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Bachmann urges Christians not to 'settle'
Michelle Bachman addressed students at Liberty University on Wednesday.
September 28th, 2011
08:20 PM ET

Bachmann urges Christians not to 'settle'

By Ashley Killough, CNN

(CNN) – Minessota Rep. Michele Bachmann gave one piece of advice to students at the country's largest Christian university: "Don't settle."

It's a line she's recently pushed to Republican voters, urging the GOP not to "settle" on leading GOP presidential candidates.

But on Wednesday she turned the phrase into one laced with heavy spiritual themes.

"Don't settle for anything less than what this great and almighty God has planned for you," Bachmann said in a speech at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia.

The White House hopeful described her experience becoming a Christian as a 16-year-old, when she said she walked into a church one day with some friends and felt called to the altar.

Read the full story here from CNN's Political Ticker
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Christianity

Patriotism and the 'God gap'
Surveys suggest a 'God gap' in views on American patriotism.
September 28th, 2011
07:19 PM ET

Patriotism and the 'God gap'

By Dave Schechter, CNN

(CNN)– “And may God bless the United States of America” is a popular closing line in speeches by presidents and presidential hopefuls.

Does a higher power, if one exists, “shed his grace on thee,” as the lyrics of “America the Beautiful” proclaim?

And if so, does this make the United States of America the greatest country in the world?

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Church and state • Courts

In Brooklyn, a Hasidic walking tour opens ultra-Orthodox Jewish life to outsiders
A walking tour in Crown Heights opens the door to the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community.
September 28th, 2011
11:58 AM ET

In Brooklyn, a Hasidic walking tour opens ultra-Orthodox Jewish life to outsiders

By Philip Rosenbaum, CNN, and Ryan P. Casey, Special to CNN

New York (CNN) – When he was 18 and still living in his hometown of Chattanooga, Tennessee, Beryl Epstein received a call from his older brother, Mordechai, who was about to join the Israel Defense Forces.

Mordechai urged his younger brother to come to Crown Heights, a largely ultra-Orthodox Jewish neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York, where he was studying before heading to Israel.

“I knew there must be more – something I was missing,” recalls Epstein, 53, who grew up in a secular Jewish home.

His visit to Crown Heights the following year, 1977, inspired him to move there and to join the Chabad Lubavitch, a Hasidic Jewish sect predominant in the neighborhood. Inside his new community, Epstein noticed there was a misconception among outsiders that Lubavitcher Jews – who are distinguished by dark clothing, frequent use of Yiddish and what they say is an unyielding focus on devotion to God – shun the outside world.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Judaism • New York

A movement to paint Obama as the Antichrist?
President Obama reacts as he's heckled at a Los Angeles fundraiser Monday night.
September 27th, 2011
04:54 PM ET

A movement to paint Obama as the Antichrist?

By Dan Gilgoff and Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editors

(CNN) - On our sister blog The 1600 Report, CNN's Alex Mooney notes a discrepancy in the official White House transcript of a California fundraiser Monday night, during which a person who heckled President Barack Obama was escorted out by security.

Here's the White House transcript's account of the heckler:

AUDIENCE MEMBER: The Christian God is the only true living God, the Creator of the heavens and the universe.

But Mooney observes that the White House pool report records the heckler as being much more blunt, yelling "'Barack Obama is the Antichrist!"

The president interrupted his remarks at the fundraiser, held at Los Angeles' House of Blues, to respond to the heckler.

FULL POST

Read Mooney's full report here.
- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Barack Obama • Belief • Christianity • Politics

September 27th, 2011
10:22 AM ET

Rick Perry dances with rabbis

(CNN)–Video of GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry dancing with a group of rabbis during Hanukkah surfaces on YouTube.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Holidays • Judaism • Politics • Rick Perry • TV-The Situation Room

Jesus or jail? Alabama town offers options for serving time
An Alabama town is offering low level crimals a choice - Jesus or jail.
September 27th, 2011
10:18 AM ET

Jesus or jail? Alabama town offers options for serving time

(CNN)–If you're charged with a nonviolent crime in one Alabama town, you might just have the chance to pray it all away.

