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Who hears #PrayersForOklahoma?
May 21st, 2013
04:45 PM ET

Who hears #PrayersForOklahoma?

By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor
[twitter-follow screen_name='BurkeCNN']

(CNN) - God may not notice the thousands of prayers tweeted for victims of Oklahoma’s devastating tornado - but Ricky Gervais sure has. And he is not pleased.

As of Tuesday afternoon, more than 75,000 people have used the hashtag #PrayForOklahoma, including pop starlets, pastors and politicians, according to Topsy.com, a trend-monitoring site.

For example, the White House tweeted,

But the hashtag and the sentiments it promotes prompted a fierce backlash on social media, led by Gervais, a British comedian, and other prominent nonbelievers.

And while one Oklahoma City pastor says he appreciates the Twitter prayers, some religious scholars say devout petitions require more than moving your hands across a keyboard.

"A prayer is supposed to have a consequence for you," said Elizabeth Drescher, a lecturer at Santa Clara University in California. "It's not an act of magic."

Gervais, an ardent foe of organized religion, was more caustic.

After MTV tweeted that pop stars Beyonce, Rihanna and Katy Perry are sending their prayers to Oklahoma, Gervais responded, “I feel like an idiot now … I only sent money.”

Gervais and other atheists also kick-started a counter-trend, using the hashtag #ActuallyDoSomethingForOklahoma.

“If all people are doing is praying, it is worthless,” Hemant Mehta, an Illinois math teacher who writes the blog “Friendly Atheist,” told CNN. “If they are praying and donating to the Red Cross, that’s more like it.”

Mehta is promoting a group called Foundation Beyond Belief that aims to provide a humanist response to crises like the Oklahoma tornado.

The prayer debate spilled into other social media sites as well, with commenters on CNN’s Facebook page sparring over God’s role in Monday’s destructive whirlwind.

According to Oklahoma officials, 24 people have died, many more are injured, and once-orderly streets look likes foretastes of the apocalypse.

In response to a woman who said she was praying for the victims, Facebook commenter Peter Tongue replied, “If prayer works, there wouldn’t be a disaster like this in the first place .... so please keep your religion to yourself.”

But believers had their say as well.

“God is still in control!” said Wilbur Dugger, a commenter on CNN’s Facebook page. “Everything (God) does is to get our attention. … My sympathy and prayers go out to those who get caught up in his demonstrations of (God) ruling the world.”

The social-media sparring over prayer and God’s will reflect a culture in which traditional notions of religion - and the places where people talk about faith - are changing faster than a Twitter feed, said Drescher, the Santa Clara lecturer.

“We’re watching people re-articulate what it means to be spiritual and religious,” she said.

Just a few years ago, for example, no one knew what a hashtag was. Now the “#PrayFor...” meme appears after almost every national and international tragedy.

But what exactly does it mean? Is the tweeting multitude really folding its hands in prayer, or is it a fleeting expression of existential angst? Or maybe just a trendy thing to say?

“It seems to express hope and anxiety, and maybe even helplessness,” Drescher said.

“At the same time, it evokes this strong response from people who see it as a cop-out, a way of claiming some kind of spiritual space that doesn’t actually have any meaning to the people who are posting the meme or the community they are addressing.”

Traditionally, prayer has required something of the pray-er: an orientation toward reverence, a readiness to act, Drescher continued. “You are meant to do something - and that something may not be an easy thing.”

Slapping a hashtag at the end of a tweet doesn’t meet that standard, the scholar said.

The Rev. David Johnson of St. Andrew’s United Methodist Church in Oklahoma City said the prayerful tweets mean something to him - even if he’s been too busy to read them.

Since Monday, St. Andrew’s has become a Red Cross command post and reunion site for families to find loved ones caught in the tornado’s path. The tragedy has also touched the congregation itself, with homes, and some lives, lost on Tuesday, Johnson said.

Told of the Twitter prayers, Johnson said, “that’s awesome.”

“People feel helpless - like God called them to do something but they don’t know what. That’s where prayer comes in.”

Johnson said his church appreciates the many material donations coming its way: the generator sent by a lady from Arkansas, the food and water sent from neighboring towns. But they also solicit, and are happy to receive, the many prayers recited - or tweeted - on their behalf, he said.

