My Take: Hard truths matter; I’m Mormon, and I’m voting for Obama
October 18th, 2012
07:37 AM ET

My Take: Hard truths matter; I’m Mormon, and I’m voting for Obama

Editor's Note: Joanna Brooks is a senior correspondent for ReligionDispatches.org and author of "The Book of Mormon Girl: A Memoir of an American Faith."

By Joanna Brooks, Special to CNN

(CNN)–There are two moments and two moments only that made my soul sit upright during Tuesday night’s presidential debate:

President Obama, speaking about the loss of manufacturing jobs to low-wage economies like China: “There are some jobs that are not coming back.”

Obama, speaking about four lives lost in the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya: “I am the one who has to meet those coffins when they come home.”

Morbid? Not at all. I’m just a believer in the gospel of hard truths.

And as I am the mother of two school-age children, a teacher at an underfunded public university and a progressive Mormon, hard truths about the challenges our nation faces are all that makes sense to me.

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As a mother, I am acutely aware that right now, our nation invests a smaller and smaller share of its resources in our children, the generation that will assume the debts my generation and our parents’ generation have incurred.

As an educator, I have witnessed firsthand how failure to generate responsible levels of public revenue has significantly compromised generations’ worth of investment in our public schools and universities.

And as a Mormon, I grew up with a healthy sense of respect for worst-case scenarios. I was raised, after all, with a religious aversion to debt and a year’s supply of canned wheat, beans and powdered milk in the garage, as instructed by LDS Church leaders. The Mormon food storage tradition isn’t about end-times-paranoia: It’s a lesson passed down from our pioneer ancestors, who knew the importance of being prepared for difficult seasons so you can do right by your family and community.

Profile of Brooks: Crossing the plains and kicking up dirt, a new Mormon pioneer

This nation is in a difficult season, and I listened carefully Tuesday night for a proper sense of respect for worst-case scenarios. What I heard instead were the usual rhetorical swerves.

Mitt Romney offered personal anecdotes about “binders full of women” that have nothing to do with economic security for American families. He promised allegedly revenue-neutral $5 trillion tax cuts but refused to provide solid details on how he’d balance the books. And he made throwaway references to all people being the “children of the same God” without substantial reflection on how that should translate in terms of budget and policy.

What I really wanted from the debate was more of the hard truths that Obama seemed to be on the verge of saying:

“This recession is fundamentally different than other recessions, and there are no short-term fixes.”

“Our old strategies for managing Middle Eastern conflict through military intervention or propped-up dictators don’t work. And there is no easy way forward.”

“The only thing the $3 trillion Iraq war produced for the United States was a mountain of debt and a legion of disabled Americans.”

“We need to have a serious discussion about Social Security.”

“Debts don’t get paid down without adjustments in revenues.”

These are the kind of hard truths that speak to the same part of me that took notice when Obama at his inauguration quoted the Scripture: “It is time to put away childish things” (1 Corinthians 13: 11).

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And given the challenges we face in bringing down deficits while investing sensibly in the nation’s future, here are some other Scriptures I’d like to hear:

“Turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come to smite the earth with a curse” (Malachi 4: 6).

“Set your house in order, for you shall die” (2 Kings 20: 1)

Morbid? Not at all. But I do feel a sense of responsibility for keeping an eye on the worst-case scenarios. And a few months’ worth of rice and beans in the garage, like Mormon leaders teach me. And an ear out for the gospel of hard truths.

I have seen Obama work steadily, patiently through a difficult season. I have seen him face some hard truths and accept that there are no easy fixes. And I will vote to give him a second term.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Joanna Brooks.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: 2012 Election • Barack Obama • Mitt Romney • Politics

soundoff (2,087 Responses)
  1. ph4ster

    Please. define "progressive mormon"??

    October 18, 2012 at 10:35 am |
    • Debej

      a person that was born a mormon but doesn't follow it's teachings

      October 18, 2012 at 10:48 am |
    • James Thompson

      Someone enlightened enough to realize that Christ was a progressive. Someone who does not blindly follow a party because they claim to represent your values. In fact I am surprised more Mormons are not progressives. The church teaches us to get as much education as possible, it teaches us to work hard and help each other, it teaches us to respect people of all faiths and ethnicity, it teaches us to respect the earth.... PROGRESSIVE! So I would say she is adhering to her religion very well.

