July 19th, 2012
07:55 AM ET

Zimmerman: Shooting 'God's plan'

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

(CNN) -  It was "God's plan" that brought together George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin in a fatal confrontation in February, Zimmerman told Fox News host Sean Hannity Wednesday in his first television interview.

Zimmerman, 28, has been charged with second-degree murder for shooting Martin in what he says was self-defense. Martin was unarmed when he was killed while walking back to his father's girlfriend's house in a gated residential area of Sanford, Florida.  Zimmerman has pleaded not guilty and has been free on $1 million bail since early July.

Zimmerman, who said he routinely carried a gun except when he was at work, told Hannity he didn't regret deciding to follow Martin that night, after deciding the teen was acting suspiciously, and he didn't regret having a gun.

"Do you feel you wouldn't be here for this interview if you didn't have that gun?" Hannity asked.

"No, sir," Zimmerman responded.

"You feel you would not be here?" Hannity pressed.

"I feel it was all God's plan and for me to second guess it or judge it..." Zimmerman said, pursing his lips and shaking his head.

The 17-year-old victim's father didn't agree with Zimmerman's claim.

"We must worship a different God because there is no way that my God would have wanted George Zimmerman to kill my teenage son," Tracy Martin said in a statement after Zimmerman's interview was broadcast.

CNN's Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the big stories

There's an old joke about a Christian who falls down a flight of stairs and then says, "Thank God that's over."  For some Christians, there is a belief that God is in control of everything in their lives, good and bad, from finding a parking space close to the grocery store to the death of a loved one.

When things go horribly awry, it's not uncommon for people to look to God as the one who drew up the plan, says David M. Carr, professor of Old Testament at Union Theological Seminary.

“What's particularly striking to me in this instance,” Carr told CNN, was that “George Zimmerman is attributing something he did to God’s plan.”

“It's one thing to attribute a natural disaster to God’s plan to try and make sense of the world,” he said. “It’s another thing to justify something you did as God’s plan. That’s taking it to another level.”

“That lets you off the hook, but I think it can look to other people as a pretty transparent attempt at self-justification,” Carr added.

Carr is an expert on the Hebrew Bible, which Christians call the Old Testament.

“One thing that strikes me about many of the narratives in the Old Testament is there are so many places where characters think they know what God is up to, but we know because of the narrator in the story, they’re wrong.”

“So the Bible speaks to the human misperception of what God is doing.”

Zimmerman and his family were longtime members at the All Saints Catholic Church in Manassas, Virginia.

"George grew up in Manassas and was active in the church during his youth as an altar server and evening receptionist in the office," Pastor Bob Cilinski of All Saints told CNN in March. "The Zimmerman family were known and respected in the community for their dedication and service."

Despite his Catholic upbringing, some say that that on this point of theology, Zimmerman may be out of step with Catholic teaching.

“God didn’t make us robots, he didn’t make us puppets,” said Father Tom Reese, a senior fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center at Georgetown University.

“A key part of God’s plan is giving us freedom to make decisions.  Sometimes those decisions are good and sometimes those decisions are bad," Reese said, explaining the Catholic teaching on the concept of free will.

"Obviously, not everything we do is part of God’s plan.  Because sometimes we sin and that certainly is not part of God’s plan.  It’s contrary to what God wants."

Reese said Zimmerman's sentiment is not an uncommon one among Christians.  But the idea of a God who controls everything down to the last detail strikes Reese as an idea closer to Greek mythology than the God described in the Bible.

"It’s based on this idea of an absolute powerful God who always gets what he wants.  When we read the Scriptures, we find out God doesn’t always get what he wants.  He’s disappointed and upset when things go wrong,” he said.

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“I think there’s an important insight that these people have, that is when things do go bad, when they go contrary to God’s plan, he can still make good things happen as a result," Reese said.

“When these terrible things happen, God can inspire people to respond to them with courage and compassion so that something positive can come out of something very negative," he added.  "But it wasn’t part of God’s plan that this guy got killed.  We can’t excuse what we do by saying that’s God’s plan.”

