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Does Phil Robertson get the Bible wrong?
Phil Robertson of A&E's "Duck Dynasty" has been suspended for his comments on homosexuality.
December 20th, 2013
11:23 AM ET

Does Phil Robertson get the Bible wrong?

By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

(CNN) - The Robertson family of "Duck Dynasty" fame has rallied around its patriarch, saying his controversial comments on homosexuality are "grounded in the teachings of the Bible." But Scripture is fiercely contested ground, and some experts say Phil Robertson misinterprets a key Bible verse.

A&E, the network that broadcasts the hugely popular "Duck Dynasty" show, suspended Robertson for a now infamous interview with GQ magazine. In the article, Robertson, who became a born-again Christian in the 1970s after a prodigal youth, is asked to define "sin."

Here's what Robertson says: “Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men."

Robertson, 67, then paraphrases a Bible passage from the New Testament: “Don’t be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers - they won’t inherit the kingdom of God.”

That's a pretty close citation of 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, which is a letter from Paul, often called the father of Christianity theology, to a fledgling Christian community in Corinth, Greece.

Here's what Paul's passage says, as rendered in the New International Version, by far the most popular translation among evangelicals and conservative Christians such as Robertson:

"Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men, nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God."

Evangelicals, who make up about a quarter of the U.S. population, tend to take that passage at face value. The Robertson family pastor, for instance, told CNN on Thursday that "the verse explains itself."

Robertson himself is no religious neophyte. He's an elder in the White's Ferry Road Church of Christ and offers spiritual counseling, charity and Bible studies to many in his hometown of West Monroe, Louisiana, the family pastor, Mike Kellett told CNN.

The "Duck Dynasty" star also preaches around the country to conservatives that flock to hear his blend of woodsy, plainspoken Christianity.

Many conservatives backed Robertson's views on Scripture and homosexuality this week, if not the "crude" way he argued his point to GQ.

My Take: The Bible really does condemn homosexuality

But other Bible experts said the Scripture Robertson cited isn't quite clear about homosexuality.

"A lot of people misread this text because it's so complicated," said O. Wesley Allen Jr., an associate professor at Lexington Theological Seminary in Kentucky.

First, scholars say, we have to look at the context surrounding Paul's letter.

The Christian leader is trying to get the quarreling Corinthians to stop taking each other to civil courts and being judgmental. "The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you have been completely defeated already," Paul says.

Things were supposed to be different after they became Christian believers, Paul continues; they were supposed to stop their sinful ways.

Then Paul lists some of their sins of the past, including greed, drinking too much, worshipping idols and sexual immorality. "That is what some of you were," Paul says. "But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God."

The list of sins is likely based on rumors that Paul heard about Corinth, says Warren Throckmorton, a psychology professor at Grove City College in Pennsylvania who has studied the Bible's teachings on homosexuality. Bible scholars call it a "vice list," and it appears several times in Scripture.

So what does Paul's "vice list" say about homosexuality? That's the tricky part.

The first word Paul uses is "malakoi," which means "soft" in Greek, according to Allen. By analogy, the word came to mean "effeminate," which is how the King James Version of the Bible translates it.

"In the ancient world, it would refer to a boy in a relationship with an older man," Allen said. "It was pederasty, not homosexuality as we think of it today."

The other relevant word on Paul's "vice list" is "arsenokotai," which means "male sex." It refers to the other half in the man-boy relationship, common in Greece at the time, Allen said, the older male having sex with the "soft one."

"It isn't anything to do with what we would see today in an intimate, mutual relationship between gay adults," said Allen, who is co-authoring an upcoming book on homosexuality and heterosexuality in the church.

My Take: The Bible’s surprisingly mixed messages on sexuality

Even so, scholars such as Allen acknowledge there are no Bible passages that support same-sex relationships, and at least seven that appear to condemn gay sex.

"There's no way around the fact that those passages take a negative view of homosexuality, and nowhere in the Bible is a positive view offered," Allen said. "So conservatives and liberals continue to debate."

Liberals say that some parts of the Bible offered particular truths for a specific times and places but those times and places, as well as human understanding of sexuality, have progressed dramatically.

