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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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
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.