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February 24th, 2011
04:59 PM ET

Man who threatened 'South Park' creators gets 25 years in prison

A 21-year-old man who admitted posting online threats against the creators of the animated TV series "South Park" was sentenced Thursday to 25 years in prison.

Zachary Adam Chesser encouraged violent jihadists to attack "South Park" writers for an episode that depicted the Prophet Mohammed in a bear suit, court documents said.

Read the full story
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Islam

Study: Top 5 religion stories of 2010
Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, who led the proposal for an Islamic center near ground zero last year.
February 24th, 2011
04:38 PM ET

Study: Top 5 religion stories of 2010

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Four of the top five religion stories of 2010 - the ones that got the most ink - involved Islam, according to a major study out Thursday about faith coverage in the news.

Another headline from the study, conducted by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism and the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life: For the first time since 2007, neither the Roman Catholic Church nor religion’s role in U.S. politics were the No. 1 topic of faith coverage among major news media.

Here are the top 5 religion stories from 2010, according to the study, which examined more than 50,000 stories from newspapers, news websites, newscasts on network and cable TV and radio programming.

1. Controversy over a proposed Islamic center near New York's ground zero (23% of coverage)

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Islam

'Islam's Billy Graham' to address Egyptians on Friday
Amr Khaled in Cairo, Egypt in 2006.
February 24th, 2011
04:29 PM ET

'Islam's Billy Graham' to address Egyptians on Friday

By Lauren E. Bohn, for CNN

Cairo, Egypt - One of the world’s most influential Muslim television preachers - sometimes called Islam's Billy Graham - is scheduled to deliver a major address in Egypt on Friday for the first time since President Hosni Mubarak left office.

Amr Khaled, best known for his popular television shows promoting activism and self-improvement throughout the Middle East, returned to Cairo on January 28 to show his support for the revolution that wound up sweeping Mubarak from power this month.

One of TIME Magazine's most 100 influential people in 2007, Khaled was banned from speaking in his native Egypt for the past eight years.

Over those years, the sharp-suited 43-year-old, heralded by many in the West as a voice of Islamic moderation, has turned into something of a rock star.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Africa • Egypt • Islam • Politics

Huckabee defends Obama's Christianity
February 24th, 2011
03:28 PM ET

Huckabee defends Obama's Christianity

If President Obama is looking for a conservative endorsement, he might find it from potential GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee – at least on the issue of family values.

During a speech at the National Press Club Thursday, Huckabee said it's time for some conservatives to quit questioning the president's Christian faith and added he thinks Obama is a role model for the "primacy of the American family."

"He has personally articulated, not once but numerous times, of his Christian faith. I take him at his word. I have no reason not to. For us to continue to dwell on that is missing the point. I have no disagreement with President Obama as a human being. In fact, I will go so far to say one of the things I respect very much is the role model that he has served as a husband and father," the conservative Republican said during the midday speech in Washington, DC.

Read the full story
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Barack Obama • Christianity • Mike Huckabee • Politics

Glenn Beck meets with the Rev. Billy Graham
Glenn Beck at last August's 'Restoring Honor' rally. Billy Graham in 2005.
February 24th, 2011
12:29 PM ET

Glenn Beck meets with the Rev. Billy Graham

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Conservative media star Glenn Beck is Mormon, but it's his first-ever meeting with an evangelical icon that has him gushing this week: a three-hour sit down with the Rev. Billy Graham.

The chat comes after Beck used his huge "Restoring Honor" rally in Washington last summer to build major bridges to the evangelical world, positioning himself as a new leader for Christian conservatives.

Given longstanding tensions between Mormons and evangelicals - Mormons consider themselves Christians, but many evangelicals do not - it seemed an unlikely role for Beck. But many prominent evangelicals have embraced him, with Beck organizing leading religious conservatives, mostly evangelicals, into a fledgling group called the Black Robed Regiment.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Christianity • Leaders • Mormonism • Politics

February 24th, 2011
11:33 AM ET

Nun turns 103, dances polka

A Connecticut nun celebrated her 103rd birthday in a way most people her age probably couldn't - dancing to polka.

WTNH reports.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Catholic Church

Jailed polygamist retakes control of church, ousts 30 members
Polygamist leader Warren Jeffs is awaiting trial in Texas on charges of sexual assault and bigamy.
February 24th, 2011
11:28 AM ET

Jailed polygamist retakes control of church, ousts 30 members

Polygamist leader Warren Jeffs is not only running the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, but he has also ousted up to 30 high-ranking members he considered a threat to his leadership, two well-placed sources tell CNN.

Jeffs, who is scheduled to go to trial this year on sexual assault and bigamy charges, is running the affairs of the church from his jail cell in Texas, the sources said.

Jeffs gave up control of the splinter sect that advocates plural marriages, including marriages that involve girls younger than 18, after he was convicted in 2007 of rape as accomplice. That conviction was overturned last year.

Read the full story about Jeffs retaking control of his church

February 24th, 2011
11:07 AM ET

Protests over congressional Muslim hearings

Rep. Peter King's office in New York draws protests over hearings on the radicalization of Muslims.

CNN's Mary Snow has more.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Interfaith issues • Muslim • New York • TV-The Situation Room • United States

Spirituality at the Oscars: What the nominations mean
"Toy Story 3" captured the hearts of movie goers and is nominated for a best film Academy Award.
February 24th, 2011
09:40 AM ET

Spirituality at the Oscars: What the nominations mean

By Lisa Respers France, CNN

None of the movies nominated for a best film Academy Award this year have been labeled “religious,” but many have deeply spiritual overtones.

Even “Toy Story 3?” Yes, even that wildly popular animated film manages to sneak in a message about faith and friendship.

“It’s kind of an unusual year - almost  all of the top films have relatively little explicit religious dimensions to them,” said Brent Plate, a writer who teaches religious studies at Hamilton College in Clinton, New York. “But these films are asking the same questions that religions ask: Where did we come from, how did we get here, where are we going and who are we?”

The film industry is among the contemporary “secular” institutions that have taken on a religious function, says Christopher Deacy in his book “Faith in Film.” As a result, he argues, “movies do raise vital questions about the spiritual landscape and normative values of society today.”

This season’s crop of Oscar nominees, which will vie  for top honors on Sunday, could very well be used to bolster that theory. They explore themes that many contain elements of spirituality.

FULL POST

- Lisa Respers France, CNN.com writer

Filed under: Celebrity • Culture & Science • Movies

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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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