personal beliefs on other people. I will go to my grave trying to purge the world of the horribly twisted idea you call your faith. All of your cited examples of societies breakdown are all directly related to your own personal moral beliefs. We live in America, not Saudi Arabia, so stop pretending you can just enforce your own outdated worldview on the rest of us.

      July 13, 2012 at 5:46 am |
    • wildwildwest

      Your writing is filled with lies and untruths. Atheists don't hate god, we just don't believe there is one. We might not like right-wing, hateful intolerant religions, but that is another story.

      July 13, 2012 at 5:50 am |
    • Mike

      wild, not believing in Jesus is a free ticket to hell. The torment is forever.

      July 13, 2012 at 10:02 am |
    • Who invited me?

      Mike is lying to you

      July 13, 2012 at 10:03 am |
  4. Truth

    The crimes of atheism have generally been perpetrated through a hubristic ideology that sees man, not God, as the creator of values. Using the latest techniques of science and technology, man seeks to displace God and create a secular utopia here on earth. Of course if some people – the Jews, the landowners, the unfit, or the handicapped – have to be eliminated in order to achieve this utopia, this is a price the atheist tyrants and their apologists have shown themselves quite willing to pay. Thus they confirm the truth of Fyodor Dostoyevsky's dictum, "If God is not, everything is permitted. [2]

    July 13, 2012 at 4:35 am |
    • BamaDaniel

      You need kush

      July 13, 2012 at 4:43 am |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      Truth: You're a blind sheep. More has been done to cause harm in the name of your imaginary friend than in the name of disbelief. You sound like a 6 year old trying to understand Santa but most christards sound as you do....you just blindly accept without a care in this world about what the evidence says. You're wasting the only life you are guaranteed of for something that science says doesn't exist (without peer-reviewed evidence/facts to back it, there is no reason to believe).

      July 13, 2012 at 5:02 am |
    • Truth

      The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression, published by Harvard University Press, is the work of eleven scholars that ignited a continental firestorm when it first hit bookstores in France in 1997. The authors estimate the century's death toll at the hands of Communist governments (excluding wars) at 100 million people. Country by country, deaths by the state in China stand at 65 million, in the USSR 20 million, Vietnam 1 million, North Korea 2 million, Cambodia 2 million, Eastern Europe 1 million, Latin America 150,000, Africa 1.7 million, and Afghanistan 1.5 million. Additionally, the international Communist movement murdered about 10,000 people throughout the world." (Author's emphasis

      July 13, 2012 at 5:10 am |
    • Truth

      THE CRIMES AND EVILS OF MILITANT ATHEISM

      Atheists are quick to point out that throughout history large numbers of people were killed in the name of Religion; but they fail to mention the countless millions who were killed by leaders who worshipped themselves or by militant atheist-Communists who were driven by a hatred for God and Religion.

      July 13, 2012 at 5:12 am |
    • Truth

      Karl Marx’s extremist followers were not in any way impeded in their blood-thirsty global quest by fear of a Higher Power. Atheism took very efficient care of this “limiting factor.” Since the end justified the means, as Machiavelli had instructed, they could do whatever was necessary to bring about a workers’ paradise. Because the opposition in some cases proved to be powerful and resilient, drastic means were used. Large numbers were killed for refusing to abandon their religious beliefs. A great many were sent to concentration camps. (For an enlightening, "first-hand" account of suppression of Religion and other "enemies" of Atheistic-Communism in Russia, please read, The Gulag Archipelago, by Alexander Solzhenitsyn - especially Chapter 2.)

      July 13, 2012 at 5:15 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Another idiot who uses atheist and communist interchangeably. Communism is an economic theory, nothing to do with any belief system. Atheism also lacks a common belief system, either economically or socially. You can very easily be an economic conservative and an atheist (as I am). Now you just need to pull your head out of your ass.

      July 13, 2012 at 5:37 am |
    • JW

      Sounds like the old "If you don't have god, you don't have morals" argument, along with loads of unprovable B.S. about atheism killing more people than religion. Have fun trying to prove that. People, this dude is just spamming the board trying to stir up crap against atheism because he feels religion is "under attack", even though religion has controlled everything for thousands of years. He's a true believer. Arguing with him will get you exactly NOWHERE. Let me be. He is exposed by the very ridiculousness of his claims. No one ever stoned anyone to death over their lack of belief in god. Pull out all the facts and history you want to disprove him, but you are wasting your time.

      Religion poisons everything.

      July 13, 2012 at 5:54 am |
    • sam stone

      You claim to know the likes and dislikes of god, and it is the atheists who are exhibiting hubris. F off, troll

      July 13, 2012 at 7:22 am |
    • Mike

      Jesus walked this earth especially for the sinners to hear his word, so they could stop their perversion, and follow him to everlasting. If you don't follow him, you stamp your ticket to hell. Hell is forever torment.