Both Carr and Reese were careful to say they were not commenting on the legal aspects of the case and noted that Zimmerman's guilt or innocence should be left up to the courts.

One thing Reese said Zimmerman did get right in the interview was apologizing and praying for the Martin family.

"I'm sorry they had to bury their child," Zimmerman told Hannity.  "I pray for them daily."

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Catholic Church • Christianity

soundoff (1,528 Responses)
  1. yeppers

    The remainder remains.

    July 19, 2012 at 12:06 pm |
  2. Auschwitz was God's plan too

    While you might think that things like "turn the other cheek" and "do unto others" and "thou shalt not kill" and "vengeance is mine" and "let he who is without sin" would apply, the other totally-not-a-contradiction behavior of God and his followers in the Bible applies here.

    Based on how God handled things in Noah's time, and in Sodom and Gomorrah, and with Job, and God's old rules, and all of God's slaughters in the Old Testament, and his hatred of gays (and just about every other group that doesn't kiss his butt), and what he plans to do at the end, Zimmerman was acting in a VERY Godly manner.

    July 19, 2012 at 11:55 am |
    • T-Max73

      Objectively, and on Biblical evidence, how can anyone say he is wrong?

      July 19, 2012 at 9:09 pm |
  3. Hypatia

    What a sick, disturbed thing to say! Not only does that creature need to be in jail, he needs to be shot up with thorazine.

    July 19, 2012 at 11:51 am |
    • zometimer

      YOU are the one who needs your medication. Grow up and get some professional help. BTW prayer is fail.

      July 19, 2012 at 6:49 pm |

      Try running down and tackling a guy on the sidewalk for no reason then see what happens. No one saw Zimmerman being attacked and since Trayvon can't speak from the grave, Zimmerman is full of sh1t.

      George Zimmerman was not only capable of racial profiling, he engaged in it with members of his own ethnicity.

      The only one with a police record of assaulting people including women and police officers was Zimmerman.

      It's hard to claim treyvon was a thug when there's no record of thug
      activity. Whereas there is plenty of thug activity on zimmerman's

      July 19, 2012 at 6:58 pm |
  4. Bang! Bang! Jesus loves you!

    Classic Christian. "God wanted me to kill the ni – , uh, scary-looking black kid." "I pray for his family every day."

    God wanted him to be the neighborhood vigilante, disobey police instructions, provoke a conflict, and kill him for wanling through the neighborhood.

    And dumb-ass Christians will buy it because he said the code-words "pray" and "God".

    July 19, 2012 at 11:45 am |
    • Leo

      Christians aren't going to buy into any of his comments, but the anti-christians love this kind of stuff.

      Why do you think CNN put this on the board?

      July 19, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
    • Cindy

      Zimmerman is no Christian.

      July 19, 2012 at 7:23 pm |
  5. bhigh

    Can't Zimmerman just GO AWAY and hide and stfu until the trial? I am so sick of seeing his ugly face and hearing his ugly voice and having his ugly self shoved in my face in every news story.

    July 19, 2012 at 11:35 am |
    • rAmen

      unfortunately, no. old white racist faux news viewers need to see their hero, the one who kills minority kids wearing deadly grey hoodies

      July 19, 2012 at 12:06 pm |
    • Mass Debater

      I don't think most right wing republican faux news fans want to kill minority's wearing hoodies, they just don't want to let them vote, so whether it's gunning them down or the new voter ID laws, the end justifies the means...

      July 19, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
    • imABeliever

      you're evidently deluded

      July 19, 2012 at 6:01 pm |
  6. Madtown

    Zimmerman: Shooting 'God's plan'
    Of course he goes this way. This would absolve him of responsibility.

    July 19, 2012 at 11:32 am |
  7. HotAirAce

    Of course, there is a major flaw in Zimmer's claim – believers have yet to prove there is a god.

    July 19, 2012 at 11:23 am |
  8. sdg66

    Looks like it is also God's plan for this mentally deranged fellow to be convicted of murder.

