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February 28th, 2011
11:13 AM ET

Opinion: Arab youth want democracy, not theocracy

By John L. Esposito, Special to CNN
Editor's note: John L. Esposito is professor of Religion and International Affairs and director of Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal center for Muslim-Christian understanding at Georgetown University. His most recent book is "The Future of Islam."

Hosni Mubarak's resignation resurrected a tsunami wave of articles and commentaries on whether Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood would now come to power. And yet, few have asked why the primary leaders of grassroots revolt in Egypt and across the Arab world curiously have not been Islamic organizations.

Authoritarian rulers in the Arab world, like Egypt's Hosni Mubarak, Tunisia's Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and Libya's Moammar Gadhafi, have long justified their repressive governments by warning the United States and Europe that the alternative to their governments was "chaos" and an Islamist takeover.

The new generation of Arab youth and their supporters, however diverse and different, is united in its desire to topple entrenched autocrats and corrupt governments.

Read the full story
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Islam • Opinion • Uncategorized

New budget campaign asks 'What would Jesus cut?'
Progressive evangelical Rev. Jim Wallis is spearheading the "What would Jesus cut?" campaign.
February 28th, 2011
10:11 AM ET

New budget campaign asks 'What would Jesus cut?'

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

A coalition of progressive Christian leaders has taken out a full-page ad that asks “What would Jesus cut?” in Monday’s edition of Politico, the opening salvo in what the leaders say will be a broader campaign to prevent cuts for the poor and international aid programs amid the budget battle raging in Washington.

“They’re talking about cutting bed nets for malaria and leaving every piece of military spending untouched,” said the Rev. Jim Wallis, who leads the Christian group Sojourners, referring to Republican spending proposals for the rest of this year.

“Are we saying that every piece of military equipment is more important than bed nets, children’s health and nutrition for low-income families?” said Wallis, whose group paid for Monday’s ad. “If so they should be ashamed of themselves.”

The ad and the broader campaign are aimed mostly at a spending measure passed by the Republican-led House of Representatives that cuts $61 billion from current spending levels, including cuts to Head Start, the Women Infants and Children (WIC) program and international aid programs.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Uncategorized

February 28th, 2011
08:27 AM ET

Fate vs. free will in 'The Adjustment Bureau'

The new movie "The Adjustment Bureau" with Matt Damon aks whether our lives are pre-determined or if we have free will.

CNN's Fredricka Whitfield speaks with the film's screenwriter and a pastor in this week's installment of Faces of Faith.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Celebrity • Christianity • Faith Now • Movies • TV-CNN Newsroom • United States

My take: Why this female priest loves 'Sister Wives'
February 28th, 2011
06:00 AM ET

My take: Why this female priest loves 'Sister Wives'

Editor's Note: Danielle Elizabeth Tumminio is ordained in the Episcopal Church and has taught a variety of educational institutions, including Yale University. She is also the author of "God and Harry at Yale: Faith and Fiction in the Classroom."

By Danielle Elizabeth Tumminio, Special to CNN

“Sister Wives” is virtually sacred time in my home. When it’s on, I refuse to answer the phone or move from the couch, and anyone who talks risks both a DVR rewind and a scornful look for interrupting the episode’s flow.

I admit that referring to any television viewing as “sacred time” is a bit sacrilegious, especially coming from an Episcopal priest. But I can’t help it — I’m so fascinated by this show that I’ve seen every episode twice (including the honeymoon special), researched fundamentalist Mormon wedding rituals, and dreamed of visiting the cake tasting bakery.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints • Culture & Science • Episcopal • Fundamentalism • Mormonism • My Take • TV

John Dominic Crossan's 'blasphemous' portrait of Jesus
February 27th, 2011
09:06 PM ET

John Dominic Crossan's 'blasphemous' portrait of Jesus

By John Blake, CNN

One of his first fan letters came from someone who declared:

"If Hell were not already created, it should be invented just for you."

Other critics have called him "demonic," "blasphemous" and a "schmuck."