“We’ve seen quite a lot of trauma in the last day,” Johnson said. “Obviously, people are going to ask why God allows tornadoes to happen. That’s just part of this world. God doesn’t promise us that bad things won’t happen, he promises to help us get through it. That’s what prayer helps us do.”

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • United States

soundoff (3,515 Responses)
  1. Frank B

    Why do athiest care so much what others choose to do? They don't believe in prayer, so it has not effect on them what so ever. They don't want to pray? That is their business. If I choose to pray, that is mine. Seems a little closed minded and bigoted to complain about what others do when it doesn't affect you in the least bit.

    May 22, 2013 at 1:32 pm |
    • .

      Why do the religious care so much what other people do? Why must they try and make sure gay people can't get married, why must they point out people's sins and warn them about hell?

      May 22, 2013 at 1:34 pm |
    • SSE

      They care because they know that prayers are worthless and do not help the people in need. They clearly state that if you want to help these people, send donations so that food, water, clothing, shelter and medical aid can be provided. God is not going to give anyone a glass of water or a hot meal.

      May 22, 2013 at 1:39 pm |
  2. Betsy Voss

    Ricky Gervais has no reason to be offended by offers of prayers. No one is praying to him. People who are so vocal about their disbelief should allow those who do believe to be equally vocal. I happen to be a believer. I am not an uneducated rube and I do not believe the that God is imaginary. And I'm not trying to convert YOU.

    May 22, 2013 at 1:32 pm |
    • Frank B

      Amen!

      May 22, 2013 at 1:33 pm |
    • clinky

      Well said, Betsy. I agree with you all down the line. What does Gervais want, boss people around into doing what he says is right? Isn't that what he complains right-wing Christians are doing in the first place?

      May 22, 2013 at 1:37 pm |
  3. Kim Coleman

    Dear Ricky Gervais: You are a British citizen, and I have lived in your country long enough to know that churches are indeed converted into pubs in your country, and it's "rather stupid" to believe in God. You, however, have no right to come to a country in which you were not born–a country which has a different culture, and demand we change. You have every right to state your opinion, but remember, you are out of your league. People in this country say "pray" because they have the culture of doing so. I learned to adapt; SO CAN YOU. It starts by being SILENT when people do things you find silly.

    May 22, 2013 at 1:31 pm |
    • .

      You try being silent first and see how you like it.

      Telling people you don't agree with to be quiet? Snot.

      May 22, 2013 at 1:36 pm |
    • thulsa

      Mr. Gervais can express his opinion anytime he likes and you can too. Nice to be able to that, right?

      May 22, 2013 at 1:36 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      So you think that the people of Moore can only be helped by silent prayer and not money and action or is the prayer that someone else provide the money and action. Neither can be said to be helpful.

      May 22, 2013 at 1:45 pm |
  4. rc

    Tweeting a prayer is empty. Back it up with an actual personal prayer. If you can send money or aid, that's great, but contrary to what a militant atheist who doesn't actually understand what he's talking about may say, praying can be enough, if it's all you can do and if you actually mean it.

    May 22, 2013 at 1:31 pm |
    • sybaris

      Prayer is a placebo

      1 pair of hands actually doing something physical is more useful than 1,000,000 hands clasped in prayer.

      May 22, 2013 at 1:53 pm |
  5. Seoras

    Its been proven that religious people give more to charity than the non-religious.
    And for their prayers & expressions of concern, all they get is more hate from the atheists. Shameful.

    May 22, 2013 at 1:30 pm |
    • .

      You're wrong, you holier-than-thou idiot.

      May 22, 2013 at 1:37 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      I'm not sure where you got your information but I suspect that is probably including tithing as charity when we know that largely goes to the upkeep of the church's vast portfolio of property and investments.

      May 22, 2013 at 1:42 pm |
    • SpiritualGal

      Proven by whom? Please explain yourself. I'd really like to know WHO you are stating with certainty that religious people are more charitable than non-religious folks. I'm spiritual, not the same thing as "religious" and I am more charitable than anyone I know. So, cough of this factual evidence you are basing your ridiculous claim on.

      May 22, 2013 at 1:47 pm |
    • Commander Keen

      Do you recall that about 85% of the planet is religious and that religious people go to places on a regular basis, sometimes even weekly, telling them to donate a certain way or even vote a certain way?