Starting this week, under a new program called Operation ROC (Restore Our Community), local judges in Bay Minette, Alabama, will give those found guilty of misdemeanors the choice of serving out their time in jail, paying a fine or attending church each Sunday for a year.

The goal of the program is to help steer those who are not yet hardened criminals the chance to turn their lives around. Those who choose to go to church (there are no mosques or synagogues in the area) will have to check in with a pastor and the police department each week, CNN affiliate WKRG reported. Once you attend church every week for a year the case would be dismissed.

Police Chief Mike Rowland said the measure is one that would help save money and help direct people down the right path. Rowland told WKRG it costs $75 a day to house each inmate.

Read the full story from CNN's This Just In.
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Bible • Church and state

Why young Christians aren't waiting anymore
A young Christian at an purity rally spreads the word.
September 27th, 2011
08:39 AM ET

Why young Christians aren't waiting anymore

By John Blake,  CNN

(CNN) -True love doesn’t wait after all.

That’s the implication in the upcoming October issue of an evangelical magazine that claims that young, unmarried Christians are having premarital sex almost as much as their non-Christian peers.

The article in Relevant magazine, entitled “(Almost) Everyone’s Doing It,” cited several studies examining the sexual activity of single Christians. One of the biggest surprises was a December 2009 study, conducted by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, which included information on sexual activity.

While the study’s primary report did not explore religion, some additional analysis focusing on sexual activity and religious identification yielded this result: 80 percent of unmarried evangelical young adults (18 to 29) said that they have had sex - slightly less than 88 percent of unmarried adults, according to the teen pregnancy prevention organization.

The article highlights what challenges abstinence movements face. Movements such as “True Love Waits,” encourage teens to wear purity rings, sign virginity pledges and pledge chastity during public ceremonies.

FULL POST

- CNN Writer

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Church • Culture & Science • Culture wars

September 26th, 2011
04:41 PM ET

Google makes 5 Dead Sea Scrolls searchable

By Kevin Flower and Izzy Lemberg, CNN

Jerusalem (CNN) - In a perfect blending of 21st-century advances with the cutting-edge technology of an earlier age, starting this week internet users can, for the first time, use Google search and scanning technology to examine five manuscripts from the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Google and the Israel Museum unveiled the project Monday in Jerusalem with the launch of a museum website that allows users to interact with the ancient texts in a way impossible just a few years ago.

"You have the capability with high-resolution definition to look at the scrolls in a comfortable setting - to enlarge them, to magnify them, to translate them into English and to search for words, phrases or verses that you want to find on your own," said James Snyder, director of the Israel Museum. "It really allows for your own interactive research with the material."

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Bible • Israel • Technology

Do loved ones bid farewell from beyond the grave?
Death doesn't sever the connection between loved ones, say people who've experienced so-called crisis apparitions.
September 26th, 2011
10:31 AM ET

Do loved ones bid farewell from beyond the grave?

By John Blake, CNN

(CNN) - Nina De Santo was about to close her New Jersey hair salon one winter's night when she saw him standing outside the shop's glass front door.

It was Michael. He was a soft-spoken customer who'd been going through a brutal patch in his life. His wife had divorced him after having an affair with his stepbrother, and he had lost custody of his boy and girl in the ensuing battle.

He was emotionally shattered, but De Santo had tried to help. She'd listened to his problems, given him pep talks, taken him out for drinks.

When De Santo opened the door that Saturday night, Michael was smiling.

 

Read the full story on crisis apparitions
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Death

The gospel according to Justin Bieber
A new book explores the faith of pop star Justin Bieber.
September 26th, 2011
05:00 AM ET

The gospel according to Justin Bieber

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

(CNN) - Justin Bieber is one of the world's most famous pop stars but is also decidedly more Jesusy than his day job might lead some to believe.

When the young Canadian-born singer burst onto the scene, he was discovered in part by singing Christian songs on YouTube. But that is just the beginning of Bieber's faith journey, spelled out in a new book on the young star.

Cathleen Falsani sarcastically self-proclaims she is the "pre-eminent Justin Bieber scholar in North America."

Falsani has penned "Belieber! Fame, Faith, and the Heart of Justin Bieber," a book exploring the faith life of the tween sensation.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Music

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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 with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.

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