"The Bible may be divinely inspired, but its authors were human and saw, as St. Paul puts it, through a glass darkly," said Jim Naughton, a Christian gay rights activist and communications consultant. "On the subject of homosexuality, the Bible doesn’t mean what Phil Robertson thinks it means."

Conservatives such as Robertson, on the other hand, argue that the Bible is the bedrock of their faith, unchanging and unalterable. "We want you to know that first and foremost we are a family rooted in our faith in God and our belief that the Bible is His word," the Robertson family said Thursday.

For decades, the gulf between the two sides has divided denominations, churches and families. To paraphrase Lincoln, both sides read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and both invoke his aid to argue against each other. Which is why our contemporary debate over homosexuality is so fierce, and so seemingly unending.

- CNN Religion Editor

Filed under: Belief • Bible • Christianity • Church • Culture wars • Discrimination • Ethics • evangelicals • Faith • Gay marriage • Gay rights • gender issues • Prejudice • Same-sex marriage • Sexuality

soundoff (5,719 Responses)
  1. Steve Wilkinson

    This scholarship ranks right up there with holocaust deniers. Of course you can find some wing-nut 'scholar' to advance just about any position. If you rip one passage out of context, and invent a historical backdrop, you can call it into question. The problem is there are many more than one verse to deal with, and a theme running through the Bible which help define what marriage is and isn't (even if one didn't have these particular verses). Or, how about we consider a scholarly consensus like we're so often told to do with things like global warming or evolution???

    December 20, 2013 at 2:08 pm |
  2. UncleM

    For those here arguing in favor of deities, please obey the Ten (Eleven) Commandments of Logic
    1. Thou shall not attack the person’s character instead of the argument. (Ad Hominem)
    2. Thou shall not misrepresent or exaggerate an argument in order to make it easier to attack. (Straw man fallacy)
    3. Thou shall not use small numbers to represent the whole. (Hasty generalization)
    4. Thou shall not argue thy position by assuming one of its premises is true. (Begging the question)
    5. Thou shall not claim that because an event occurred before another it must the cause. (Post Hoc/False cause)
    6. Thou shall not reduce the argument to two possibilities. (False dichotomy)
    7. Thou shall not argue that because of your ignorance a claim must be true or false. (Ad ignorantum)
    8. Thou shall not assume that this follows that when there is no logical connection. (Non sequitur)
    9. Thou shall not claim because a premise is popular it must be true. (Bandwagon fallacy)
    10. Thou shall not use a false, untenable, or absurd result to argue that a claim is false. (Reductio ad absurdum)
    11. Thou shall not lay the burden of proof upon he who is questioning the claim. (Burden of proof reversal)

    December 20, 2013 at 2:08 pm |
    • UncleM

      Sorry. That doesn't give you much to work with .

      December 20, 2013 at 2:09 pm |
    • Tom

      You are forgetting that Faith != logic, thus the definition of Faith.

      December 20, 2013 at 2:13 pm |
      • Steve Wilkinson

        What, exactly, do you think the definition of faith is??? (Hint: a close synonym would be 'trust.')

        December 20, 2013 at 2:14 pm |
        • HotAirAce

          Faith: Pretending to know things you do not. Peter Boghossian

          December 20, 2013 at 2:31 pm |
        • Steve Wilkinson

          @ HotAirAce – Nope. Why not try using the definition of the term in the sense that the people you're critiquing use it. Making up a definition to win an argument is called.... um, cheating!

          Faith is a trust in someone or something about results which are impossible to test at the moment. For example, you might trust that a spouse isn't cheating on you, and act accordingly, even though you haven't verified this for certain. Or, you might get on an jet and fly across the country because you have a good amount of faith that gravity won't change, aircraft designers know what they are doing, and the air-travel industry has a good track record.

          The reason it's called faith, is that you have to put that knowledge you have of a person or thing, into actual action, the outcome of which you won't really know until it happens. Your spouse *might* be cheating on your, or the jet *might* crash.

          Christians are anywhere from 100% certain to mostly certain that God exists and is accurately described by the Bible and the experience of billions across centuries of time, so we exercise FAITH that what God promised us (which we don't yet have), He has the ability to fulfil. In other words, we trust God and then put that trust into action. THAT is what faith is.