      Non-religious people have no church, no dogma, no authority – if they donate, it's because they are truly incredible people and doing it because they have high empathy for humanity. This doesn't mean that religious folk are sheep, just that MANY of them follow their creeds and part of their creeds usually involve helping others in need.

      What this doesn't mean though, is that religions are objective forces for good. The people in the organization might be good, but there is nothing a church or religious person can do that a non-religious person can't do.

      May 22, 2013 at 1:50 pm |
    • sybaris

      The only reason why religious people seem to be "generous" is because they think it helps pave their way into whatever heaven they subscribe to.

      Religion, the ultimate ponzi scheme.

      May 22, 2013 at 1:56 pm |
    • Susan StoHelit

      Not true.

      Only when you consider the church a charity does that work out. Omit funding pastors and prayer missions and conversion journeys, and they do not give more to charity.

      May 22, 2013 at 4:58 pm |
  6. adam

    Not sure which is less useful: CNN or prayer.

    May 22, 2013 at 1:30 pm |
    • rc

      People who complain.

      May 22, 2013 at 1:31 pm |
  7. Ron C

    Gervais should make plans to spend several weeks in Moore if he is going to catch up with dozens of groups I know who are praying, sending funds, and forming strategic partnerships that will last several months for cleanup, rebuilding homes, working with children this summer....etc., etc. Is he just pontificating, or is he planning to spend time in Moore?

    May 22, 2013 at 1:30 pm |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magical Underwear

      Why would he move to Moore? it's in the heart of Tornado Alley. It will get hit again. And again. And again.

      May 22, 2013 at 1:34 pm |
    • Dave

      Mr. Gervais – isn't even funny. I wouldn't waste my time on him.

      May 22, 2013 at 1:40 pm |
  8. Lenny Pincus

    They live in Tornado Alley and they don't have basements or shelters. No wonder they pray.

    May 22, 2013 at 1:30 pm |
    • Valerie

      My thought exactly!

      May 22, 2013 at 2:15 pm |
  9. sick of christian phonies

    Compare the amount of misspellings and poor grammar in the believers' vs. the atheists' posts. That will indicate the intelligence levels of the posters. Less intelligence/schooling: more apt to be a person of faith.
    Look at the uneducated muslim fundamentalists in Afghanistan, Sudan, etc., or christians in the southern states like Mississippi, West Virginia, Alabama, etc.
    Faith feeds on ignorance.

    May 22, 2013 at 1:29 pm |
    • Bells B.

      Right, less intelligent people (who you assume are those who have more grammar mistakes herein) have opinions that have less worth. That's what Mitt Romney was TRYING to say and nobody would listen.

      Every scientist knows that because we can't prove God to a scientific fact, he cannot exist. Duh.

      May 22, 2013 at 1:32 pm |
    • Dave

      Troll alert... Troll alert... Gee, nice stereotyping. When you grow up and have a sane conversation – let me know. Have a BLESSED DAY.

      May 22, 2013 at 1:44 pm |
    • DaddyMac

      Ignorance is everywhere! Intelligence does not stop ignorance.....Your assumption about Christians is both puzzling and insulting coming from such intelligent, opened minded thinking.......Christians hate phony Christians also, mostly I dislike phony people or people who judge others. Hope you meet some of the people I know who are intelligent, caring and not phony and are Christians but lumping us all into this bucket is wrong.

      May 22, 2013 at 1:47 pm |
    • LP

      I am a resident of Alabama, a believer in God, and I would wager a year's salary that I have a minimum of 40 points on your IQ. Generalizations are dangerous. Perhaps you would have already realized that if you'd been afforded a better education and a life rich with experiences.

      May 22, 2013 at 1:56 pm |
  10. Justsayinnnn

    GOD KEEPS TWO SETS OF BOOKS!

    God has established two laws and then tells us to choose which law we wish to live by: "Behold I set before you life and blessing or death and curses. Make your own choice. But allow me to give you some advice– choose life. That way you and your future children and grandchildren may LIVE for all eternity."