      October 18, 2012 at 12:34 pm |
    • some chick

      James Thompson, you nailed it.
      As a life long Morman, I am a progressive. My Father has been a Morman Bishop 2 times as have 2 of my brothers.
      Our big Morman family voted for Obama last time and the majority of us are voting for Obama this time. Just because you
      call your self a Morman does not make you honest, caring, kind , forgiving or any of the other attributes of our Saviour.
      I wish it did.

      October 18, 2012 at 7:42 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You're a "mormon" and can't even spell the word? Yeah, I don't think so.

      October 18, 2012 at 7:44 pm |
  2. danny

    Honest article. I am a Canadian and pro Obama. In Canada, we are also faced with the same challenges albeit to a less extreme degree. We have to face some harsh realities and stop looking for easy way outs. We have to lay the foundation for kids's futures and stop being so averse to pain and sacrifice.

    October 18, 2012 at 10:35 am |
    • mama k

      As a citizen of the U.S., I agree completely with your point of view. I know none of these politicians are far from perfect, but the general population needs to wake up and face reality. I know times are rough for many, but with a population as large as it is, it is no longer possible to expect quick changes or results. And then when you are presented with a terrible set of circumstances left by your predecessor and then have a congress that won't budge for no other reason that they don't like you, then why would someone expect any kind of quick change? I think with the population size as it is, and if they are going to continue to spend so much time and money on these elections, then they ought to consider extending the presidency to six years. For 314,000,000 people it's silly to keep treating that office like it's the most sought-after temp position on the planet.

      October 18, 2012 at 10:50 am |
    • IDSpud

      Mama K. If one were to be intellectually honest, they would see that there is plenty of blame to go around for both parties regarding who left this country in dire straights. It is really not just the current Republican House. Actually the current House has sent up a budget and many laws to address the pressing issues, but the Senate won't even bring them up for debate. Of course you don't hear that in the mainstream news. Obama had both the Senate and House in his back pocket for 2 years but didn't do much but ramrod a thousand page health care law down everyone's throats, and the House leader at the time (as well as most politicians) didn't even read/study the whole law before passing it by the narrowest of margins! So, continue to blame the previous administration for our ills, however far back you can blame Republicans, but doing so won't make it true that they alone are to blame.

      October 18, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
  3. d

    PATRIOT ACT...... obama can detain any AMERICAN indefinately and without charge. charge his a$$ with treason.

    October 18, 2012 at 10:33 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      And the Patriot Act was enacted by which President?
      America traded privacy for the illusion of security a decade ago.

      October 18, 2012 at 10:41 am |
    • 0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls

      What's his treasonous offense – being non lily-white pure?

      October 18, 2012 at 10:54 am |
    • jordans

      Bush created patriot act, charge his as– with treason.

      October 18, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
  4. saywhat?!

    Well it is because of this scripture “Set your house in order, for you shall die” (2 Kings 20: 1) that I'm voting ROMNEY! We are going to die and live a mess for our children, grandchildren, I guess this author has no problem with another 4 years of adding a trillion a year to the debt. Plus she says she didn't hear Romney's budget and policy this debate was mostly about Romney's budget and policy. So much that in the ehnd more than half of the people watching thought that Romney had a better plan for America's economy. Now I ask you...where's Obama's Budget? It's been FOUR YEARS!!!!! His policies? NOT WORKING clearly! This is just a Mormon that will vote her party no matter what....she hears what she wants to hear...like most democrats and republicans. This Election is not about the party...or at least it shouldn't be. It should be about the man that can do better for our country...Obama is NOT that guy.

    October 18, 2012 at 10:33 am |
    • MattBMO

      Nobody has heard Romney's budget, other than broad outlines. He refuses to tell us. He just says, "Trust me – you'll find out what it is after I'm elected." To me, that makes it seem that he thinks we won't like it. Otherwise, he would just give us the details now.

      October 18, 2012 at 10:45 am |
    • Debej

      MattBMO ~ I am pretty sure that is exactly what Obama has been doing for the last 4 years!

