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October 21st, 2010
03:14 PM ET

Churches contribute to gay suicides, most Americans believe

Fort Worth Texas Councilman Joel Burns’ videotaped story about being gay and bullied as a child recently went viral on the internet.

Two out of three Americans believe gay people commit suicide at  least partly because of messages coming out of churches and other places of  worship, a survey released Thursday found.

More than four out of 10 Americans say the message coming out of churches  about gay people is negative, and about the same number say those messages  contribute "a lot" to negative perceptions of gay and lesbian people.

Catholics were the most critical of their own churches' messages on  homosexuality, while white evangelical Christians gave their churches the  highest grades, the survey found.

The Public Religion Research Institute asked 1,017 Americans their views  on religion and homosexuality between October 14 and 17, in the wake of a highly publicized rash of suicides by gay people.

FULL POST

- Newsdesk editor, The CNN Wire

Filed under: Catholic Church • Gay rights • Polls • United States

October 21st, 2010
02:32 PM ET

Debt worse than racism?

African Americans manage to accumulate, on average, less than $75,000 dollars than whites. It's called the "Wealth Gap." Wealth is everything you own of value minus debt. There is a pastor in New Jersey who has made it his mission to help increase African American wealth by 'waging war" on debt in the African American community. He believes "debt is a bigger problem than racism," and that "debt is slavery." His name is Rev. Buster Soaries and he runs First Church of Lincoln Gardens, the church that is the focus of "Almighty Debt."

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Baptist • Church

October 21st, 2010
02:28 PM ET

Past inspires modern solutions for historic black church

This old Southern city is still waking up when the first members drift into the church basement. They turn on the lights, pull metal chairs across the wooden floor and settle in with paper cups of coffee and the weight of the week.

There's work or not enough work. Diabetes. Tonight's dinner and tomorrow's, too. Parents in prison, neighbors just getting out. Kids who want some faraway, high-cost college and kids who don't want to get out of bed on Sundays. Then there's money - always, forever money - to think about. They've heard weekly sermons about how to plan, overcome and grow, but the lessons really start to apply in Bible study, like today, when they'll pore over a line and relate it back to the messy, wonderful business of living.

Read the full story

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Baptist • Faith

October 21st, 2010
02:23 PM ET

My Take: NPR's firing of Williams imperils national conversation on Islam

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

I don’t know the heart of Juan Williams. Neither do I know whether NPR fired him because he said on the “The O’Reilly Factor” on Monday that seeing people on planes in traditional Muslim garb makes him nervous, or because of an accumulation of immoderate things he has said in the past on the Fox News Channel.

But NPR made a mistake either way. It was wrong to fire Williams for giving voice to fears that many other Americans, on both the left and the right, share.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: Islam

Dalai Lama: Larger than life, profoundly human
October 21st, 2010
12:02 PM ET

Dalai Lama: Larger than life, profoundly human

I try to make it a practice not to name drop, but on Monday I spent a half-hour talking to the Dalai Lama.

It wasn’t exactly a private affair - 2,000 people more or less were in the audience listening, but one of the remarkable things about big meetings with the Dalai Lama is that once you start talking with him you get this eerie feeling that he and his translator are the only people in the auditorium.

Why are so many of us profoundly moved in his presence?

Well, first off, one of his most often used titles is “kundun” which in Tibetan simply means “presence." So that’s the first thing.

But on a more down-to-earth level, I think all of our expectations are scrambled when we run into one of the most famous people in the world who says whatever he pleases and acts however he wants.

Read the full story

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Buddhism • Culture & Science • Leaders

NPR analyst fired over Muslim comment
October 21st, 2010
11:56 AM ET

NPR analyst fired over Muslim comment

National Public Radio said it terminated the contract of a news analyst after he said on a Fox News show that he gets nervous when he sees people with Muslim garb on planes.

Juan Williams had worked at NPR for a long time, but his other job as an analyst on the "largely conservative and often contentious prime time talk shows of Fox News has long been a sore point with NPR News executives," an article on NPR's website said.

Read the full story

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Islam • Leaders • Radio

October 21st, 2010
09:56 AM ET

Man saved by God, and by dog who says grace

By Jessica Ravitz, CNN

The video was meant to simply make some Facebook friends, and his mother in particular, smile.

Steven Boyd, 39, had taught his dog Djaingo how to "say grace," and one late September morning, camera in hand, he coaxed the sleepy pup out to the living room and into prayer.

Front paws on Boyd's thigh, head bowed, man and dog offered up these words:

Thank you for allowing us to be the man and puppy you've allowed us to be. Father, thank you for our friends and family, their prayers and support and energy that they give us… Father, I do ask a special prayer that you help me to not chase the neighbor's cat and to listen to my master whenever he asks me to do anything.

FULL POST

- CNN Writer/Producer

Filed under: Christianity • Faith • Prayer • Technology

October 21st, 2010
07:00 AM ET

My Take: Christianity not to blame for anti-gay bullying

Editor's Note: Jim Daly is president of Focus on the Family and author of Stronger: Trading Brokenness for Unbreakable Strength (David C. Cook, 2010).

By Jim Daly, Special to CNN

Bullies are, and always have been, a sad reality of life. They are also, courtesy of a handful of tragic news stories in recent months, major headline-generators right now. In the wake of the highly publicized suicides of some young gays outed or taunted by bullies, those who pick on people they perceive as “weird” or “weak” have rightfully come under fire. But so has the Christian faith, and there’s nothing right about that.

It has been suggested by some that Christianity itself is to blame for these tragedies - and that is its own separate tragedy. The train of thought goes like this: Churches and organizations like the one I lead, which believe Scripture places homosexual activity outside of God’s design for human sexuality, are responsible for the bullying of gay students and, by extension, their deaths.

As provocative as that narrative may be, and it certainly has ginned up quite a lot of controversy of late, it is not accurate. Not only is Christianity not to blame for attacks against gays and lesbians, when properly interpreted and practiced, it is the cure for and solution to the mistreatment and abuse of anyone, for any reason.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Homosexuality • Opinion

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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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