      July 13, 2012 at 10:04 am |
    • Who invited me?

      another lie from mike

      July 13, 2012 at 10:05 am |
  5. Truth

    BARON D'HOLBACH (Author/Philosopher)

    Denying the existence of a deity, and refusing to admit as evidence all a priori arguments, d'Holbach saw in the universe nothing save matter in motion. In this, he was influenced by John Toland. The foundation of morality is happiness: "It would be useless and almost unjust to insist upon a man's being virtuous if he cannot be so without being unhappy. So long as vice renders him happy, he should love vice." This theory of morality can be seen as a precursor to utilitarianism.

    July 13, 2012 at 4:20 am |
  6. Truth

    FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE (Philosopher)
    "He believed that the values of self-sacrifice inherent in Christianity undermined the cultural development; that democracy and socialism, which treated all people equally, stifled individual creativity and genius; and that universal suffrage gave power to the masses. Therefore, it was up to exceptional individuals to take leadership. He outlined his plan for a new generation of “supermen” who “were free from sentimental inhibitions and prepared …to use violence in the building of a new, nobler world.” (Hitler was one of his most committed followers).

    July 13, 2012 at 4:17 am |
    • JW

      Hitler was a good Catholic, too. lol

      July 13, 2012 at 5:55 am |
  7. Jefferson Bedford Forrest

    Time for a real simple lesson, you doomed atheists! Learn it and you won't have to snap. crackle and pop in the Lake Of Fire!

    Psalm 23, beloved by all Christians, will save your butt if you accept it. The LORD is my shepherd. Easy as that. Accept it and you are saved from your inevitable doom.

    And it is so beautiful. Jesus is the shepherd, and you are the sheep. Wait a minute . . . uh, I know Jesus means that in the best possible way. Don't worry about Jesus thinking you are a sheep. Let's move on.

    Jesus will be the best of shepherds, and he will lead you where shepherds take sheep. Wait a minute . . . shepherds take sheep to . . . slaghter. Uh . . .

    Look, Jesus is too busy answering prayers to write good metaphors, so just be a sheep and love Jesus! Wait . . .

    Let's talk about something else.

    July 13, 2012 at 3:32 am |
    • Name*Chedar

      I don't believe you. Deep down in your mind you have not and can not abandon sensual pleasure. It will be eons of mindfulness before you can achieve what you say.

      July 13, 2012 at 4:22 am |
  8. Epidi

    It's available on cable (for a price) anyway so what's the beef? Personally I don't watch it when I'm staying in a hotel (I'm usually doing it, lol) but there's a bible in the drawer for your religion fix if that's what you want. Religious leaders & govt need to stay out of my reproductive system and stay the heck outta my rented bedroom!

    July 13, 2012 at 3:22 am |
  9. ma & pa

    Ooops, now Bob has it wrong. Maybe his religion is attacking the Book he won't understand. God described such humans.

    July 13, 2012 at 1:52 am |
    • tallulah13

      There is not a single shred of evidence that supports the existence of any god. There is not a single shred of evidence that any of the supernatural events in the bible actually occurred. There is no reason to believe that the bible is anything more than a collection of middle-eastern myths edited by people with an agenda.

      On the other hand the bible has been used to excuse things like slavery, genocide and discrimination. Whatever good one might find in it's pages is overshadowed by the evil done in its name (and by extension, the christian god's name.)

      July 13, 2012 at 2:11 am |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      There is no evidence that god described anything. We do know that man described a lot in that book. It was man that wrote it and the men that wrote it couldn't possibly have understood much given their lack of resources. It's a pathetic excuse christards use to try to influence the world. They fail to comprehend that the book has never been updated to meet the peer-reviewed evidence we have and that their imaginary friend has never been proven to exist. They live in constant fear of dying having not preached the 'good' (bad) word...wasting their life for something that does not exist-no heaven, no hell....just nothingness in the end. Judging everyone who fails to accept and be as lazy/dishonest as they are.

      July 13, 2012 at 4:58 am |
    • Mike

      Atheism is the worst disease that ever plagued man. It's a sure fire stamp to hell. Hell is excruciating and ever lasting.

      July 13, 2012 at 10:06 am |
    • Who invited me?

      a whopper of a lie from mike

      July 13, 2012 at 10:07 am |
  10. Ting

    The Bible has por n. Look it up.

    "There she lusted after her lovers whose genitals were like those of donkeys and whose emission was like that of horses. So you longed for the lewdness of your youth, when in Egypt your bosom was caressed and your young breasts fondled"

    Ezekiel 23: 20-21.