      October 18, 2012 at 10:50 am |
    • tolajn

      Romney should get his house in order by coming clean with all of his tax returns. Earning 20 million dollars a year in investment income does not resonate with 99% of this country and that he chooses to ignore the 47% who he says will not vote for him anyway because they are victims is about as callous as I have heard. Getting one'e house in order does not neglect those hurting without safety nets. Romney's aggressive business tactics are not the salvation of this country, nor is Obama's diplomacy and yet conservatives always cry victim to religious freedoms being stripped of them, lame stream media always leans left and bias is never from the Romney camp. Frankly, I am intellectually offended at the lack of transparency the Romney camp exercises. Catchy phrases are the only thing I hear from his campaign, withhout any solid retorts on how he is going to change our course. It is as if he is pandering to the lowest denominator of telling the truth to tickle the ears of those who just want to see someone new in office. Romney is no savior and his country club living and over-the-top boarding school education puts him so far out of the realm of ever being able to identify with a majority of Americans! Because you are aggressive in business does not mean you know how to run a country and it is so much more than one liners that make a difference once you are in office.

      October 18, 2012 at 10:51 am |
    • Chrisvt

      They are not working is an opinion while the facts dispute this characterization. Romney's main defense is that we arent going fast enough. If you think that is the case then vote for him but to say President Obama has failed is patently false. Since he took office he has pulled out us out of a tailspin even while dealing with a European debt crisis and a Congress that refused to do anything that might help him. Unemployment is at lowest level in 4 years, wages rose in the last 12 months by the largest amount – 3% – in the last 5, Manufacturing is way up, save the auto industry, created a Clean Energy economy that is growing faster than any other sector, Housing starts are at a 4 year high, foreclosures are at a 4 year low, retail sales are up again. And like the author mentioned far fewer of our soldiers are dying. Stop listening to the GOP spin.

      October 18, 2012 at 11:34 am |
  5. Eddy

    Well, isn't it beautiful that we as Mormons, are never pushed to favor one person or the other? It's that freedom of thinking and how we live our lives that makes us a bit peculiar. But when I read this article, I couldn't help to think that this lady must have been living under a rock to not have figured out that under Obama we've been lied to over and over again. Hard truth? really? where have you been for the last 4 years lady?. I'm a Mormon, I'm an immigrant, and I'm Latino, and I can see the blatant disregard for the law, and common courtesy to the American people by this administration. NO WAY am I voting for a liar and an inept person like Obama.

    October 18, 2012 at 10:32 am |
    • PhinHead

      I am Catholic, immigrant and Latino, and NO WAY am I voting for someone who can't put his financial cards on the table. Show me your taxes MItt. I will bet my vote: If you show me your taxes, whatever they were for the past 8 years, I will give you my vote for being honest and transparent. The fact is he won't and I won't vote for a person who can't show his cards. I tired of seeing a pompous, privileged, ruthless venture capitalist, with NO details, NO financial history, NO respect for those currently suffering, and who falls in line with the "Privatize EVERYTHING" mentality of an entire nation, telling me he knows what is best for all of us 99%-ers. Furthermore, ObamaCare is modeled after GOP Mitt's implementation of an idea from the Heritage Foundation, a Conservative think tank, yet because Obama implemented it, it suddenly is the worst thing in the world. Stop listening to Faux News. Our economy is the FASTEST recovering economy in the western world. I want slow and steady when it comes to economic growth, if you want a fast growing financial situation, sell your cow for some magic beans (or underwear, whatever floats your boat)

      October 18, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
    • jordans

      Yes then Romney should be a good fit, he lies about even the little things, he did not seek out women empolyese in Mass, this was done before he was electedm by a third party preparing the info for whover might win. He made up a 2 minute story in front of the whole country, a nice ad lib. He claimed he was a gun owner and hunter, then had to admit it was his sons gun and he might have used it to shoot a varmit. Claims to be a job creator, had the top 3 worst record in the US under his Governership. Claims he cares about 100 percent after we all heard his very elaborate and clear thought proccess about 47%. This man will say whatever comes to his lips at any moment and another an hour later.

      October 18, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
  6. ga.democrat

    Hard truths do matter. Unfortunately, for Romney, the word "truth" is not in his play book.