    The first law is the Law of sin and death, and here is how it works: God has a standard of behavior. He explains it precisely in great detail in the Old Testament. He tells us what he permits and what he does not permit. He also tells us that if we break even one of his laws we will suffer eternal death in hell. People have never lived their entire life without breaking one of these laws. It is hopeless. No matter how good a person has been in their life, it is not good enough.

    The second law is the law of Grace. And here is how it works: God has the same standard of behavior. Then he says that if we accept Jesus as the ruler of our life, he will give US credit for HIS perfectly lived life on earth. We are then required to allow him to be The Lord of our life. If we give our life to him and willingly serve him, we will be blessed with a joy-filled, peace-filled, eternal life in His never-ending kingdom.

    The standard is never going to change. Like it or not, Jesus is God. And you are, well, not. Your only choice is to choose which set of books you are going live by.

    May 22, 2013 at 1:27 pm |
    • Colin

      So did Enron

      May 22, 2013 at 1:32 pm |
    • Lenny Pincus

      And so, a person could live a wonderful life but think Jesus is not his Lord, and that person would go to hell. But another person could live a crap life (oh, he's trying hard) but declare Jesus his lord and go to heaven?

      You make God sounds like a corrupt bookkeeper. I doubt He likes that.

      May 22, 2013 at 1:34 pm |
    • Just-A-Guy

      Says you. I think otherwise. God is bunch of nonsense to make silly folks like you feel safer in the dark of night.

      May 22, 2013 at 1:40 pm |
    • korino

      No griown adult with a triple digit IQ living in the 21 Century should believe that crap.

      May 22, 2013 at 1:46 pm |
  11. clinky

    That's about as low as a CNN story can go. Of course you can pray and give help. For many, the two go hand in hand. If you are not religious and give material help, that's fine. It's all appreciated.

    May 22, 2013 at 1:27 pm |
    • .

      Didn't even read the article, did you.

      May 22, 2013 at 1:38 pm |
  12. mpo

    While the most widely perceived media related notion of 'God' is probably/hopefully not a reality it doesn't mean there isn't 'God' in some form of existence any more or less than those who truly do not believe in the existence of 'God' at all. The invasive proselytizers of both viewpoints need to knock it off whether they be a Pat Robertson or a Ricky Gervais as they're both equally annoying and wrong in the way they go about it by over attempting to force their set of beliefs on others simply because they won't accept anything other than they are right and anybody who doesn't agree is wrong. Pleas get over yourselves!

    May 22, 2013 at 1:27 pm |
    • Valerie

      Really. Just what is it that you are doing. I think that you are doing the exact same thing as those that you are talking about. Stop cramming YOUR beliefs down MY throat.

      May 22, 2013 at 2:32 pm |
    • mpo

      Forget about it poor poor pitiful Val your blatant incompetence speaks for itself.

      May 22, 2013 at 3:35 pm |
  13. rkulla

    I find it strange that the only way you can see God is after you die and people believe that. God can do ANYTHING but somehow refuses to prove his existence and instead has a few guys thousands of years ago to tell you that you just have to have faith. And millions of people believe this and live their life by it and will tell people who aren't gullible enough to buy into it that they're somehow bad or misguided people. And then when I ask obvious questions like this I'm told that I'm "attacking" and a "sin lover".

    May 22, 2013 at 1:26 pm |
    • drinker75

      It's the perfect scam when you think about it, and probably the most successful!

      May 22, 2013 at 1:31 pm |
    • WowYourDumb

      What amazes me is that you actually believe that the only way to to God is by seeing him. Be still in prayer and maybe you'll learn something from the Master that your eayes can't see. You have other senses. Or maybe you lost those with your soul long ago. That's OK if you did, Jesus is Gracious and accepts his wayward children when they truly have faith. I don't put much emphasis on what a comedian thinks or says. His job in life is to entertain. He should stick to that.

      May 22, 2013 at 1:36 pm |
    • Bells B.

      If you want to view it that simply, feel free. A little bit more complex than that.

      If you want a news story saying that God was spotted off the coast of Madagascar, you're not going to get it. It's kinda childish to expect to "see God" the way you describe. If you want to experience happiness through faith, that's a possibility as many have shown. In fact, if you "saw God" the way you are thinking, you would never be able to choose God because you would, in essence, be compelled to subscribe to God. That doesn't sound very nice, does it?

