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November 30th, 2010
08:24 PM ET

Dueling billboards face off in Christmas controversy

From Laura Dolan, CNN

'Tis the season to be jolly? Not entirely.

An atheist billboard that calls Christmas "a myth" has sparked a growing controversy near the Lincoln Tunnel, a 1.5-mile-long twin tube that connects New Jersey to New York.

The full message, which appears with a nativity scene, reads: "You know it's a myth. This season, celebrate reason."

Its $20,000 price tag was paid for by American Atheists, a New Jersey-based atheist advocacy group, David Silverman, the group's president, told CNN.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Atheism • Christmas • Holidays • New Jersey • New York • Unitarian Universalism

Military weighed religious concerns on DADT report
November 30th, 2010
05:13 PM ET

Military weighed religious concerns on DADT report

By CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor Eric Marrapodi in Washington

The Pentagon's long-awaited study on its policy against gay men and lesbians serving openly in the military found that repeal of the controversial policy would face resistance from some service members on religious grounds, but that repeal would not require anyone to change their personal views or religious beliefs.

"Some feared repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell might limit their individual freedom of expression and free exercise of religion, or require them to change their personal beliefs about the morality of homosexuality," the report says. "The views expressed to us in these terms cannot be downplayed or dismissed."

But, it said, "Service members will not be required to change their personal views and religious beliefs; they must, however, continue to respect and serve with others who hold different views and beliefs."

The same holds true for the military's chaplain service, the report says.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Church and state • Holocaust • Military • United States

November 30th, 2010
02:10 PM ET

Opinion: Why the pope said yes on condoms

Editor's note: Dan Madigan is an Australian Jesuit priest who teaches in the theology department of Georgetown University.

If you were to ask a group of Quakers or Mennonites whether it's OK for police or soldiers to use rubber bullets against rock-throwing children, you wouldn't be surprised if they said, "Absolutely not!" They are well-known for their commitment to pacifism.

But what if you were to put the question this way: "When soldiers are firing against demonstrators, would it be better if they used rubber bullets rather than metal?"

"Obviously it is," they would probably say, "But they shouldn't be firing at all in the first place!"

Read the full story

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Catholic Church • Christianity • Pope Benedict XVI

November 30th, 2010
01:03 PM ET

Receiver now says he didn't blame God for dropped ball

By CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor Eric Marrapodi

Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stevie Johnson does not blame God for his bungled catch in a game Sunday, he now says, after an earlier Twitter post put him at the center of controversy.

On Sunday, Johnson dropped a game winning touchdown in the end zone in overtime. He sent this now legendary tweet:

@StevieJohnson13
I PRAISE YOU 24/7!!!!!! AND THIS HOW YOU DO ME!!!!! YOU EXPECT ME TO LEARN FROM THIS??? HOW???!!! ILL NEVER FORGET THIS!! EVER!!! THX THO...

Late Monday he took aim at clarifying his remarks.

learned A lot Within 24hrs. Saw Both Sides.(Ups&Dwns) I AM HAPPY & THANKFUL 4 YESTERDAY! w/out Sunday iWldnt have grew closer w/The Lord!!

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Sports

November 29th, 2010
04:27 PM ET

Judge issues permanent injunction on Oklahoma Sharia law ban

Editor's Note: CNN Supreme Court Producer Bill Mears brings us this report from Washington.

A federal judge in Oklahoma has issued an order putting on hold the certification of a ballot measure that forbids state courts from considering or using international laws, as well as Sharia, or Islamic law.

That permanent injunction will allow the judge more time to consider the constitutional issues raised by State Question 755, which was approved by voters earlier this month.

Judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange had earlier issued a temporary restraining order in favor of the Council of American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), which had sued to nullify the law completely.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Church and state • Courts • Islam • Oklahoma • Politics • Religious liberty • United States

U.S. bishops urge end to Iraqi religious persecution
November 29th, 2010
04:06 PM ET

U.S. bishops urge end to Iraqi religious persecution

Editor's Note: The CNN Wires team brings us this report from Washington.

Leaders of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops endorsed a congressional resolution Monday condemning attacks on religious minorities in Iraq and urging both Iraqi and U.S. government officials to do more to protect religious groups considered to be at risk there. The resolution was introduced shortly before Thanksgiving by a bipartisan group of seven members of Congress.

We welcome "this bipartisan resolution as a way to focus attention on the situation of the vulnerable religious communities in Iraq," the bishops said in a letter to the congressional group.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Bishops • Catholic Church • Christianity • Church • Foreign policy • Iraq • Politics • United States

November 29th, 2010
12:11 PM ET

Poll: Majority support gays serving openly in military

Editor's Note: CNN's Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser files this report on the CNN Political Ticker.

A national poll released Monday indicates that a majority of Americans say they favor allowing gays to serve openly in the armed forces.

The Pew survey's release comes one day before the Pentagon is expected to release a report on how military personnel feel about the "don't ask, don't tell" policy, which bans openly gay troops for serving in the armed forces.

According to the Pew survey, seven in 10 Democrats and more than six in 10 independent voters favor allowing gays to serve openly in the military with Republicans divided on the issue. By a 48 to 34 percent margin, white evangelical Protestants questioned say they oppose allowing gays from serving openly, while majorities or pluralities of other religious groups surveyed favor allowing gays to serve.

Read the full story on CNN's Political Ticker

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Homosexuality • Military

Wide out blames God for dropped ball
November 29th, 2010
11:22 AM ET

Wide out blames God for dropped ball

By CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor Eric Marrapodi

Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stevie Johnson dropped a game-winning touchdown in the end zone Sunday in overtime against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Anyone who has ever tossed the pigskin around in the back yard dreams of that scenario - minus the drop, of course.

Johnson did not even have to work for the ball. Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick's pass was text-book perfect, landing squarely in Johnson's hands.

After the game, Johnson's twitter account filed this faithy tweet:

@StevieJohnson13

I PRAISE YOU 24/7!!!!!! AND THIS HOW YOU DO ME!!!!! YOU EXPECT ME TO LEARN FROM THIS??? HOW???!!! ILL NEVER FORGET THIS!! EVER!!! THX THO...

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: New York • Sports • United States

November 28th, 2010
06:48 PM ET

Oregon mosque attended by bomb plot suspect target of apparent arson

The FBI announced a $10,000 reward Sunday for information leading to the arrest of the person or people responsible for an apparent attack on an Oregon Islamic center that was attended by the man authorities say was behind a foiled bomb plot at a recent Portland Christmas tree lighting.

A fire appears to have started sometime early Sunday morning at the Salman AlFarisi Islamic Center in Corvallis, Oregon, authorities said. The building suffered some fire and smoke damage.

Mohamed Osman Mohamud, who was seized in connection with the plan to detonate what he thought was an explosives-laden van at a Portland tree-lighting ceremony Friday night, occasionally attended the center, the mosque's imam told CNN.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Houses of worship • Mosque • United States • Violence

My Take: How real interfaith dialogue works
November 27th, 2010
07:00 AM ET

My Take: How real interfaith dialogue works

By Dave Schechter, CNN

I’ve thought for some time that if more Americans had personal contact, even friendships, with their fellow Americans who are Muslims there might be less mistrust and misunderstanding about the role Islam plays in their lives.

The years have convinced me that interfaith dialogue, particularly the one-on-one variety, is a more viable way to break down barriers between people than large-scale efforts.

Now, before we go any further: Yes, within a worldwide population of more than 1 billion Muslims (which include a few million in the United States) there are those who, for a variety of reasons, hate the United States, would do it harm or support such action.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Interfaith issues • Islam • Journeys • 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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