    July 19, 2012 at 11:18 am |
  9. tallulah13

    Zimmerman is a delusional bully who went looking for trouble then panicked when he found it.

    July 19, 2012 at 11:05 am |
  10. K-switch

    This is actually a poor stragedy. He is already seen as thinking himself above the law. This would just reinforce that.

    July 19, 2012 at 11:03 am |
  11. ME II

    Sensationalist headlines, I think.
    Zim is unrepentant, in the sense that he doesn't think he did anything wrong, true, but the "God's plan" seems to refer to everything, not just him shooting Martin. Just like when people say, "God's will be done" when bad things happen.

    p.s. I have no clue whether Zim is guilty or not, I wasn't there.

    July 19, 2012 at 10:07 am |
    • Paul Tayor

      He admitted killing the kid what more do you need.

      July 19, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
    • ME II

      @Paul Tayor,
      "He admitted killing the kid what more do you need."
      I do not know if he is guilty of the second degree murder charge that he is accused of.

      July 19, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
  12. what's a brony?

    Watch the atheists believe this crap.

    July 19, 2012 at 10:03 am |
    • Who invited me?

      right out of the gate with an attack...go out and play....you've had too much screen time little one.

      July 19, 2012 at 10:05 am |
    • what's a brony?

      So atheists won't believe that he literally was killing for in the name of "his god"?

      Delusional fearful atheists fear the truth.

      July 19, 2012 at 10:07 am |
    • ME II

      Why would Atheists believe he was acting according to God's plan when Atheist don't believe in God?
      How does that make sense?

      July 19, 2012 at 10:09 am |
    • what's a brony?

      Oh no they believe the lies.They believe he kills in the name of "his god" because he says so.

      He says so thus they believe it.If they do atheists are brainwashed.

      July 19, 2012 at 10:11 am |
    • Boris

      Sorry, atheists by default are not prone to believe silly things, this is to get the Xians on his side

      July 19, 2012 at 10:12 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      L/Clown, what is your major maladjustment?

      July 19, 2012 at 10:13 am |
    • what's a brony?

      Ha! I've seen so many comments from atheists already proving my statement correct.

      Why do atheists also believe they are on some "mission" to kill for " their god"?

      July 19, 2012 at 10:14 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Sure, sure, L. You really shouldn't be smoking doobies this early in the day.

      July 19, 2012 at 10:16 am |
    • Who invited me?

      bron/trolldoll/ fake HS and man of a thousand stolen names
      It amazes me how many people take your bait everyday.
      You'd think they'd learn...
      Time for your ritalin by the way.

      July 19, 2012 at 10:17 am |
    • what's a brony?

      That's why atheists attack religion.You seriously will believe his lies because he says so!

      He says so=you'll believe he is.

      July 19, 2012 at 10:17 am |
    • ME II

      "Why do atheists also believe they are on some 'mission' to kill for ' their god'?"

      What are you talking about? What Atheist has ever claimed to be on a mission from god to kill? That's ridiculous?

      ...perhaps I have fallen for a Poe

      July 19, 2012 at 10:18 am |
    • what's a brony?

      Not atheistsPeople like zimmerman who state "God told me to do it" to escape admitting they did it? Atheists believe that lie.That's what I'm talking about.

      July 19, 2012 at 10:22 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      So you think everyone else is dumber than you are, Clown?


      July 19, 2012 at 10:25 am |
    • what's a brony?

      No.If atheists are logical enough,they would know he's lying to save his own skin but that won't hold up in court.Unless he says he's insane.

      God states he cannot tempt a soul into do any evil thing.So if atheists know Christianity as much as Christians do you skipped over that part.

      "God told me to do it"...Atheists believe because of the belief.Bull.So much for logic and reason.

      July 19, 2012 at 10:31 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Which 'atheists'? All of them? Two of them? Can you cite their posts?

      Do you get this exercised about every issue, Clown?

      July 19, 2012 at 10:33 am |
    • what's a brony?

      Many actually do.They assume its all because of "religion"..just because some idiot tells the world "God told me to do it".

      Most atheists are beyond brainwashed its not even funny.