          If what you're attempting to communicate (rather poorly), is that this trust is misplaced... then we've got something to discuss. Christian apologetics is the discipline you want to engage if that is the case. I'll be happy to dialog via TilledSoil . org if you like.

          December 20, 2013 at 4:12 pm |
        • HotAirAce

          From the Oxford dictionary:

          noun
          [mass noun]
          1complete trust or confidence in someone or something:
          this restores one’s faith in politicians
          2strong belief in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual conviction rather than proof:
          bereaved people who have shown supreme faith
          [count noun] a particular religion:
          the Christian faith
          [count noun] a strongly held belief:
          men with strong political faiths

          The more appropriate one is 2 – believing without proof. When believers claim to absolutely *know* their beliefs are correct, and by extension, others are wrong, they are pretending to know things they don't.

          December 20, 2013 at 9:18 pm |
    • Steve Wilkinson

      I like that... but I'm not sure what it has to do with arguing for or against deity. Are you trying to claim that atheists stick to these rules more than theists do? (If so, that hasn't been my experience.)

      December 20, 2013 at 2:13 pm |
      • UncleM

        Arguments for gods invariably break these rules. Atheists don't have prove gods are non-existent (see #11) and gaps in science don't mean a god did it (see #6). These 2 alone demolish most relgionists.

        December 20, 2013 at 2:37 pm |
        • Steve Wilkinson

          re: #11 – If they are going to be true atheists they do, as that is a positive claim which needs defending. If they are 'soft' agnostics, then you're correct, though it might still be wise to interact with the positive claims theists are making.

          re: #6 – God either exits or God does not exist. That's not a false dichotomy. And, good arguments for God's existence aren't god of the gaps either. BTW, while it is true that some Christians do use god of the gaps arguments, I OFTEN hear atheists using naturalism of the gaps arguments. Both sides need to watch that one.

          December 20, 2013 at 4:18 pm |
  3. BCS2006

    Does Phil Robertson Get the Bible Wrong?

    Of course he does. THE BIBLE GETS THE BIBLE WRONG. That book is so riddled with contradiction it wouldn't pass a freshman creative writing class

    December 20, 2013 at 2:08 pm |
    • robbie357

      Good luck with that. You likely do not even understand the dif tween The New Testament and the Old Testament.
      So....have fun with that. But I hope you'll see the truth man. I really really do.

      December 20, 2013 at 2:11 pm |
      • BCS2006

        There are contradictions within the old testament, and contradictions within the new testament, never reaching into its opposite book. Christ also stated he did not come to abolish the old covenant. So theres that.

        December 20, 2013 at 2:17 pm |
    • Phil

      Exactly. It's like the blind leading the blind. You people are reading out of the wrong book.

      December 20, 2013 at 2:13 pm |
    • travis

      Examples please

      December 20, 2013 at 4:34 pm |
  4. Roxanne

    I will not again turn on A&E until Phil has the right to say what he wants and believe what he wants.. The core to which this nation was built on.. GOD and FREEDOM

    December 20, 2013 at 2:08 pm |
    • sly

      Thank you Roxanne – I am a great admirerer of Allah, our God.

      Allah Ackbar – God is Great! It's great to see all of His admirer's on here.

      December 20, 2013 at 2:17 pm |
  5. Douglas

    I had to live in that sorry state for 10 years and this bonehead has done nothing to dispel the well-deserved stereotype of Monroe as the smelly armpit of the U.S... and the anus tag is reserved for NOLA. Constipation of the brain; diarrhea of the mouth from some redneck. We should expect no less.

    December 20, 2013 at 2:08 pm |
  6. Askmehow

    He's ignorant.

    December 20, 2013 at 2:07 pm |
  7. kking

    Seven or seen hundred passages of bigotry from an ancient book of faerie tales, it makes no difference. The Bible is simply a means to justify ones own prejudices.

    Hopefully, A&E will pull the public platform from under this family of right-wing nut cases.

