By Jamie Crawford, CNN National Security Producer
Washington (CNN)– Secretary of State Hillary Clinton hailed a "leader in bridging faith and public service" Thursday as she swore in Dr. Suzan Johnson Cook as ambassador at-large for international religious freedom.
In her role, Cook will serve as a principal adviser on religious freedom to President Barack Obama and Clinton, as well as head the Office of International Religious Freedom in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor at the State Department.
The office seeks to shine a light on everything from authoritarian regimes that impede freedom of worship for their citizens to violent extremists who work to exploit sectarian tensions.
By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor
(CNN)– With the NBA Finals under way between the Miami Heat and the Dallas Mavericks, Catholic bishops from Miami and Dallas are betting on the action.
Miami Archbishop Thomas Wenski is a big Heat fan. He offered a "friendly wager" to Dallas Bishop Kevin Farrell, himself an avid Mavericks fan.
"Archbishop Wenski approached us. He decided he wanted to prove the Miami Heat were much better than the Mavs. I couldn't let them think they were better than we were," Farrell said by phone from Dallas.
While the Heat's Lebron James and Maverick's Dirk Nowitzki battle it out on the court over the right to hoist the NBA's Larry O'Brien championship trophy, they are also unwittingly fighting for the bishops' bragging rights and some hometown gear.
By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor
(CNN) - Mitt Romney’s campaign team knows that his Mormon faith scared off Republican voters the last time he ran for president.
But they believe a lot has changed in the last four years.
For starters, Romney is now much better known. The former Massachusetts governor campaigned hard in the 2008 primaries – even addressing his Mormonism head-on in a major speech — and has stayed in the public eye since, popping up on late-night talk shows and on cable news channels.
Romney’s Mormonism, the thinking goes, is less exotic than it was four years ago because the candidate is more familiar.
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
Dear Governor Palin,
Your it’s-not-a-campaign-bus-tour has motored through the National Archives, Mount Vernon, Arlington National Cemetery, Gettysburg, Independence Hall, the Statue of Liberty and Donald Trump’s penthouse.
So obviously you are highlighting America’s most historic sites. But as you head toward New England and beyond, I’d like to suggest four additional sites, sacred to the chain of memory that is American religion.
Together these sacred places acknowledge not only the powerful role that Christianity has played in American life (something you often mention) but also the fact of American religious diversity (something you might mention more).
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.