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 Roman Catholic Church isn't the only religious institution that has failed to respond directly and transparently to allegations of sexual impropriety.
Bishop Eddie Long, the pastor of the Georgia-based New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, has just settled out of court with the four young men who alleged Long had sexually coerced them. And neither side is talking.
A federal judge in Texas has told the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs that it cannot censor a pastor's invocation at a Memorial Day ceremony.
The VA had ordered the Rev. Scott Rainey to remove a phrase using Jesus Christ from the prayer, arguing the line excluded other beliefs held by veterans, KHOU-TV in Houston reported.
On Thursday, U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes disagreed, writing the government cannot "gag citizens when it says it is in the interest of national security, and it cannot do it in some bureaucrat's notion of cultural homogeneity," according to a report in the Houston Chronicle.
By John Blake, CNN
(CNN) - The streets that were once choked with traffic are now bare. The church's sprawling parking lot is half full. Inside the stylish sanctuary, ushers sway to choir music in front of empty seats.
On a typical Sunday morning, New Birth Missionary Church in suburban Atlanta would be hopping. But on a recent Sunday, the sprawling church complex looked half-deserted and the mood seemed flat.
Six months after a sex scandal involving New Birth's senior pastor, Bishop Eddie Long, became public, the megachurch no longer packs them in. Yet there are loyalists, like C.D. Dixon, who have not joined the exodus.
Editor's Note: This piece comes from a new CNN special “Stories: Reporter.” Tune in Saturday at 7:30PM EDT to see the full story.
By Eric Marrapodi, Dan Lothian, Chris Turner & Tom Foreman, CNN
Philadelphia (CNN) – Listen to the FBI and you will know that violent crime dropped over almost the whole country last year; murder, aggravated assault, forcible rape. Listen to people in some parts of Philadelphia and you will know that the Northeast is not part of that trend. Here the numbers keep climbing.
Violence comes to their streets as surely as sunset. Abandoned houses share corners with makeshift memorials to victims; often young men who get caught up in events they don't anticipate and can't escape.
"Around here it's not every safe to walk up the streets," one kid said. "Someone could come up to you and start shooting at you for no reason; just 'cause you're from that 'hood."
That is why Imam Suetwidien Muhammad chose this place to start hitting back.
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.