    December 20, 2013 at 2:07 pm |
    • Mike again

      Go wipe the feces off your junk you reprobate mind

      December 20, 2013 at 2:08 pm |
  8. Steven Gold

    Or just perhaps not every single thing written in a text by people thousands of years ago, be it Christian, Muslim, Science, Pagan, etc, is 100% correct on every detail they wrote. Just like they would of rejected the ideas by people before them.

    December 20, 2013 at 2:07 pm |
  9. Natas nico

    As a student of theology having studied church history I can say I see why there is so much doubt when it comes to Christianity and the belief in God who saves lives, heals, and love genuinely. There is a lack of that true genuine love this world, everything is hustle or be hustled, do you and do what you want, be PC even if someone is wrong. I have to admit in a way Christians are responsible for this image how can we prove that God is all of the things written about him if we don't reflect what we say we believe? My challenge is to those who are Christians to be that person that isn't a hypocrite,don't explain away the wrong you do but confess be truthful and more than a Sunday only Christian. These comments of unbelief are proof that the light of God has not affectively been shown enough. Read your bible, study it, allow it to consume you and your heart and then follow it. You can't promote and share what you don't have. Christianity isn't working just giving a cheeseburger to a homeless person Christianity is sharing God and all his goodness, sharing and displaying his love through our lives to reach those who don't know him as a living hope

    December 20, 2013 at 2:06 pm |
    • natasnico

      ....

      December 20, 2013 at 2:56 pm |
  10. Another Voice

    Why is it that so many people that profess that they are followers of Christ prefer to take their marching orders from the letters of Paul? The teachings of Jesus Christ are contained in the Gospels; the later books like the letters and Revelation are not his teachings - in fact, Paul never met Jesus and was converted to Christianity after murdering one of Jesus' disciples.

    If you want to call yourself a Christian, you should go back to the roots of his teaching - love one another, watch out for the hypocrisy of the priests and pharisees and don't presume it is your place to judge others. When you go beyond those basics, you are seeking to control others with no real authority to support you.

    December 20, 2013 at 2:06 pm |
    • Doris

      Ah yes, Paul – the Joseph Smith of his time.

      December 20, 2013 at 2:07 pm |
    • natasnico

      Aww ignorance in rare form...not really...Paul was converted remember Jesus came to save and forgive sin? The bible is the Word of God given to men to give guidance in our lives

      December 20, 2013 at 2:59 pm |
  11. shawn poland

    cnn is sill trying to spin the subject. catering to a select group while acting like this is only about religion. so what if this guy did get the bible wrong or did get right, either way its FREE SPEECH CNN! A RIGHT TO ONES FAITH AND BELIEF IN WHATEVER ONE CHOOSES IN AMERICA! down with the sponsors if cnn wont stop hating peoples rights! down with cable and satellite!

    December 20, 2013 at 2:06 pm |
  12. tony

    According to the huge number of US Christian different secs, there must be tens of thousands of different versions of the "One true god".

    December 20, 2013 at 2:05 pm |
    • sly

      Allah is the only God.

      It's in the big book. It is true. No one can dispute what's in the book.

      Allah Ackbar – God is Great.

      December 20, 2013 at 2:18 pm |
  13. Renee

    God don't change... his words are true as much now as when it was written. Go ahead and take God out of everything don't invite him into your heart and life which would be ashame because in a blink of an eye when he comes back to receive his people and claim whats his you will know you had a chance and you will send yourselves to hell and realize I don't have a second chance. I don't want that to happen to any of you.

    December 20, 2013 at 2:05 pm |
    • tony

      How nice (and patronizing)

      December 20, 2013 at 2:06 pm |
    • JWT

      Nothing of mine belongs to your version of a god.

      December 20, 2013 at 2:06 pm |
    • kking

      "his words are true as much now as when it was written"

      Agreed. Once BS, always BS.

      December 20, 2013 at 2:09 pm |
  14. Colin

    When I graduated from high school, we had to pass a small test. Here it is.

