By Gabe LaMonica, CNN
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Meeting with top U.S. lawmakers a day after his 76th birthday, the Dalai Lama cited the principle of church-state separation in his recent decision to step down as the political head of an exiled movement.
"The religious institution, the leader of the religious, and the political leadership, should be separate," he told the legislators during an appearance Thursday in the Capitol. "I myself combine! So my statement, my explanation, become like hypocrisy. Saying something, doing something different."
"Religious institutions, political institutions, must be separate - the last several decades I emphasized that," he said.
The bipartisan group of legislators temporarily put aside their politically charged negotiations over reducing the U.S. debt - some of which is owed to China - to show their admiration and affection for the man regarded by the Chinese government as the leader of a separatist movement.
Tricia Erickson is author of the new book,"Can Mitt Romney Serve Two Masters? The Mormon Church Versus The Office Of The Presidency of the United States of America". She runs a communications company, Crisis Management, Incorporated and Angel Pictures & Publicity, a political and entertainment publicity and consulting company that promotes conservative causes and personalities. In an off-set "In the Arena" interview, Erickson shares her insight on why Mormons should not be considered for the White House.
(EDITOR'S NOTE: Due to the provocative–and in some cases, inflammatory– nature of Erickson's answers, we asked for a response from Mormon historian Richard Bushman, the Howard W. Hunter Visiting Professor of Mormon Studies at Claremont Graduate University in California. His remarks follow the answers below, along with reactions from Corey P. Saylor, National Legislative Director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations and Ahmed M. Rehab, Executive Director, CAIR-Chicago.)
You ask, “Can Mitt Romney serve two masters?” He was governor of Massachusetts from 2003 – 2007 and his belief in Mormonism seems to have only served him well. Why would this be different if he were elected president?
Let me say that my book is divided in to two parts. Part I covers the spiritual aspect. Part II covers the political. Both parts are important when considering voting for this possible front runner.
Editor's note: CNN's Defining America project is exploring the stories behind the numbers to show how places are changing. This week, get to know more about your neighbors all across the country - how they live and love, what they believe in and how they came to call themselves Americans. The week will culminate with a Secret Supper in New York City, and Eatocracy invites you to participate online starting Monday July 11th at 6:30 p.m.
(CNN) - When Kavi and David Moltz tied the knot in summer 2010, the multicultural couple - she's Hindu and he's culturally Jewish - tried to honor both their traditions.
"I had to ride in on a horse ... a giant Clydesdale adorned in Indian raiments," recalls David of the Hindu wedding tradition. "But we gave a nod to my culture, too," he says.
In Hindu culture, friends and musicians playing traditional Indian music accompany the groom's ride to the ceremony. Instead, David had his friends play drums, and he wore a traditional yarmulke and tallith (prayer shawl) that had been his father's and grandfather's.
The evening before, during the Mehndi party in which the bride and members of her party are adorned with henna designs (an impermanent skin ink) on their hands and feet, David wore a traditional Indian suit.
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
Can Catholics abide a saint who had an abortion?
Dorothy Day, who died in 1980, was an anarchist, a pacifist, and the co-founder of the Catholic Worker, a movement devoted to helping the poor and the homeless. Described by historian David O’Brien as “the most influential, interesting, and significant figure” in U.S. Catholic history, Day is currently being considered for canonization in the Catholic Church.
Before her conversion to Catholicism in 1927, however, Day lived what the late Cardinal O’Connor of the Archdiocese of New York has referred to as "a life akin to that of the pre-converted Augustine of Hippo." That bohemian life included common-law marriage and an abortion.
By Thom Patterson, CNN
It may be the first prayer ever uttered by a space traveler: "Dear Lord, please don't let me f- up."
Dubbed "Shepard's Prayer," this brief, irreverent plea is often attributed to the first American in space - the late Alan Shepard - although he reportedly said he was misquoted.
My Take: Space travel is a spiritual experience
As Friday's historic final shuttle launch approaches, Shepard's Prayer speaks volumes about the wide spectrum of religious beliefs among the relatively few men and women who've risked their lives by traveling into space.
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.