From Stan Wilson, CNN
(CNN) - When a prominent group of American Muslim and Christian leaders returned to Washington Monday after meeting with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and top clerical leaders during a six-day visit to Iran, they expressed optimism that two American hikers would be released within a few days.
On Wednesday, their hopes were realized when Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal were escorted out of Evin prison in Tehran after more than two years behind bars.
"We were very happy to learn about their release today," said Nihad Awad, national executive director of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), who visited Tehran last week as part of a religious delegation.. "We are extremely happy for the hikers, their families and the country."
Editor's Note: Carl Medearis is an international expert in Arab-American and Muslim-Christian relations and is author of the book Speaking of Jesus: The Art of Not-Evangelism.
By Carl Medearis, Special to CNN
This week at the United Nations, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has promised to ask for recognition of a Palestinian state. If he does, the United States will veto. Why?
Largely because of something we'll call Christian Zionism, an American theological movement that preaches a Christian obligation to help Jews reclaim the biblical Promised Land.
By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor
(CNN) – These days, Republicans are hardly shy about coveting Jewish votes.
On Tuesday, Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry was in New York to blame President Barack Obama for this week's Palestinian push for statehood at the United Nations.
Has Obama lost the Jewish vote?
"We would not be here today at this very precipice of such a dangerous move if the Obama policy in the Middle East wasn't naive and arrogant, misguided and dangerous," Perry, the governor of Texas, said in a nationally televised speech during which he was surrounded by Jewish leaders.
Last week, many Republicans said their special election victory in a heavily Jewish New York congressional district that had been occupied by a Democrat for nearly 90 years was a sign of trouble between Obama and American Jews, among the most reliably Democratic voters in the nation.
By Dan Merica, CNN
Washington (CNN) – People who believe God is very engaged in their everyday life tend to see conservative economic policy as an article of faith, according to a study published Tuesday by Baylor University.
Paul Froese, co-author of the Baylor Religious Survey, says that those who believe in a more hands-off God tend to believe in more than one way to fix America’s economic woes. But those who believe in a more active God tend to believe there is “one truth” when it comes to fixing the economy.
Forty percent of those surveyed said they “strongly agree” that God has a plan for them. Among that group, 53% believe the government does too much, with 44% believing “able bodied-people who are out of work shouldn't receive unemployment checks."
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.