    Q.1 The completely absurd theory that all 7,000,000,000 human beings on the planet are simultaneously being supervised 24 hours a day, every day of their lives by an immortal, invisible being for the purposes of reward or punishment in the “afterlife” comes from the religion of:

    (a) The ancient Celts;

    (b) Bronze Age Egyptians;

    (c) Pre-Colombian Aztecs; or

    (d) Modern Christians

    Q. 2 You are about 70% likely to believe the entire Universe began less than 10,000 years ago with only one man, one woman and a talking snake if you are:

    (a) a reptile handler who has severe mental issues;

    (b) a five year old boy who just read a fairytale;

    (c) a scientific fraud; or

    (d) a Christian

    Q.3 I have convinced myself that gay $ex is a choice and not genetic, but then have no explanation as to why only gay people have ho.mo$exual urges. I am

    (a) A gifted psychologist

    (b) A well respected geneticist

    (c) A highly educated sociologist; or

    (d) A Christian with the remarkable ability to ignore inconvenient facts.

    Q4. I honestly believe that, when I think silent thoughts like, “please god, help me pass my exam tomorrow,” some invisible being is reading my mind and will intervene and alter what would otherwise be the course of history in small ways to help me. I am

    (a) a delusional schizophrenic;

    (b) a naïve child, too young to know that that is silly

    (c) an ignorant farmer from Sudan who never had the benefit of even a fifth grade education; or

    (d) your average Christian

    Q5. Millions and millions of Catholics believe that bread and wine turns into the actual flesh and blood of a dead Jew from 2,000 years ago because:

    (a) there are obvious visible changes in the condiments after the Catholic priest does his hocus pocus;

    (b) tests have confirmed a divine presence in the bread and wine;

    (c) now and then their god shows up and confirms this story; or

    (d) their religious convictions tell them to blindly accept this completely fvcking absurd nonsense.

    Q.6 The only discipline known to often cause people to kill others they have never met and/or to commit suicide in its furtherance is:

    (a) Architecture;

    (b) Philosophy;

    (c) Archeology; or

    (d) Religion

    Q.7 What is it that most differentiates science and all other intellectual disciplines from Christianity:

    (a) Christianity tells people not only what they should believe, but what they MUST believe under threat of “burning in hell” or other of divine retribution, whereas science, economics, medicine etc. has no “sacred cows” in terms of doctrine and go where the evidence leads them;

    (b) Christianity can make a statement, such as “God is comprised of God the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit”, and be totally immune from experimentation and challenge, whereas science can only make factual assertions when supported by considerable evidence;

    (c) Science and the scientific method is universal and consistent all over the World whereas Christianity is regional and a person’s Christianity, no matter how deeply held, is clearly nothing more than geographical upbringing; or

    (d) All of the above.

    Q.8 If I am found wandering the streets flagellating myself, wading into a filth river, mutilating my child’s genitals or kneeling down in a church believing that a being is somehow reading my inner thoughts and prayers, I am likely driven by:

    (a) a deep psychiatric issue;

    (b) an irrational fear or phobia;

    (c) a severe mental degeneration caused by years of drug abuse; or

    (d) my religious belief.

    Q.9 The statement “I believe in God because the Bible tells me to and the reason I follow the Bible is because it is the word of God” is:

    (a) Circular reasoning at its most obvious;

    (b) The reason 99% of Christians believe what they do;

    (c) Specific to the Judeo-Christian parts of the World and totally rejected by all other parts of the World; or

    (d) All of the above.

    Q.10 Probably the most fundamental tenet of Christian faith is that God sent his son Jesus to Earth to die and save us from the original sin of Adam and Eve. We now know that Adam and Eve was a myth. As such, any thinking Christian should:

    (a) Honestly and courageously question this and any other aspects of their faith that don’t make sense.

    (b) Make up some euphemistic nonsense like “well, we didn’t mean that literally” after having done exactly that for the last 1900 years until science comprehensively disproved it.

    (c) Just ignore the blatant contradiction and sweep it under the mat; or

    (d) Hold on to the myth because it makes them feel good.

    Q.11 Please choose your favorite Catholic superst.ition from those below. For the one you choose, please say why it is any more ridiculous than the rest of the garbage Catholics swallow and give an example of a non-Catholic belief which is just as stupid.

    (a) Grocery store bread and wine becomes the flesh and blood of a dead Jew from 2,000 years ago because a priest does some hocus pocus over it in church of a Sunday morning.

