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October 29th, 2010
05:28 PM ET

Oklahoma voters face question on Islamic law

Editor's Note: CNN National Security Producer Laurie Ure brings us this report from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Oklahoma voters are considering an unusual question that will appear on their ballots this Tuesday: whether Islamic law can be used in considering cases in state court.

The question is the doing of State Rep. Rex Duncan. The Republican is the main author of State Question 755, also known as the "Save our State" constitutional amendment, one of 11 questions on the state ballot.

The question might seem a befuddling one for a ballot in the heartland, but it stems from a New Jersey legal case in which a Muslim woman went to a family court asking for a restraining order against her spouse claiming he had raped her repeatedly. The judge ruled against her, saying that her husband was abiding by his Muslim beliefs regarding spousal duties. The decision was later overruled by an appellate court, but the case sparked a firestorm.

Duncan secured support for the proposal on the state's Senate side from fellow Republican Anthony Sykes, who co-authored the measure.

Read the full story here.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Church and state • Interfaith issues • Islam • Oklahoma • Politics • United States

Bishop Long talks sex from the pulpit
October 29th, 2010
05:06 PM ET

Bishop Long talks sex from the pulpit

Editor's Note: CNN's John Blake brings us this story from Atlanta, Georgia.

Bishop Eddie Long, his face glistening with sweat, paces onstage before his cheering congregation.

He's preaching about the Bible, the role of a preacher, and "fresh sperm."

"The word of God is potent. The word of God is His sperm," Long thunders. "The job of the preacher is to bring fresh sperm and when he speaks it, the womb - the church - is to take it in and say, 'Sho' you're right.' "

The video of that sermon, delivered during the early days of Long's ministry in the 1990s, has gone viral. And now it is being discussed in the context of four lawsuits that claim the 57-year-old Long used his spiritual authority to coerce four young men into sexual relationships with him.

Long has denied the allegations, characterizing them as assaults against him and New Birth Missionary Church, his 25,000 member megachurch in suburban Atlanta, Georgia.

Read the full story here.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Culture wars • Georgia • Homosexuality • Pastors • United States

October 29th, 2010
03:59 PM ET

Catholic author says his haunted house deepened his faith

From CNN's John Blake:

Gary Jansen walked into his 3-year-old son Eddie’s bedroom one winter night and experienced a strange sensation.

Someone was standing behind him. The sensation was so strong that he jerked his head sideways to see who was there. He saw nothing except a night-light he'd installed in Eddie’s room.

Jansen shrugged it off, but when he grabbed the pair of socks he'd come for he felt something even more eerie.

“As I was walking to the doorway I experienced something quite out of the ordinary - sort of like an electric hand rubbing the length of my back,” he would write later.

FULL POST

- CNN Writer

Filed under: Books • Catholic Church

UN says West Bank site a mosque, but Israel disagrees
October 29th, 2010
03:22 PM ET

UN says West Bank site a mosque, but Israel disagrees

A UN agency's decision to identify a Jewish holy site in the West Bank as a mosque has prompted cries of bias and distortion from Israel.

"It displays brazen political bias and stands in total contradiction to the organization's declared purposes of advancing education, science and culture" said Israeli foreign ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor of a recent statement by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)

In a statement released earlier this week regarding a vote of it's executive board of UNESCO said:

"The Palestinian sites of al-Haram, al-Ibrahimi/Tomb of the Patriarchs in al-Khalil/Hebron and the Bilal bin Rabah Mosque/Rachel's Tomb in Bethlehem: the Board voted 44 to one (12 abstentions) to reaffirm that the two sites are an integral part of the occupied Palestinian Territories and that any unilateral action by the Israeli authorities is to be considered a violation of international law..."

Read the full story

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Houses of worship • Islam • Israel • Middle East • Mosque • Palestinians

October 29th, 2010
03:06 PM ET

Chicago synagogues warned to watch for suspicious packages

Synagogues across metropolitan Chicago, Illinois, began taking "appropriate precautions" Friday after a warning by security officials to watch out for suspicious packages from abroad, according to a Jewish Federation spokeswoman.

While there were "no identifiable or specific threats," an FBI official in Chicago said suspicious packages addressed to U.S. destinations found on cargo planes abroad warranted the precautions.

"Since two of the suspicious packages that were intercepted were addressed to religious institutions in Chicago, all churches, synagogues and mosques in the Chicago area should be vigilant for any unsolicited or unexpected packages, especially those originating from overseas locations," said FBI Special Agent Ross Rice.

Read the full story

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Illinois • Judaism • United States

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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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