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October 6th, 2010
05:37 PM ET

Christian group pulls support for event challenging homosexuality

CNN's Dan Gilgoff filed this report:

A national Christian organization will stop sponsoring an annual event that encourages school students to "counter the promotion of homosexual behavior" because the event has become too divisive and confrontational, the group's president told CNN on Wednesday.

"All the recent attention to bullying helped us realize that we need to equip kids to live out biblical tolerance and grace while treating their neighbors as they'd like to be treated, whether they agree with them or not," said Alan Chambers, President of Exodus International, the group that sponsored the event this year.

Called the Day of Truth, the annual April event has been pushed by influential conservative Christian groups as a way to counter to the annual Day of Silence, an event promoted by gay rights advocates to highlight threats against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Christianity • Culture wars • Homosexuality • Schools

Justices hear case of anti-gay protests at military funerals
October 6th, 2010
03:33 PM ET

Justices hear case of anti-gay protests at military funerals

Editor's Note: CNN Supreme Court Producer Bill Mears files this report from Washington, DC

The Supreme Court struggled Wednesday to find a constitutional balance between free speech and privacy in a case involving provocative anti-homosexual protests by a small church at the funeral of a soldier who died in Iraq.

Members of the Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church protested outside the court, while inside, one of their members argued they had a right to promote what they called a broad-based message on public matters such as wars.

But the lawyer for the fallen Marine's father argued those protests were an invasion of privacy and an intentional infliction of emotional distress.

"[Justice] Brandeis said the right to be let alone was the most important, and so he must have been thinking there could be a tort [lawsuit] there for interference with privacy," Justice Stephen Breyer noted Wednesday. "And emotional injury, deliberately inflicted, could be one... but I see that in some instances that could be abused to prevent somebody from getting out a public message, and therefore, I'm looking for a line."

Read the full story here.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Church and state • Courts • Homosexuality • Military

October 6th, 2010
08:18 AM ET

My Take: Why a hateful church should win Supreme Court case

Editor's Note: Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion scholar and author of "God is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions that Run the World," is a regular CNN Belief Blog contributor.

By Stephen Prothero, Special to CNN

A few years ago a daughter of the Protestant minister Fred Phelps called to ask me if I would serve as an expert witness on her father’s behalf in a civil lawsuit.

The controversial case concerned picketing by Phelps’ Westboro Baptist Church (WBC) at the Westminster, Maryland, funeral of Lance Corporal Matthew Snyder, who was killed in Iraq in 2006. Brought by Albert Snyder, the father of the deceased soldier, the case accused Phelps and other WBC members with invasion of privacy and the intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Phelps’ daughter wanted me to testify about the history of anti-government protests in the United States.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: Church • Courts • Homosexuality • Islam • Opinion • Religious liberty • Westboro Bapitst Church

October 6th, 2010
07:44 AM ET

Jury to begin deliberating in case of alleged synagogue bomb plot

Editor's Note: CNN's Christina Romano files this report from New York.

Jury deliberations are expected to begin Wednesday in the trial of one of four men charged with plotting to bomb a synagogue and a Jewish community center.

Prosecutors say James Cromitie and three other men spoke extensively about their plans as Shahed Hussain - posing as a representative of a Pakistan-based terrorist group - recorded the discussions.

The lawyer for Cromitie said Monday that testimony from Hussain is "garbage."

"The bottom line is when it comes to Hussain's testimony, it's worthless. It's garbage," lawyer Vincent Briccetti told the jury. "He lied to you."

Prosecutors argued that Hussain had not lied about how much money he told Cromitie, the alleged ringleader of the group, he would be paid for the attack and denied defense contentions that the men were entrapped.

Read the full story here.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Courts • Judaism • New York • United States

October 6th, 2010
07:36 AM ET

October 6th, 2010
07:29 AM ET

Why Sunday morning remains America's most segregated hour

“Sunday morning is the most segregated hour of Christian America.”

That declaration, which has been attributed to Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., used to startle listeners. Now it’s virtually become a cliché. For years, various academic studies and news articles have reported what many churchgoers already know: most American congregations are segregated.

In the latest issue of the academic journal Sociological Inquiry, two professors dug deeper into why Sundays remain so segregated.

FULL POST

- CNN Writer

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Church • Houses of worship • Race

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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.

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