    (b) When I pray for something like “please god help me pass my exam tomorrow,” an invisible being reads my mind and intervenes to alter what would otherwise be the course of history in small ways to meet my request.

    (c) You can pray to a dead person for something. This dead person will then ask God to fulfill your wish. If this happens twice, this dead person becomes a saint.

    (d) A god impregnated a virgin with himself, so he could give birth to himself and then sacrifice himself to himself to negate an “original sin” of a couple we now know never existed.

    Q12. If you are worried that your children, who you love very much, will not believe something you tell them, such as "smoking is bad for you," would you:

    (a) have your family doctor explain to them the various ill effects of smoking;

    (b) show them a film produced by the National Insti.tute for Health on the topic;

    (c) set a good example for them by not smoking; or

    (d) refuse to give them any evidence of the ill effects of smoking, insist that they rely entirely on faith and then take them out into the backyard and burn them to death if you ever catch them smoking?

    And, as a bonus question, what would you think of an "all loving Father" who chose option (d)?

    December 20, 2013 at 2:05 pm |
    • Douglas

      Your killing me over here. Thanks for the smiles.

      December 20, 2013 at 2:19 pm |
      • Douglas

        Ahem... "You're" Damned spell check.

        December 20, 2013 at 2:21 pm |
    • Matt H

      Hmm, I deduce you must be an Atheist.

      December 20, 2013 at 2:27 pm |
  15. Crampon

    Good thing he wasn't following the Koran, he be using gays for skeet practice.

    December 20, 2013 at 2:05 pm |
  16. Brian

    Phil for president.

    December 20, 2013 at 2:05 pm |
    • Alias

      President of what?

      December 20, 2013 at 2:09 pm |
      • sly

        ... the Tea Billies call it the Grand Dagon (or Dragon now). The KKK does not have a President.

        December 20, 2013 at 2:13 pm |
  17. J-Man

    Ouch, I just noticed you are writing for CNN Belief. It is funny the only opinion CNN like for this column is that of non-believers.

    December 20, 2013 at 2:05 pm |
  18. Ric

    When are people going to stop referring to that piece of fiction in order to defend their bigotry?!?! People really need to realize that book is nonsense and was created by man to control people. At some point logic and reason have to prevail and I hope to live and see that day. I

    December 20, 2013 at 2:05 pm |
    • Mike again

      Go clean the feces off your junk

      December 20, 2013 at 2:07 pm |
      • Which God?

        Mike, why are you looking at evryone's junk? You must be if you notice the feces there, or do you have a feces and junk fetish?

        December 20, 2013 at 3:14 pm |
    • J-Man

      Fiction? The Bible is thousands of years old. It has more verification that just about any other subject. Things that are in the Bible are constantly being confirmed through new discoveries. To not believe it is true is absolute ignorance beyond belief. It is like you are putting blinders and ignoring the facts in front of your fact. It is amazing when something is discovred that confirms an event that took place over 2,000 years ago. To prevent an eternity in hell you should check that out. Just sayin'

      December 20, 2013 at 2:11 pm |
      • Joey

        They haven't proven any of the important stuff actually happened. They have found some towns and cities and people that actually existed, but I don't find that all that impressive. Should I think that the Greek gods are real because they found Troy?

        December 20, 2013 at 2:15 pm |
        • Ric

          Well said Joey, this guy is a clown!

          December 20, 2013 at 2:18 pm |
      • Ric

        I don't whether to laugh or just feel sorry for you. Nothing in that book has ever been proven and your stupidity is alarming. Maybe one day you will grow up and think with rational thought. You probably think Santa Clause and Tooth Fairy are real (they're not).

        December 20, 2013 at 2:17 pm |
  19. Macmb

    Of course gay christians will read the bible and think it is ok to sodomize each other.

    December 20, 2013 at 2:05 pm |
    • Betty Boop

      gay christian? That's an OXYMORON!

      December 20, 2013 at 2:13 pm |
  20. Mike again

    A So called Christian Gay Activist interpreting the Bible for Cnn...Satan in sheeps clothing

    December 20, 2013 at 2:05 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.