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March 7th, 2011
04:11 PM ET

Road trip to the end of the world

If you thought you had less than three perfectly healthy months to live, what would you do? Would you travel? Spend time with loved ones? Appreciate the joy life has given you?

Or would you ditch your kids and grandkids, join strangers in a caravan of RVs and travel the country warning people about the end of the world?

If you're Sheila Jonas, that's exactly what you'd do.

"This is so serious, I can't believe I'm here," says Jonas, who's been on the road since fall. Like her cohorts, she's "in it 'til the end," which she believes is coming in May.

Read the full story
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Bible • Christianity • End times

March 7th, 2011
01:36 PM ET

Muslim hearings: Shining a light or turning up the heat?

Editor's Note: CNN’s Soledad O’Brien chronicles the dramatic fight over the construction of a mosque in the heart of the Bible belt. “Unwelcome: The Muslims Next Door”, airs Sunday, March 27 at 8 p.m. E.T.

By Dave Schechter, CNN Senior National Editor

The inference in the rabbi’s question could not be missed.

“I know that, at the Olympics, when I see the American get a gold medal and they play ‘The Star-Spangled Banner,’ I cry,” the rabbi said. “So my question is, if an American Muslim sees somebody getting a gold medal for the United States and they play ‘The Star-Spangled Banner,’ do they cry?”

The rabbi was one of 200 or so people who came to an Atlanta temple for an event titled “Understanding the Quran,” sponsored by the Southeast Branch of the Anti-Defamation League and the Islamic Speakers Bureau of Atlanta. The question was directed to the guest speaker, an American Muslim professor who teaches about Islam at a highly regarded university near Boston.

Looking around the sanctuary, I saw more than one person among the 200 or so present had arched an eyebrow and displayed a look of amazement that such a question would be asked; some with the particular knowledge that American Jews have faced questions of whether their loyalty is divided between the United States and Israel.

The American Muslim answered politely, telling the rabbi that, yes, he roots for the American athletes to win at the Olympics. “I cry,” the visiting scholar assured him.

I recalled witnessing this exchange back when thinking about the upcoming hearings organized by Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee on whether American Muslims pose a threat to the United States.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: 9/11 • Afghanistan • Iraq • Islam • Muslim • Quran

March 7th, 2011
01:00 PM ET

Muslims anxious, active ahead of radicalization hearings

Editor's Note: CNN’s Soledad O’Brien chronicles the dramatic fight over the construction of a mosque in the heart of the Bible belt. “Unwelcome: The Muslims Next Door”, airs Sunday, March 27 at 8 p.m. E.T.

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Every day this week, American Muslim activists are working overtime to prepare for congressional hearings on "the radicalization of American Muslims" that open Thursday.

Sunday saw Muslim demonstrators gather in New York's rain-drenched Times Square to protest the hearings, standing with celebrities like Russell Simmons and other non-Muslims who held signs declaring "I am Muslim, too."

On Monday, representatives from the Council on American-Islamic Relations - a national Muslim advocacy group - met will sympathetic Capitol Hill staffers to discuss communications strategy and grassroots organizing to counter Islamophia.

On Tuesday, a coalition of major Muslim, interfaith and civil rights groups will announce a new campaign and website to push back against politicians and others they say are trafficking in anti-Muslim rhetoric.

And that's before the hearings even begin.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: 'Ground zero mosque' • 9/11 • Islam • Politics

March 7th, 2011
12:32 PM ET

My Take: Why Jesus needs to be supernatural

Editor's Note: The Rev. Robert Barron, a priest of the Archdiocese of Chicago, is founder of WordOnFire.org and host of the Catholicism Project. He is the Francis Cardinal George Professor of Faith and Culture at Mundelein Seminary.

By the Rev. Robert Barron, Special to CNN

I confess that I was a little surprised when I visited the CNN website and found a feature on John Dominic Crossan, the controversial scholar of the historical Jesus. I was surprised, not so much that Crossan was being profiled, but that the article was not appearing at Christmas or Easter or on the occasion of a papal visit. Dr. Crossan, you see, is a favorite of the mainstream media, who never seem to miss an opportunity to try to debunk classical Christianity, especially on major Christian holidays.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Books • Catholic Church • Christianity • Jesus • Opinion

March 7th, 2011
12:22 PM ET

Road trip to 'doomsday'

CNN's Jessica Ravitz talks with Randi Kaye about riding along with a group who think the world will end May 21. Read her story and learn more about the ways the world could end.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Death • End times

Gary Busey: I'm praying for Charlie Sheen
Like Sheen, Gary Busey has had his fair share of quotable moments over his career.
March 7th, 2011
11:26 AM ET

Gary Busey: I'm praying for Charlie Sheen

You know you may be in serious trouble if Gary Busey starts worrying about you.

"Charlie is in a tailspin," the former Hollywood bad boy tells PEOPLE of the recent behavior of Charlie Sheen. "Charlie's got to understand what the truth is. The beautiful thing about the truth is that it requires no questions."

Speaking at Las Vegas's Surrender nightclub at the launch party for "Celebrity Apprentice" on Saturday, Busey says he's known the "Two and a Half Men" star for 30 years.

Read the full story
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Prayer

Philadelphia archdiocese to face new claims in child sex abuse allegations
Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua, a former archbishop, is named in the lawsuit.
March 7th, 2011
11:24 AM ET

Philadelphia archdiocese to face new claims in child sex abuse allegations

Attorneys said they will announce a new lawsuit Monday against the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, which has been the subject of a two-year grand jury investigation into claims officials ignored and covered up sex crimes against children.

"The Lawsuit will allege that Archdiocese officials conspired to endanger the safety of the Plaintiff when they actively concealed their knowledge of (a) priest's previous offenses, lied to parishioners, and created a sham sexual abuse victim assistance program for the Archdiocese," according to a news release announcing the lawsuit.

The lawsuit does not identify the plaintiff, but describes him as "an adult male individual who is a citizen and resident of the State of Delaware."

Read the full story
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Catholic Church • Sex abuse

March 7th, 2011
06:00 AM ET

Meet America's top exorcist, the inspiration for 'The Rite'

Editor's Note: This story comes from a new CNN Special, "Stories Reporter," with Tom Foreman which features an in-depth look at the news of the day.

By Tom Foreman, CNN

The sun was shining on the Santa Cruz Mountains. The freeway from the San Francisco airport to San Jose was still buzzing in my ears when I stepped into the parking lot of an unassuming church and the most famous exorcist in America walked up.

“Hello, I’m Father Gary Thomas.”  At 57 years old, he has an easy smile, an abiding love for the Giants and strong convictions about the nature of evil.

"You believe there is a devil?"  I ask him as we settle in at a small, beautiful chapel near the church.

“Yes.”

“You believe that this devil acts upon people?”

“Correct.”

He says it with the certainty that I reserve for answers to questions like, “Did you bring your lunch?” but that’s no surprise.  He has faced skeptics many times and never more than now, because his life and training as an exorcist in Rome are the inspiration behind the Hollywood film "The Rite."

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Catholic Church • Christianity • Devil • Mass • Movies • Vatican

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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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