    October 18, 2012 at 10:31 am |
    • Paul

      Neither is "hard"

      October 18, 2012 at 10:43 am |
    • Bob Jones

      At least he has that in common with Obama.

      October 18, 2012 at 7:44 pm |
  7. Dave

    Why doesn't CNN ever let a real Mormon express their view, give me an article.

    October 18, 2012 at 10:31 am |
    • Huebert

      What distinguishes a "real Mormon" from other Mormons?

      October 18, 2012 at 10:33 am |
    • John

      A "real" mormon. What the hell is that???? After seeing your post I can confirm that they let real morons express their opinion though

      October 18, 2012 at 10:33 am |
    • Pete

      If you are Mormon and Dave agrees with you 100% then you are a "Real Mormon" otherwise, take a hike.

      October 18, 2012 at 10:34 am |
    • saywhat?!

      Huebert You know...the kind that actually follows and beliefs on their religion...not just make claims. CNN is desperatly trying to see if they can, with articles such as this, grad a few Mormon voters. Not happenning.

      October 18, 2012 at 10:39 am |
    • Boytjie

      "real Mormons"... "real Americans"... "real Christians"...

      Who are really dividing this country?

      October 18, 2012 at 12:12 pm |
  8. Shoe

    If jobs are in fact the focus of this election then Romney is the man to elect. To my knowledge the current President has never started, managed or ran a business and therefore is not qualified to claim he is.

    October 18, 2012 at 10:29 am |
    • John

      Romney when he as Governor of Massachusetts was 47th in job creation. Romney is a job destroyer. When he ran Bain Capital. He fired people and sent their jobs to China. Romney is all about profit and does not care about the American worker.

      October 18, 2012 at 10:33 am |
    • Brandon

      Ridiculous. Romney is one of the contributors to the overall problem, in that his history is rife with sending jobs to low-wage economies to affect the bottom line of his business. How ANYONE can use that history as proof that he's a job creator is beyond me, apparently.....

      October 18, 2012 at 10:35 am |
    • Seth Hill

      Correct: Ex-Gov. Romney is a businessman, so he knows how to manage income, expenses, debt, profit/loss, etc. Like any good businessman, if employees don't produce, he fires them. So, as President, if some American citizens don't carry their weight, he will fire them!

      October 18, 2012 at 10:40 am |
    • tolajn

      The fact that Romney has run a company is even more reason why he should come clean with all of his tax returns, and explicitly lay out his road to recovery instead of those all too familiar sound bites that tickle the ears of those who just think if we get somone new in office it will fix everything. Americans are impatient by nature and our problems will not be solved just because a politician who only paid 14% of his 20 MILLION dollars in income last year says he can turn things around. Obama is a diplomat and not one to write off 47% of our nation jus because he can't relate to that sector of our society. If you made millions last go ahead and vote for Romeny. If you are middle class I would encourage you to think long and hard about voting in a Country Club president who will pander to the elites of this nation and allow the rest to fin for themselves.

      October 18, 2012 at 10:41 am |
    • TheHonestDave

      George W. Bush was a businessman.

      You were saying?

      October 18, 2012 at 10:47 am |
    • 0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls

      Romney never ran a business with the goal of creating jobs! He ran businesses to make money and the only jobs his companies had were the ones needed to make money. He has more experience at reducing the number of jobs, to keep expenses down, than he does at creating jobs so that everyone has one. Again, no business has a goal to increase the number of workers – they have goals to make a profit delivering products and/or services, and jobs are an expense item to be minimized. Romney better represents the large companies, such as IBM, hp and Apple, who purchase labour at the lowest overall cost, regardless of where that may be. These sorts of companies will never create jobs in the USA unless it contributes to their profitability. They do not have any moral obligations to do otherwise!

      October 18, 2012 at 11:06 am |
  9. NativeBornUSA

    They could of done an article on a Satan worshipper or coven of them and found more of them voting for Obama WGAF?