      May 22, 2013 at 1:37 pm |
    • drinker75

      WowYourDumb.....it's you're and the irony is hilarious!

      May 22, 2013 at 1:41 pm |
    • rkulla

      It's not childish to want proof. Saying that people need to get real quiet and 'channel god' is what's childish. In fact, when I was a child that's what I was told to do and it never worked even though I wasn't skeptical then. So either God chose not to reveal himself to me as a child just to be "mysterious" (and cold) or the people who say that works are only fooling themselves. Occam's razor says it's the latter.

      May 22, 2013 at 1:53 pm |
    • DaddyMac

      It is wrong for anyone to talk down or judge you. if your question merely revolves around God showing himself, you should do some research and discover how He does show himself. Faith is a choice and you have to make yours, not even God forces His love on people, it al always available for the taking! Keep asking questions, there are answers.

      May 22, 2013 at 1:54 pm |
    • WowYourDumb

      That's what I get for not checking my typing. God forgive me. OOPS, did I say that? LOL!

      May 22, 2013 at 1:55 pm |
    • rkulla

      DaddyMac You see, you probably think that what you were doing isn't talking down to me. But it is. Here's how: You're saying that you have these big answers. And obviously you don't or you wouldn't need faith. You either know the truth or you don't. If you don't then you need faith. So the only difference between you and me is that you choose to believe in something without proof (gullible) and I don't. Now if it were something harmless that's fine, you don't always need proof for every little thing, but when it comes to life's biggest question, you sure as hell (doesn't exist) do.

      May 22, 2013 at 2:02 pm |
    • DaddyMac

      rkulla; No intention to talk down or demeen anyone, I firmly believe in people making their own choices. There is no imperical proof of the existance or absence of God, it is theory either way. I would say that I am not gullible, but clearly we do not know each other. i respect others and respect your opinion not to believe in God, just don't like all Christians being lumped into one big class of uneducated people looking for hope. God's gift of free choice leaves us here. If people want to give, pray or help others in need, let them do that without being questioned by their motives. Would rather debate this in person, seems like we could have a good conversation, even if we do not agree.

      May 22, 2013 at 4:20 pm |
  14. richsrf

    r
    Either "god" doesn't respond to prayer or desn't exist. What is the difference?

    May 22, 2013 at 1:26 pm |
  15. Colin

    Image I built a golden calf. I put it on an altar and I assured everybody that if you prayed to it, it would answer your prayers. Now think about what would happen when people prayed to it. Most times what they asked for would not transpire. Every now and then, through sheer luck, it would.

    Now, if people doubted my golden calf, how would I respond. I bet I would say things like:

    1. The golden calf always answers prayers, it’s just that sometimes the answer is “no” or “not yet.”

    2. The golden calf moves in mysterious ways.

    3. The golden calf knows what is best for you. You should take into account the bigger picture.

    4. Sometimes the golden calf has a plan for us all. In the long run HE looks out for you.

    5. You should not question the golden calf.

    Now think about the excuses Christians give when God does not “answer prayers.”

    May 22, 2013 at 1:26 pm |
    • DaddyMac

      there are many that don't understand faith, understandable. just because you can't explain it does not mean it is not true, look at how much actual science cannot explain! Almost everything in "science" is theory and has many faults in the theory. Why is this turning into a bashing of Chritianity when we should be helping the folks in Oklahoma both with physical and emotional needs?

      May 22, 2013 at 1:37 pm |
    • WowYourDumb

      True Christians don't give excuses. They just Love one another and love others. This is just another misguided perception on your part. Everything you presented is based on your timeline as if to say that God exists on your terms. Really? Get enlightened.

      May 22, 2013 at 1:42 pm |
  16. Sam

    Mr ID_IOT Gervais – you do not want to start a fight over WHO gives more money to charity or natural disasters!!!!!!!!! Christians would win hands down.....worldwide. Not only do people who pray GIVE $$.....but they also build orphanages and go and live there.....giveme a break!! Give to Oklahoma and keep your mouth shut

    May 22, 2013 at 1:25 pm |
    • Bobby

      Christians build orphanages and then move in to them? That seems like an improper use of an orphanage.