      July 19, 2012 at 10:40 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I don't see any posters named "many".

      I do see that you can't back up your own claims, however.

      July 19, 2012 at 10:47 am |
    • what's a brony?

      I could be like many atheists and say "all" just like they do to Christians.

      Many is not all loser.

      July 19, 2012 at 10:49 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Gee, what a revelation. "Many is not all."

      Then you should be able to name some of them and point out their posts. Can you? Or are you just going to keep farting?

      July 19, 2012 at 10:51 am |
    • what's a brony?

      Nah.I'm not gonna play this game with you.

      Shove it loser.

      July 19, 2012 at 10:53 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Ah, so you're just farting. Try Beano, L.

      July 19, 2012 at 10:54 am |
    • what's a brony?

      Perfect example:Promewonk's post.

      July 19, 2012 at 11:00 am |
    • K-switch

      "Watch the atheists believe this crap." By omition of "many" in this post you insinuate "all". Atleast you realized you were wrong and changed your behavior. Good job.

      July 19, 2012 at 11:01 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Ah, so you found one. Hmm. Is that what you call "many"?

      Do you really think Prime believes that Zimmerman is telling the truth?

      I know it's difficult for you to imagine, but there are a number of folks here who are smarter than you are, and Prime is one of them. Of course, rocks are smarter, too, but they don't post here.

      July 19, 2012 at 11:02 am |
    • tallulah13

      Brony's an obvious troll. Ignore him. Maybe he'll go away.

      July 19, 2012 at 11:06 am |
    • what's a brony?

      Logic and reason are delusions to make yourself feel better and boast to people about it.

      You aren't smart.Just children.

      July 19, 2012 at 11:06 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I win.

      July 19, 2012 at 11:06 am |
    • what's a brony?

      See you act like a child.

      July 19, 2012 at 11:07 am |
    • Charlie Sheen


      July 19, 2012 at 11:10 am |
    • just sayin


      Brony's an obvious troll. Ignore him. Maybe he'll go away.

      I already do. He is dull and not even witty. Quite boring.

      July 19, 2012 at 11:10 am |
    • ME II

      "God states he cannot tempt a soul into do any evil thing.So if atheists know Christianity as much as Christians do you skipped over that part."
      But if God is good, as I've heard more than once, wouldn't any action dictated by God be good by definition? If such an action is perceived by mere mortals as bad, but dictated by God, then isn't that a failing of the mortal not God.

      In other words, if we can judge a person's honesty in being directed by God, by the goodness of their actions, then we should also be able to judge the goodness of all actions, including those performed by God, i.e. goodness is independent of God.

      July 19, 2012 at 11:11 am |
    • what's a brony?

      hehehehe Imma troll 😉

      July 19, 2012 at 11:22 am |
    • name

      wut m8? theres always some idiot who doesn't know what he's talking about.

      July 19, 2012 at 11:37 am |
    • Shadowflash1522

      No, clearly he was metaphorically killing for his real god. Or was it real killing on behalf of a metaphorical god?

      Chill out, guys, it's clearly all a metaphor.

      July 19, 2012 at 11:47 am |
    • T-Max73

      Actually, most non-supernaturalists (you call them atheists) require evidence to support their beliefs. This is why they don't take the word of unknown ancient screeds when they are told that virgins can conceive and that dead men can rise after a few days. Can you appreciate the difference in cognitive ability between these disparate camps?

      July 19, 2012 at 6:08 pm |
  13. howart Dao

    Zimm was correct: it is the dark god's plan !!!

    July 19, 2012 at 9:57 am |
  14. AverageJoe76

    To say 'it was God's plan' assumes you know God's plans. I wasn't aware that there are beings amongst us that hold this type of information? I am impressed.......

    Or..... he doesn't know ish. And should just keep it at: "I really, reeeeeally eff'd up".

    July 19, 2012 at 9:22 am |
  15. Who invited me?

    The god who allegedly said "thou shalt not kill" had a plan for this guy to kill
    Logic fail

    July 19, 2012 at 8:39 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Reads as if Zimmerman is a sleeper cell for the atheists to stir up chaos in this country.