    October 18, 2012 at 10:29 am |
  10. Marshall

    Thank you for your comments Joanna. People who do not believe in progressive religion are doomed to making the same mistakes over and over. I believe that an eternal God is much wiser than the old stick in the mud ideas we have associated with him in the past. He allows us to reform our ideas as we grow. We must evolve. We must progress. And we must appreiate the fact that Jesus said we would be guided by the Holy Spirit. So we have help in keeping us from going off the deep end. But if you rely solely on your interpretation of the Bible you will be forever doomed to stagnant beliefs. God is eternal. He wants us to grow and evolve. Why do you think we are still around?

    October 18, 2012 at 10:28 am |
  11. Dave

    Nearly $6 trillion in debt added by Obama and this person is worried about "Binders full of women"?

    October 18, 2012 at 10:25 am |
    • sam stone

      yeah, and "two war shrub' had nothing to do with it, right?

      October 18, 2012 at 10:30 am |
    • keystroke

      Yeah, we've been paying off George Bush's credit card that paid for unfunded tax cuts and two ill-begotten wars plus stimulus packages that were conceived of on his watch...

      October 18, 2012 at 10:32 am |
    • Orwell prefers Guyana punch

      Actually I am more concerned about having a Bishop as POTUS.
      That has been a deal breaker for me.
      But if we are going to be off in unchartered waters, how about Tom Cruise and Scientology ?
      He is a successful business man. But the Bishop is a successful corporate liquidator. There has to be some plutocrats that will buy Yellowstone and pay off debt and more tax breaks for the rich.

      October 18, 2012 at 10:40 am |
    • TheHonestDave

      @Dave: It's a mathematical fact that most of the $6 trillion in debt increase under Obama is due to:
      1. Great Recession of 2007-2009 (loss of tax revenue to government, automatic increases in safety net spending)
      2. Bush tax cuts
      3. Wars

      Now, Dave, are you seriously going to sit there and blame President Obama for a massive recession that started a year before he took office? You could, but that would make you just another lying right-wing hack.

      And what about the Bush tax cuts? Would you like to pin those on the president? Sure, it's fair to point out that Obama has always wanted to extend these cuts for the bottom 98%, but you must point out at the same time that every Republican in America wants to extend them for 100%. So the 4-5 trillion in debt that these tax cuts will add over the next decade belongs to both parties.

      Did President Obama start the wars? Was it President Obama that led us to accidentally invade the wrong country after 9/11, costing 4000 soldiers their lives, countless more their health, and the taxpayers $3 trillion (ultimately)?

      You people need to get some fact-based arguments against President Obama. If all you can do is parrot right-wing lies that you heard from Rush Limbaugh you're not worth listening to for 2 seconds.

      October 18, 2012 at 10:46 am |
  12. InCo

    I'm curious where this outpouring of love and support for someone stepping out of their conmfort zone and voting against their demographic was when Stacey Dash supported Romney. Yeah, thought so,

    October 18, 2012 at 10:25 am |
    • jordans

      No one should be in lock step with party or religion, we are supposed to be individuals., and individuals get to choose.

      October 18, 2012 at 3:15 pm |
  13. Give Me A Break


    Leveraging the "binders full of women" comment just shows your partisanship. The vast majority of Mormons are going to vote for Mitt Romney because he espouses the "Mormon Values" of hard work, self-sufficiency, fiscal responsibility, strong families, strong morality, and caring for others without just giving a handout.

    I'm actually surprised to see CNN plugging you as representative of Mormon voices after reading your book, which seemed to mock much of Mormon culture (which Mormons don't mind) and even many Mormon beliefs (which they do.) Utah, a state that is about 50/50 Mormon/Non-Mormon is currently polling something like 69% for Romney to 26% for Obama. A Mormon voting for Obama is about as rare as an African-american voting for Romney. It happens, but not very often.

    October 18, 2012 at 10:25 am |
    • 1doctor

      She is not a "representative of Mormon voices"...that is the point. She voices a position that is not in alignment with the vast group of Mormons. Just like those of us who are southern, white, Christians.... who have progressive beliefs and will support Obama. I have an Obama bumper sticker on my car- I've been cursed at and shot the bird while sitting at a red light. I've had my Obama bumper sticker torn from my car- my Obama-Biden yard signs stolen. I just keep putting the stickers back on my car and the yard signs back in my yard. I am seriously considering a night vision camera to see who is stealing my signs.