When John Dominic Crossan was a teenager in Ireland, he dreamed of becoming a missionary priest. But the message he's spreading about Jesus today isn't the kind that would endear him to many church leaders.

Read the full story on Jesus scholar John Dominic Crossan
- CNN Writer

Filed under: Books • Christianity • Culture & Science • Faith Now

Can religious conservatives learn to love Newt?
February 27th, 2011
02:27 PM ET

Can religious conservatives learn to love Newt?

By Richard Allen Greene, CNN

There was one name on almost everyone's lips when I atteneded CPAC, the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, D.C., four years ago: Newt Gingrich.

The man who engineered the Republican takeover of the House of Representatives in 1994, ending two generations of Democratic control, didn't throw his hat into the ring for 2008, but there are signs he plans to do so for 2012.

And that raises a critical question: Can religious conservatives learn to love a man who is twice divorced, carried on an affair while criticizing Bill Clinton over Monica Lewinsky and battled House ethics panel allegations throughout his four years as Speaker of the House?

FULL POST

- Newsdesk editor, The CNN Wire

Filed under: Catholic Church • Faith Now • Newt Gingrich • Politics • United States

Muslim television preacher returns to Egypt
Amr Khaled urged youth to practice peaceful coexistence and be tolerant of different cultures and ideas.
February 26th, 2011
12:57 PM ET

Muslim television preacher returns to Egypt

By Lauren E. Bohn, Special to CNN

As Egyptians returned to Tahrir Square to push for the realization of more political demands, one of the world’s most influential Muslim television preachers delivered his first address in Egypt since President Hosni Mubarak left office.

“I don’t have a stronger message than this: Kill yourself working for Egypt,” Amr Khaled told a crowd of thousands.

Khaled traveled to Sohag, a poor governorate in Upper Egypt, for the first time to deliver lectures. He announced the launch of a microfinance project and literacy and politic awareness campaigns.

Hagar Ashraf, 15, said it was the best day of her life. “It’s the first time to see him. I always saw him on television talking about hope,” she said. ‘That’s why I love him. Just hope. Nothing more.”

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Egypt • Islam

February 25th, 2011
04:55 PM ET

Your thoughts on 'The Adjustment Bureau' and fate vs. free will

Check out this preview of this week’s Faces of Faith segment about the new Matt Damon movie The Adjustment Bureau and let us know what you think on the question of fate versus free will, one of the movie’s big themes.

Watch the full segment this Sunday at 7 a.m., which will feature actor Anthony Mackie and director/screenwriter George Nolfi. We’ll read some of your comments on air.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Movies

Beck: 'I blew it' comparing rabbis to Islamic radicals
Glenn Beck at last summer's 'Restoring Honor' rally.
February 25th, 2011
12:07 PM ET

Beck: 'I blew it' comparing rabbis to Islamic radicals

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Glenn Beck is apologizing for remarks he made on his radio show comparing rabbis from a major Jewish tradition to Islamic radicals, saying, “I was wrong on this and I also apologize for it.”

“In this case I didn’t do enough homework,” Beck told radio listeners on Thursday, while his website said his comments contained “one of the worst analogies of all time.”

On Tuesday, Beck said on his show that “reformed rabbis are generally political in nature.”

“It's almost like Islam - radicalized Islam,” he continued, “in a way to where radicalized Islam is less about religion than it is about politics."

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Faith Now • Holocaust • Judaism

February 25th, 2011
10:24 AM ET

Church leader reverses stance on HIV, reaches out to those affected

HIV is a curse from God. That's what Patricia Sawo used to tell others as a church leader in Kitale, Kenya.

"I thought it was a moral issue and a punishment for the disobedient," Sawo remembers.

Then one morning in 1999, Sawo awoke to find her body covered in shingles, a rash commonly associated with HIV. Scared and upset, she cried in the bathroom for two hours. A test soon confirmed her fears: She was HIV-positive.

"I couldn't believe it," said Sawo, now 45. "It was, 'Oh my God, how could this happen to me?' "

Read the full story
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Africa • HIV • Kenya

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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 and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.

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