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My Take: Remembering the Rev. Peter Gomes
The Rev. Peter Gomes, Harvard University's chaplain for more than 30 years, died Monday at age 68.
March 1st, 2011
04:43 PM ET

My Take: Remembering the Rev. Peter Gomes

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

The Rev. Peter Gomes, who died Monday from complications arising from a stroke at age 68, may not have been “America’s chaplain” — that title belongs to Billy Graham — but he was Harvard’s for three and a half decades.

He was also sui generis — of his own kind. Officially, Gomes was the Plummer Professor of Christian Morals and Pusey Minister in the Memorial Church at Harvard University. But he was also gay, black, Baptist and, for much of his adult life, Republican. Fascinated by the pilgrims, he made his home in Plymouth, Massachusetts.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: Baptist • Christianity • Education • Gay rights • Homosexuality • Politics

Organization alleges church official 'concealed child sex crimes'
A victims' rights group is calling for an investigation of retired Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua, shown here in 2002.
March 1st, 2011
03:42 PM ET

Organization alleges church official 'concealed child sex crimes'

From Logan Burruss, CNN

A victims' rights organization is calling for further investigation of a former archbishop of Philadelphia, claiming records show that he ignored and covered up sex crimes against children "from the earliest days of his career."

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) says documents obtained from an alleged victim in a Florida civil case show that authorities in Pennsylvania and New York should investigate retired Roman Catholic Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua.

Bevilacqua, now 87 and reportedly in ill health, was one of the subjects of a two-year Philadelphia grand jury investigation that ended just two weeks ago. The grand jury - despite finding that there was "no doubt" Bevilacqua "endangered thousands of children in the Philadelphia Archdiocese" by his actions while archbishop - declined "for now" to press charges against him.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Catholic Church • Pennsylvania • Sex abuse • United States

Catholic Church voices support for unions, to a point
Milwaukee Archbishop Jerome L. Listecki says there's “moral obligation… to respect the legitimate rights of workers.”
March 1st, 2011
01:40 PM ET

Catholic Church voices support for unions, to a point

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

With the Roman Catholic Church in the United States mostly identifying with conservative political causes these days - think abortion or gay marriage - seeing the American bishops come out for union workers battling Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker came as something of a surprise, a throwback to an era when the church was pretty well aligned with the American left.

“These are not just political conflicts or economic choices; they are moral choices with enormous human dimensions,” Bishop Stephen E. Blaire of Stockton, California, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, said in a public letter last week.

“The debates over worker representation and collective bargaining are not simply matters of ideology or power, but involve principles of justice, participation and how workers can have a voice in the workplace and economy,” his letter said.

At the same time, the bishops are not actively lobbying on behalf of labor in Wisconsin or in other states where union/statehouse battles are playing out.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Bishops • Catholic Church • Politics • United States

March 1st, 2011
12:27 PM ET

West Virginia students protest 10 Commandments' removal

From CNN affiliate WVVA.

The Giles County School Board voted Tuesday to removed framed copies of the Ten Commandments from its schools - for the second time in as many months. Now some students are speaking out against the decision.

Some students have posted the Ten Commandments on their lockers. One group from Narrows and Giles have ordered t-shirts to express their opinions on the issue.

The commandments were first removed in December, 2010 after a complaint.

Read the full story about West Virginia students protesting the Ten Commandments' removal
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Catholic Church • Homosexuality • Pennsylvania • United States

March 1st, 2011
11:27 AM ET

Dior moves to fire Galliano after Hitler comments

Paris (CNN) - Christian Dior has started proceedings to fire designer John Galliano after he was filmed making anti-Semitic comments in a Paris restaurant, the fashion giant said Tuesday.

The company condemned his "deeply offensive statements and conduct" in a statement announcing the plan to fire him.

The statement came hours after Oscar-winning actress Natalie Portman condemned Galliano's praise of Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler.

"I love Hitler," Galliano said in a video obtained by Britain's Sun newspaper. "Your mother, your forefathers would be f-ing gassed and f-ing dead."

Read the full story about Dior moving to fire Galliano over his Hitler comments
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Judaism • Prejudice

Christian author's book sparks charges of heresy
Rob Bell is under fire for his latest book before it even hits the shelves.
March 1st, 2011
06:00 AM ET

Christian author's book sparks charges of heresy

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Rob Bell, a pastor and author who has achieved rock star status in the Christian world, is preaching a false gospel, his critics say. And some of those critics are Christian rock stars in their own right.

The pastor of Mars Hill Bible Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Bell has authored a book called Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived, which ignited a firestorm of controversy over the weekend, weeks before it arrives in bookstores.

On Saturday, in a blog post on the popular Christian website The Gospel Coalition, Justin Taylor blasted Bell's new book, out March 29, for teaching "false doctrine":

I’m glad that Rob Bell has the integrity to be lay [sic] his cards on the table about universalism. It seems that this is not just optimism about the fate of those who haven’t heard the Good News, but (as it seems from below) full-blown hell-is-empty-everyone-gets-saved universalism.

Universalism, in its broadest terms, preaches that everyone goes to heaven and that there is no hell. Critics say it represents a break from traditional Christianity, which they say holds that heaven and hell are very real places. In most Christian circles, universalism is a dirty word.

Taylor's post was quickly tweeted by several prominent pastors, including John Piper and Mark Driscoll, connected to the Gospel Coalition, a coalition of theologically conservative evangelical churches, and a full-blown theological controversy was on. By Monday, Taylor's response post had racked up a quarter million hits.

Other bloggers, meanwhile, are calling Bell an outright heretic.

Bell is not the first prominent Christian pastor to be recently accused of wading into theologically troubled waters. FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Leaders • Michigan • 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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