Press Release

CNN’s Eric Marrapodi Receives Excellence in Religious Journalism Award

Media Contact

Ryan Colby 202-349-7219

For Immediate Release: September 19, 2013
Media Contact:
Stephanie Caluag,

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Tonight Becket awarded Eric Marrapodi, CNN’s Senior Producer and founding Co-Editor of its Belief Blog, with the first annual Vine & Fig Tree Award for his excellence in religious liberty reporting. Washington Post’s ‘On Faith’ Editor, Sally Quinn, presented the award at the Four Seasons Hotel in Georgetown following a champagne toast held in his honor. Over 150 journalists and Washington D.C. insiders attended the cocktail reception.

“Eric really gets it. He understands that everything is about religion. It touches all of our lives, not only in this country but all over the world,” said Sally Quinn, editor of Washington Post’s ‘On Faith.’ “I defy anyone to tell me a story that I can’t find a faith angle.”

Launched in 2010 by Marrapodi, CNN’s Belief Blog offers insight into hidden faith issues and receives an average of 7 million page views per month. Becket’s Vine & Fig Tree Award recognizes Marrapodi for his relentless reporting on all religious issues faced in a diverse society.

The title “Vine & Fig” comes from George Washington’s letter to Hebrew Congregations in 1790 in which our first President laid out the meaning of religious liberty: “Every one shall sit in safety under his own vine and fig tree, and there shall be none to make him afraid. …For happily the Government of the United States gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance.”

Becket’s mission is the defense of the First Amendment right to religious liberty. But tonight’s award is not about us or our mission. We are not here promoting or celebrating religious liberty. This award is about recognizing the value of speaking about and reporting on religion in America,” said Bill Mumma, President of Becket. “Journalists like Sally Quinn and Eric Marrapodi, who devote great care to reporting on religion, are providing invaluable insight into a turbulent topic. It’s essential to honor their efforts, because this story really needs to be told.”

This is Becket’s first annual Vine & Fig Tree Award for excellence in religious liberty reporting.


Becket is a non-profit, public-interest law firm dedicated to protecting the free expression of all religious traditions—from Anglicans to Zoroastrians. For 18 years its attorneys are recognized as experts in the field of church-state law, and they recently won a 9-0 victory in Hosanna-Tabor v. EEOC, which The Wall Street Journal called one of “the most important religious liberty cases in a half century.”

For more information, or to arrange an interview with one of the attorneys, please contact Stephanie Caluag, Communications Assistant, at or call 202.349.7226.