      May 22, 2013 at 1:30 pm |
    • clinky

      I agree, Sam. What's it to Gervais what other people hold self-evident and true? He doesn't have all the answers for everybody else. Nobody does. Answering honestly for yourself means not pretending to answer for your neighbors.

      May 22, 2013 at 1:33 pm |
    • Simka

      I agree...I used to be fan of Gervais, now I find him to be none other than a whining bore. It's interesting how all the non-believers like to point out how they think they are soooo much smarter/educated/sophisticated than Christians. Sounds like they just want attention...did they not get enough love as a child...shut up already!

      May 22, 2013 at 1:44 pm |
    • Can'timagine

      Prove that statement. I'm not juding you but when you say something you should be able to prove what you say. Prove that Christians give more money. I'll be waiting.

      May 22, 2013 at 2:41 pm |
  17. John

    A person lies in the hospital and is dying. Pray for them, they say! God can perform a miracle. If they live then the religious say, "It's a miracle!!!!" when in truth the medicine worked and the person's body managed to biologically pull through the illness. If they die, then the religious say "It was God's will........ pray for the family to have comfort now"...... when in truth the person died because their body biologically could not fight back from the illness. You cannot talk sense into someone that does not look at things logically. If I were to walk into a building today and tell people that I spoke to God through a burning bush outside, people would put me away in the crazy house. But yet the masses readily accept these things from 2,000 years ago in a book with stories. It is quite baffling to say the least............

    May 22, 2013 at 1:25 pm |
    • John

      I saw on CNN last night a women saying that only a few walls of her house were still standing and she noted that they both had crosses hanging on them. So, I guess we are to imagine that god himself (purposely not capitalized) reached down and held those walls up...while passing on the opportunity to save 24 peoples lives, 9 of them little children. Religion was born out of desperation, by the poor and the hungry and the abused. Without hopes of a higher power, a better place to look forward to after our time on earth, those in such deep dispair simply could not have went on. god is a myth, he simply doesnt exist and if by chance he does, it is very apparent that he/she/it has zero personal intervention in daily events. Gee, i hope when I die I get to go to heaven and sit at gods feet and tell him how wonderful he is for the rest of eternity....

      May 22, 2013 at 1:46 pm |
    • WowYourDumb

      Maybe you should read the bible more...not just the Old Testament. Your statement is biased towards what people think? So you want me to be logical by your terms? Wow. How about logically accepting the fact that as you meandor to reflect on things you do not understand, others (illogical believers) as you would say, already are comforted by the understanding that all of this is temporary and the rewards and grace by which this is understood comes from the written word, the faith of millions and the love for one another? Or is Love just a biolocal/chemistry reaction too? You don't seperate us from a common animal with your hypothesis. I'm sorry, I consider mankind to be more than just a common animal with bilogical reactions to your logical vision of the world.

      May 22, 2013 at 1:50 pm |
  18. Soos

    How about hey people from Oklahoma we are sorry for destroying the earth and now we have this crazy weather and you just got the brunt of it.

    May 22, 2013 at 1:23 pm |
  19. Woodrow

    Ricky Gervais = Awesome.

    Instead of sending money or helping out, let me pray to a imaginary person in the sky. That should do it.

    May 22, 2013 at 1:23 pm |
    • Annie

      I like Ricky...but this time he is wrong. You should not use a situation like Oklahoma to further your own views. Check out how money came in from around the world for all of the last disasters....? People gave tons of money.....how dare he use this make points for himself....very narsisstic

      May 22, 2013 at 1:28 pm |
    • Bells B.

      "Instead"? I don't remember seeing that. Oh wait, nevermind, you're right. If you pray, that means you are barred from sending a donation. Missed that part at the end. Apologies.

      May 22, 2013 at 1:29 pm |
    • DaddyMac

      Any idiot can leave $10 on their cell bill to help or charge to a card, it takes someone special to pray for another person. I believe in peoples choices but dont for one minute think that self proclaimed atheists should try and judge honest people about praying. Prayer gives hope to people who don't have much and with hope, you can do anything! Money is just a temporary fix, prayer reaches the soul. If your sending money, great, if your praying, great, if your actually helping....better but don't knock those who are trying to help in any way that they can.

      May 22, 2013 at 1:31 pm |
  20. BONN

    I am not praying or sending money. Those people need to move.

    May 22, 2013 at 1:22 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.