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July 13th, 2011
09:14 PM ET

Amid growing pressure, churches in China 'are at a critical moment,' pastor says

By Eunice Yoon, CNN

Beijing, China (CNN) – The congregants were seated in rows of folding chairs, clasping their hands in prayer or studying passages in their Bibles.

The choir was sitting up front ready to sing on cue. A cross hung behind the pastor. The service looked like a Christian service you would see pretty much anywhere else in the world. But this is Beijing, and the recent Sunday service was illegal.

I couldn't stop glancing at the door and wonder - are the authorities on their way?

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Asia • Belief • China • Christianity • Church • Church and state • Content Partner • Faith Now • TV-The Situation Room

Group sues Texas governor for 'unconstitutional' participation in prayer rally
Texas Gov. Rick Perry.
July 13th, 2011
09:00 PM ET

Group sues Texas governor for 'unconstitutional' participation in prayer rally

By the CNN Wire Staff

(CNN) - A national organization focused on ensuring the separation of church and state challenged Wednesday the involvement of Texas Gov. Rick Perry in an upcoming evangelical Christian prayer rally.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation is asking the Southern District Court of Texas in Houston to declare Perry's connection to a "Day of Prayer and Fasting" unconstitutional and stop any further participation on his part, the foundation said.

Perry's office says the governor still looks forward to the event.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Church and state • Politics • Texas

'Sister Wives' stars sue over Utah anti-polygamy law
Kody Brown and his four wives.
July 13th, 2011
08:46 PM ET

'Sister Wives' stars sue over Utah anti-polygamy law

By the CNN Wire Staff

(CNN) - The stars of TLC's "Sister Wives" reality show sued Utah's governor Wednesday, asking a judge to block the state's long-standing law against polygamy.

The suit, filed in federal court on behalf of Kody Brown and his four wives, argues that Utah's restrictions are unconstitutional.

"By criminalizing religious-based plural families and intimate relationships under the criminal bigamy law, Utah officials prosecute private conduct between consenting adults," the lawsuit says.

FULL POST


My Take: Why we’re drawn to Harry Potter’s theology
July 13th, 2011
11:29 AM ET

My Take: Why we’re drawn to Harry Potter’s theology

Editor's Note: Danielle Elizabeth Tumminio is an ordained Episcopal Church priest and is author of "God and Harry at Yale: Faith and Fiction in the Classroom."

By Danielle Elizabeth Tumminio, Special to CNN

It’s been 13 years since the first Harry Potter book landed on store shelves and provoked some Christian conservatives to begin voicing opposition to J.K. Rowling’s world of wizardry.

“Let me say something about Harry Potter. Warlocks are enemies of God,” said Becky Fischer, a Pentecostal pastor featured in a documentary called Jesus Camp. “And I don’t care what kind of hero they are, they’re an enemy of God."

“Had it been in the Old Testament,” Fischer continued, “Harry Potter would have been put to death. You don’t make heroes out of warlocks.”

First reviews of 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2'

I was a graduate student at Yale when I first heard words like these, and it made me want to delve deeper into the nexus of Harry and Christianity, to see whether the books really were heretical.

So I decided to pitch a class on the subject to Yale, where I continue to teach on the intersection between Christian Theology and Harry Potter.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Movies • Opinion

July 13th, 2011
08:19 AM ET

Florida police arrest suspect in Louisiana priest's death

By the CNN Wire Staff

(CNN) – Polk County, Florida, detectives arrested a man Tuesday in connection with the slaying of a priest in Mississippi.

Jeremy Manieri, 31, was wanted by Waveland, Mississippi, police in connection with the Rev. Edward Everitt's death Sunday, said Donna Wood, a Polk County Sheriff's officer.

"Mr. Manieri was one of the last people ... that we know of to see Father Everitt," said Waveland Police Chief James Varnell. "We believe that his motive is robbery."

Rev. Edward Everitt was killed Sunday.

Everitt, 70, was found dead Monday in the Dominican Retreat house in Waveland, Varnell said. He presided over the Holy Ghost Catholic Church in Hammond, Louisiana.

"This tragic loss of Father Ed's life leaves a deeply felt void in all our lives," said Bishop Robert Muench of Baton Rouge.

Read the full story here about the murdered priest
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Catholic Church • Christianity • Courts • Faith Now • United States • Violence

July 13th, 2011
07:45 AM ET

What's going on at the Bachmann clinic?

By Jim Acosta and Erika Dimmler, CNN

Lake Elmo, MN (CNN)-In her campaign for president, Michele Bachmann touts her background as a small business owner.

"A small business job creator," is how the Minnesota Congresswoman and Republican Presidential candidate described herself in her first campaign ad in Iowa.

That business is Bachmann and Associates. It's a Christian counseling service located outside Minneapolis. Bachmann started the center with her husband, Marcus who is the lead counselor at the clinic. The aspiring First couple and their children are pictured on the center's web site.

For at least five years, Bachmann and Associates has faced accusations it uses a controversial therapy that encourages gay and lesbian patients to change their sexual orientation.

Andrew Ramirez, a former patient at Bachmann and Associates, said in an interview with CNN he witnessed the practice first-hand. In 2004, Ramirez turned to the clinic at the urging of his mother who wanted him to talk about his homosexuality.

Read the full story here from CNN.com/politics
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Bachmann • Belief • Christianity • Content Partner • Faith Now • Homosexuality • Politics • TV-Anderson Cooper 360 • United States

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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.

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