      July 19, 2012 at 9:12 am |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      HS: Zimmerman's actions should upset anyone...not just the non-believers. The fact that he uses the 'god made me do it' crap that won't hold up in court speaks little for him.

      July 19, 2012 at 9:15 am |
    • WASP

      @who: the funny thing about the whole "thou shall not kill" thing is......................(drum roll please)
      god never had a problem killing off whole populations.

      July 19, 2012 at 9:16 am |
    • HeavenSent

      WASP, that people is just like you. That is why you complain about certain scriptures.

      July 19, 2012 at 9:47 am |
    • WASP

      @HS: how am i complaining about "certain scripture" when i'm merely quoting what scripture you mentioned? i'm saying god said "thou shall not kill" but then turns around and kills and orders the killing of billions throughout history? wouldn't that be hypocritical if anyone else said such a thing? if i told you not to go to church but i went to church you would call me every name under the sun, yet it's ok for your imaginary friend? lmao you folks can't even see the forest for the trees.

      July 19, 2012 at 10:06 am |
    • Shadowflash1522

      "Sleeper cell for atheists"? Oh, for the love of the various god-things, that's rich.

      HS, I'd like you to meet my friend Occam. He makes very excellent razors.

      July 19, 2012 at 11:51 am |
  16. jbiggs

    Zimmerman is innocent. trial here is over. Deal with it people.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:32 am |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      You're delusional. The kid was doing nothing wrong when Zimmerman approached him. The kid was unarmed. Zimmerman was armed. Zimmerman was bigger than the kid and instead of handling the situation like a man, he took it upon himself to kill an innocent human....I don't care if the kid did attack him, Zimmerman started this the second he followed that boy without just cause. You'd be saying different if Zimmerman had done this to your child but I'm guessing you're not a parent to imagine how you'd feel in this situation..

      July 19, 2012 at 9:02 am |
    • AverageJoe76

      You probably feel the same way about O.J.

      July 19, 2012 at 9:24 am |
    • ME II

      Umm... what trial?
      Zim is out on bond, not acquired. The trial has not occurred yet.

      July 19, 2012 at 10:03 am |
    • ME II

      "acquired" should be "acquitted"

      July 19, 2012 at 10:10 am |
    • sam stone

      Trial is over?

      July 19, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
    • T-Max73

      Zimmerman is/was a victim in this tragedy. The REAL tragedy is that an innocent person is being vilified because he had to save his own life from a common street thug.

      July 19, 2012 at 6:10 pm |
  17. deano

    Insanity defense,maybe? Methinks this zero-hero is beginning to realize his goose is cooked, and is resorting to anything that may sway a jury to believe he is not all there. God would not direct someone to shoot a teenager just because he is wearing a hoodie. Jesus wore a hoodie......

    July 19, 2012 at 8:25 am |
    • AGuest9

      Yep, all the religious nut are, well...

      July 19, 2012 at 8:27 am |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      I'd like to see Zimmerman use the 'god made me do it' defense in court...nothing quite like watching religion fail once again and proving the delusions it creates.

      July 19, 2012 at 9:04 am |
    • sam stone

      perhaps he will recognize "god's plan" and eat the end of a 9mm

      July 19, 2012 at 1:27 pm |
  18. Colin

    I am yet to hear a person claim they went off script in this eternal, divine pantomime that is apparently all orchestrated by some hokey Bronze Age sky-god. I suspect Travon Martin's family may have a different perspective.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:09 am |
    • ME II

      You mean something like, "God wanted me to kill this guy, but I screwed up and saved his life?" or "God wanted me to save this guy, but I couldn't stand him, so I kill him anyway?"

      Funny that never happens, isn't it.

      July 19, 2012 at 10:14 am |
  19. I once was lost, but now I have a GPS

    Well of course it is. Everything is part of God's plan. Children starving to death, dying of cancer. It's all part of his plan. If Zimmerman spends the rest of his life in prison, that would be God's plan as well.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:09 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Those that steal money from donations that don't make it to the starving children, afflicted countries devastated by disasters, big egos that block AIDS research and a host of other horrors will pay for the evil they did in this life.

