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February 2nd, 2011
04:55 PM ET

Rep. Giffords' husband to address National Prayer Breakfast

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' husband will speak at the Thursday's National Prayer Breakfast in Washington on the congresswoman's behalf, her office announced Wednesday.

Capt. Mark Kelly, a NASA astronaut, will deliver closing prayer at the event, the Arizona congresswoman's office said in a statement.

President Barack Obama will also speak at the breakfast, an annual event in Washington for 58 years.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Barack Obama • Politics

February 2nd, 2011
11:32 AM ET

Mitt Romney on politics of Mormonism

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN Belief Blog co-editor

As Mitt Romney eyes a 2012 presidential bid, he is facing the so-called Mormon question again, just as he did during his unsuccessful bid for the 2008 Republican nomination.

Embarking on a media tour to promote his new book - and, in the process, testing a potential White House run - the former Massachusetts governor is reprising lines on his Mormon faith from his last bout as presidential contender.

Here's what Romney told CNN's Piers Morgan Tuesday night when asked whether his Mormon beliefs would be a potential stumbling block with voters should he seek the presidency:

I can’t judge the politics - I don’t know the answer to that. My experience so far both in Massachusetts running as a Mormon guy in a state that’s overwhelmingly of other faiths is it didn't seem to get in my way there. Most people in country recognize that in fact the nation itself was founded on the principle of religious tolerance and freedom. We respect other people beliefs and in a lot of cases people who honor faith and try and be true to it.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Mitt Romney • Mormonism • Politics

My Take: Egypt 2011 is not Iran 1979
February 2nd, 2011
09:38 AM ET

My Take: Egypt 2011 is not Iran 1979

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

Americans are understandably both manic and depressed about recent developments in Egypt. The mania comes from 1776 and our own history of casting off a Pharaoh in the name of freedom. The depression comes compliments of 1979 and Iran, which saw populist street protests against a pro-American dictator co-opted into an Islamic Republic deeply hostile to the West.

And there are parallels between Iran back then and Egypt today. Both are large countries with sizeable, largely Islamic populations. And the leading opposition party in Egypt is the Muslim Brotherhood.

But Arab Egypt is not Persian Iran, for the following four reasons:

One: Sunnis are not Shiites.

While Iran is roughly 90% Shia, Egypt is roughly 90% Sunni, and these two branches of Islam are very different politically. These differences between Sunnis and Shias are too numerous and nuanced to catalog here, but among the differences is that, for the Shia, religious power is concentrated in a powerful leader called the imam while, for the Sunni religious authority resides in the Islamic community as a whole.  As a result, Sunni history is largely lacking in figures such as the Grand Ayatollah Khomeini (“Imam Khomeini” to Iranians). And Egyptians are not likely to cotton to theocracy.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: Egypt • Iran • Islam

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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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