      October 18, 2012 at 10:48 am |
    • Boytjie

      According to Wikipedia:
      "As of 2012, 62.2% of Utahns are counted as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, although only 41.6% of them are active members"

      October 18, 2012 at 12:15 pm |
    • Bill

      There are plenty of us. Using Utah as a representative sample of all Mormons is flawed. You could pole protestants in Montana and guess what? They would lean conservative. Just as you point out that not all Utahns are Mormons, not all Mormons are in Utah, and not all Mormons espouse the conservative traditions of Utah.

      October 24, 2012 at 6:25 pm |
  14. John

    Romney is a pharaoh. He has nothing in common with Jesus. Jesus was on the side of the poor and downtrodden. Romney has no empathy and could care less....Read the Bible.

    October 18, 2012 at 10:24 am |
    • J. Davis in Knoxville, TN

      You've got it right. Someone who focuses merely on building a fortune doesn't have much empathy for the poor in my view (e.g., the 47%), even if Romney has done some charitable things along the way. And his negative remarks against women are important because most women these days have to work just to survive, whether they are married or single. GO OBAMA–a champion of women based on his own background growing up and his inherent kindness and fairness!

      October 18, 2012 at 10:32 am |
    • Bob Jones

      You must have been absent during the debates, the RNC, and pretty much reality. It's pretty well established that Romney is a very caring person for the poor and those who need help. Do some research before you make a blind, ignorant statement based solely on fantasy-land stereotypes and pro-Obama political ads.

      October 18, 2012 at 7:50 pm |
  15. 1doctor

    Thank you, Joanna
    In the noise of hate-filled, partisan attacks by both sides, progressive people of faith like you are what will make a difference in this election. Thank you for speaking out and for giving me pause. Obama has my vote.

    October 18, 2012 at 10:24 am |
  16. Debej

    I am so confused why it matters what her religion is as to who she is voting for. I know Mormons voting for Obama and I know non-mormons voting for Romney. Religion has no place in politics I have never voted for or against someone because of their religion. People are either good or bad/ politically for what I am or against it, regardless of their religion.
    The only time I take that into consideration is like in the case of Biden where he says he believes life begins at conception but feels it's a women's right to kill that baby if they want... You either believe that or not. If you don't just say so.

    October 18, 2012 at 10:23 am |
    • John

      It is not Romney's religion. It is him the man. He does not care about the vast majority of people. He has no empathy.

      October 18, 2012 at 10:27 am |
    • John

      Because mormons voter overwelmingly for conservatives, thats why it matters.

      October 18, 2012 at 10:31 am |
  17. Binford 6100

    Romney/Ryan 2012!

    October 18, 2012 at 10:22 am |
  18. OrganicManLives_N_anOraganicUNiverSE

    What a great story and such a smart person, Joanna Brooks you are one of "the few". Bless you for speaking from your heart space, we "the few" hear you. bless you for hearing the ONLY real leader we have.

    October 18, 2012 at 10:22 am |
  19. Mark

    Amen to that sister!
    Community of Christ, Indpendence, MO

    October 18, 2012 at 10:22 am |
    • 1doctor

      Amen to both of you! Unity North, Atlanta, GA

      October 18, 2012 at 10:36 am |
  20. politics as usual

    A progressive Mormon, you say? Try writing an article without bringing your inherent bias to our attention and maybe I'll consider what you have to say.

    October 18, 2012 at 10:21 am |
    • 1doctor

      Doesn't everyone who writes an "Opinion" piece have an opinion? I think that is the point.

      It is nice to read someone's point of view and faith based reasons for their position. Funny how as long as the faith based positions lean right or far conservative, folks on the right support them. Heaven forbid that someone hold a progressive view of social issues based on religious teaching.

      October 18, 2012 at 10:28 am |
    • Jake

      The whole point of the article was that despite the fact that she is a mormon (who are traditionally conservative voters) she has decided to support Obama based on the message presented. That fact was central to the theme of the peice, its an opinion peice, see that line at the top "MY TAKE". That means she is going to tell us what she thinks not just facts and figures. Man your life must be sad.

      October 18, 2012 at 10:29 am |
    • politics as usual

      And I can't tell you what *I* think? Now whose life is sad?

      October 18, 2012 at 10:33 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.