May 18th, 2011
09:09 PM ET
San Francisco voters will decide whether to ban male circumcision in the November 8 municipal election.
Activists gathered enough signatures to put a proposal on the ballot, the city's election board confirmed Wednesday.
The measure aims to prohibit all male circumcisions in San Francisco. Led by Lloyd Schofield who is part of a Bay Area “inactivist” group, the advocates want to eliminate the surgery and liken it to "male genital mutilation."
Schofield and the "inactivists" seek to make it "unlawful to circumcise, excise, cut, or mutilate the whole or any part of the foreskin, testicles, or penis" of anyone 17 or younger in San Francisco. Under the proposal, a person who violates the proposed ban could be jailed (not more than one year) or fined (not more than $1,000). Exemptions for religious reasons would not be allowed.Read the full story on San Francisco's proposed circumcision ban on the CNN's Chart blog
May 18th, 2011
08:13 PM ET
By Jay Kernis, CNN
From CNN's In the Arena blog: Answering today’s OFF-SET questions is Harold Camping, 89, President of Family Stations, Inc.
Camping received a B.S. degree in Civil Engineering from the University of California at Berkeley in 1942. In 1958, after managing a construction business, Camping, along with two others, formed the non-profit ministry of Family Stations, Inc., a Christian educational network. In 1961, Family Radio began the Open Forum program, a live weeknight call-in program hosted by Camping, and broadcast on the more than 140 stations owned by Family Radio in the U.S., and heard worldwide via shortwave and a network of AM/FM stations.
Based on your study of the Bible, you have determined that May 21, 2011 is Judgment Day–that God will completely destroy the Earth. What do you predict will happen as clocks turn to 6 pm?
We cannot say emphatically that it’s 6 pm. There’s a lot of information that looks at the probability of 6 pm in any city in the world–when that great earthquake will occur. It could be that it might be just one great earthquake, but there is enough evidence in the Bible that says it will begin at one point in the world, and it could be at 6 pm—that’s a great possibility. Then as it gets to be May 21 in any other country—there will be a great earthquake there.Read the full interview with Harold Camping at CNN's In the Arena blog
May 18th, 2011
04:16 PM ET
By Joe Sterling, CNN
(CNN) - The political tension bubbling across Tunisia, Libya and the rest of North Africa has forced the cancellation of an annual Jewish pilgrimage to a historic synagogue on the Tunisian island of Djerba.
Roger Bismuth, a leader in the Tunisian Jewish community, said the community is concerned about the possibility of disruptions amid the ferment in Tunisia and the warfare in nearby Libya.
"We are scared people will take the opportunity to do something," said Bismuth, leader of a community that endured a deadly 2002 al Qaeda truck bombing in Djerba. "It's irresponsible to do it."
May 18th, 2011
02:44 PM ET
By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor
Washington (CNN) – "No single 'cause' of sexual abuse of minors by Catholic priests" was identified in a wide-ranging report released by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops on Wednesday.
The report was presented by a group of researchers from John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York and was commissioned by the bishops group after determining the need for an outside group to review not only the scope of the Catholic sexual abuse crisis in the United States but to try to determine the cause.
The researchers found:
– Less than 5% of the priests who faced allegations were clinically diagnosed as pedophiles.
– Most priests who received treatment following allegations of abuse of a minor also reported sexual behavior with an adult.
– Researchers found no specific markers that would have been apparent across the board to disqualify candidates for the priesthood.
– Sexual orientation, specifically gayness, was not the cause of child sexual abuse by priests.
– The majority of abuse cases happened in the 1960s and 1970s and there was a sharp decline in the number of cases that began in the 1980s and continues today.
– Guidelines set up by the church to deal with the crisis when it came to light, including calling in civil authorities, were not adequately followed by most dioceses.
May 18th, 2011
05:00 AM ET
By Jessica Ravitz, CNN
(CNN) - For months they’ve been spreading the word, answering the biblical call of Ezekiel 33 to sound the alarm and warn the people.
Their message, which they say the Bible guarantees, is simple: The end of the world is near.
And now, it’s suddenly really near - so near that if these folks are right, you should probably pass on buying green bananas.
Perhaps you’ve already noticed, what with the billboards and signs dotting the landscape, the pamphlets blowing in the wind and the RVs plastered with Judgment Day warnings weaving through cities. Or maybe, as the birds chirped outside and you sipped your morning coffee, a full-page newspaper ad for the upcoming mass destruction caught your eye.
May 21, 2011, according to loyal listeners of Family Radio, a Christian broadcasting network based in Oakland, California, will mark the Day of Rapture and the start of Judgment Day (which, they say, will last five months). Those who are saved will be taken up to heaven, and those who aren’t will endure unspeakable suffering. Dead bodies will be strewn about as earthquakes ravage the Earth, they say. And come October 21, they’ll tell you, the entire world will be kaput.
It’s the kind of belief that riles up churchgoers who insist no one can know when Judgment Day will come, and the sort that many say does a disservice to Christianity. And it’s the kind of message that delights the types who are planning tongue-in-cheek End of the World parties and are responding to a Facebook invitation to attend a post-rapture looting. Rapture events, including one at a tiki bar in Fort Lauderdale, are being hosted by American Atheists. News outlets, comedians and even Doonesbury can’t seem to resist a good end-of-the-world prophecy.
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 and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team and frequent posts from religion scholar and author Stephen Prothero.