      July 19, 2012 at 9:16 am |
    • derp

      "big egos that block AIDS research"

      Christian groups who oppose the distribution of condoms will burn in hell too right?

      July 19, 2012 at 9:20 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Or the big Christian egos that block stem cell research?

      July 19, 2012 at 9:27 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Doc, why not allow the injured person that had his/her spin destroyed go through their spiritual path?

      July 19, 2012 at 9:51 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Then I hope you don't hinder your spiritual path by muddying up your ever-so pure soul with modern, western medicine.
      Perhaps your should sign with with Mary Baker Eddy's lot.

      July 19, 2012 at 9:57 am |
  20. Primewonk

    This is why religion, especially fundamentalist religion, is so dangerous.

    People use it to justify this type of crap. It's an example of what kind of sick, twisted, psychotic, schizophrenic, putz this god really is.

    July 19, 2012 at 8:03 am |
    • HeavenSent

      You atheists are the danger as you are enemies of Jesus Christ's truth to bring forth the lying babble of satan you spew. Come out of the closet, cowards.

      July 19, 2012 at 9:18 am |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      HS: You're off your meds again, aren't you?

      July 19, 2012 at 9:22 am |
    • AverageJoe76

      @HeavenSent, keep up that kind of talk and you're getting coal in your stocking this Christmas, young lady! Ok, ok.... 'enemies of Jesus....' really? Thought Jesus loved everybody? Well.... at least us meager humans.. I bet you are not the best representative for the legend of Jesus. You got the story all wrong. You know how I know? 'Cause Jesus had a way of making people listen to him, and you make people run away. So take off the 'Jesus Staff' t-shirt, because your ruining his brand. As a favor for Jesus, I mean...

      July 19, 2012 at 9:30 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Truthnot, keep you med cracks in darkness, where they belong.

      July 19, 2012 at 9:52 am |
    • HeavenSent

      AverageJoe76, it's not my problem that you're a whimp to His truth. Try opening the Bible and reading what He had scribed, instead of what you want Him to scribe. Did you ever hear of salt? Try some, it does a Christian good.

      July 19, 2012 at 9:54 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Another thing Joe average is it's not my problem that atheists want to believe satan's lies. I'm not on these articles to babysit them or you. Take your diapers to Oprah's or better yet, Jerry's.

      July 19, 2012 at 9:56 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Go feed the hungry, HS. Go visit the lonely who are languishing in nursing homes. Go take a kid in foster care for a walk.

      Or is your azz too big to squeeze out of your front door?

      July 19, 2012 at 9:57 am |
    • WASP

      @HS: let's see how much you know of your great book? let's start with the obvious stuff like female oppression, racial oppression, child oppression, prosti-tion of children, mur-der, ra-pe, destrution of whole cities ordered by god, the plaques contributed to god, the very first chapter his so many discrepacies i'm not even going to bother listing them all, the missing time in jesus life, coming back from the dead, quotes like " and believers shall be able to heal the sick" let's see you heal someone by putting your hands on them or are you that conceded to let children, women and other "god-fearing chirstians" die without lifting a finger? there are so many holes in your "holy book" it's not even funny. you can't even read the thing like a normal book because it doesn't make sence.

      July 19, 2012 at 10:01 am |
    • AverageJoe76

      @HeavenSent, I read approx. 70% of the Bible. There's something for everyone in there; drama, comedy, romance, and horror. Nothing for the kiddies though, unless you mean to squish their lil' minds into pooh. And again, "you are not a good representative of Jesus". People like you, 'holy-traffic-cops', have turned more people away from religion than actually reading the Bible and making your own choice about it. Who wants to spend 3hrs in church with people like you?

      July 19, 2012 at 11:31 am |
    • sam stone

      HS is a diseased gash

      July 19, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
    • sam stone

      As far as cowards, get back on your knees and open your mouth for the second coming of jesus

      July 19, 2012 at 1:30 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.