    July 13, 2012 at 1:04 am |
    • Epidi

      Yep, that would have been considered racy when it was written and por n 2000 yrs later – go figure!

      July 13, 2012 at 3:24 am |
    • Mike

      These scriptures are referring to following false religions and false gods.

      July 13, 2012 at 10:08 am |
    • Who invited me?

      false gods?....alll gods are false mike

      July 13, 2012 at 10:09 am |
  11. HeavenSent

    God made everything so he made p.orn and we are supposed to see it.Or else he is just a teaser and a berk and free will sucks.

    Amen.

    July 13, 2012 at 12:58 am |
  12. Really

    How about they right a letter to all those 72 VIRGINs seeking Muslim loser terrorist to stop murdering people!!!! Now that is time and paper well spent.

    July 13, 2012 at 12:18 am |
  13. ma & pa

    If you want to throw away the Bible because you don't understand it's parables and lessons, based on the history it records, then why not also toss history books and dictionarys since they recount and describe violence? Nevermind the lessons in them and while you are at it, out with those horrible daily news reports. Someone might misunderstand. Bob at 1:30 has it right. But, some p orn has been made for 70 years by torturing the child through adulthood to get a performance and then shocking her memory so she can't know to go after the perps. That is a sinfull, cruel business that would wither and die if noone bought the lie.

    July 13, 2012 at 12:15 am |
    • 3vix6

      "That is a sinfull, cruel business that would wither and die if noone bought the lie." - The same could be said of all religions.

      July 13, 2012 at 12:30 am |
    • Bob

      ma & pa, please don't teach your kids spelling and grammar like yours, and please don't pass on your reasoning skills, or rather, your lack of them, to your kids.

      The bible is a horrid book because it dictates and prescribes violence, not merely because it contains violence. Get over your sick god stories and your horrid bible, and stop being such a disgrace to humanity.

      July 13, 2012 at 12:54 am |
    • max3333555555

      the bible is a very good piece of literature and has profound impact on the world but it was composed, edited and compiled by men. the papacy exerted tremendous influence on europe for centuries. they used it to promote wars and persecute people who didnt agree with their mandates. england produced the king james and formed their own church to get out from under the thumb of the papacy (the divorce was just the last straw). even now, in modern times, people follow the bible, often with a faith based on the idea that it was divinely inspired.

      July 13, 2012 at 1:36 am |
    • Get Real

      ma & pa,

      The Bible is a book which includes some history of primitive Hebrew culture, and some bits of good advice for practical, beneficial human behavior, but mostly it is a compilation of ancient Middle Eastern historical fiction, myth, legend, superst.ition and fantasy.

      There is not a whit of verified evidence for any of the supernatural beings and events in that book.

      July 13, 2012 at 1:47 am |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      ma & pa: Talking about the Catholic cult of pedophiles? Normal po.rn that normal adults watch does not involve children, it involves consenting adults. The only po.rn that involves children are sick individuals and they exist regardless of belief or disbelief, however most are caught and prosecuted, unlike in the catholic cult where the the perps are protected and allowed to continue to harm children.

      July 13, 2012 at 4:53 am |
    • JW

      No, history is history. It's fact. The Bible is made up fairy tales. One is useful. The other is not.

      July 13, 2012 at 5:58 am |
  14. Reality

    Googling " free po-rn" – About 244,000,000 results (0.15 seconds)

    July 13, 2012 at 12:14 am |
  15. Ting

    Next they will be arguing against premarital se x in a hotel. If the couple is married then it must be procreation in the missionary position. How about we keep church in church? If we want your opinions, we will come see you.

    July 12, 2012 at 11:54 pm |
  16. saywhatyoumean@yahoo.com

    Sounds like these 2 guys are feeling a little guilty about their last few hotel stays.

    July 12, 2012 at 11:47 pm |
  17. Now in a theater near you, Throb Porkherhard stars in "Batman in Robin"!

    Why are all religions so hung up about sex? Almost every political issue religion gets involved in is about sex.

    Get over it already, and stay out of everyone else's private lives!

    The amount of time and effort religious people spend on other peoples' sex lives is just perverted.

    July 12, 2012 at 10:51 pm |
  18. Cyndi knows!

    Embrace it!

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uGT9ne_Vw6E&w=640&h=360]

    July 12, 2012 at 10:06 pm |
  19. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things says

    See prayer scientifically work with the power of god at saladandchips.com.

    July 12, 2012 at 9:57 pm |
    • Religion is the #1 problem in this world by far

      I don't always talk to myself, but when I do, I pretend that it's to god.
      Stay delusional my friends.

      July 13, 2012 at 8:45 am |
  20. Bootyfunk

    remember boys and girls - touched yourself is a NO-NO!

    July 12, 2012 at 9:52 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.