By John D. Sutter, CNN
(CNN) - It's old world meets new.
An Amish man driving a horse and buggy was arrested this week in Indiana for allegedly sending lewd text messages to a minor.
Forget the arrest part for just a minute. Horse and buggy? Mobile phones? Texting? These images don't seem to mix, especially since the common wisdom about Amish people is that they eschew virtually all technology - including electricity, which of course, you'd need in order to power a mobile phone.
But for people like Eric Brende, a tech expert who left a PhD program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to spend more than a year living in an Amish community in the Midwest, this kind of thing - again, minus the sexting part - isn't surprising at all.
Brende, author of the book "Better Off: Flipping the Switch on Technology," says the Amish do use technology frequently.
They just consider gadgets on a case-by-case basis.
By the CNN Wire Staff
(CNN) - The Anti-Defamation League and a number of individuals have filed a lawsuit challenging a San Francisco ballot initiative that would criminalize the circumcision of males under age 18.
The lawsuit asks the Department of Elections to remove the proposal from the ballot for the November election on the grounds that San Francisco would not be able to enforce the ordinance even if it was approved. The petition asks that a judge intervene so the city and its residents will be spared from "wasting resources debating and voting on an ordinance that cannot become law."
"Existing California law is clear," said Nancy Appel, Anti-Defamation League associate director in San Francisco, in a statement. "Only the state can make rules about medical procedures and this initiative violates that law. Not only does this initiative waste time, energy and expense, but it also offends the notions of parental rights and freedom of religion. It is unconstitutional and, as we allege in this lawsuit, contrary to California law."
Belief Blog's guest post yesterday arguing that gay marriage foes are imposing their own values on the Bible, rather than drawing on genuine biblical truth, fetched over 2,000 comments.
A number of commenters suggested that the writer, a recent Yale Divinity School grad, is an elitist who's out of touch with common interpretations of the Bible:
America is so screwed up because so many believe that our answers must come from Ivy League schools? People who are full of pride and arrogance but without any spiritual revelation from God!!! God does not need any assistance, any person, He only desires all of us to believe, agree, comply, and come into alignment with Him!!! Man of God, not a man of the world!!!
By Richard Allen Greene, CNN
(CNN) – Half the world's evangelical Protestant leaders are optimistic about the future, confident that evangelical Christians have an increasing influence in their countries and that things will be better for them in five years.
The other half are pessimists, convinced they're losing influence on the life of their countries and mostly not persuaded that things will be better for Christianity where they live in the future.
Those are among the findings of a groundbreaking survey of more than 2,000 evangelical leaders from around the world, which the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life released Wednesday
The split on optimism is between north and south, and the way it breaks down might surprise you.
By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor
(CNN) – Some New York surfboards and boogie boards got a splash of holy water before hitting the waves Sunday. St. Therese of Lisieux Catholic Church in Montauk held its first ever blessing of the boards on Father's Day.
The church is in the Hamptons, the Long Island beach communities popular with both celebrities and locals. The Rev. Michael Rieder blessed the boards and the church and conducted another blessing at Ditch Plains Beach.
Jo Piazza in The Wall Street Journal's Metropolis blog described the blessing like this, quoting Rieder:
"Dear God, your son walked on water but we know it would have been a lot more fun if he had a surfboard or boogie board," Rieder said as he splashed holy water onto the boards and their owners. "Let's ask his blessing as we play in the waves."
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.