By Stacey Samuel, CNN
WASHINGTON (CNN) - It made for an incongruous sight on Wednesday morning, as volunteer actors playing Mary and Joseph walked in procession in front of the U.S. Supreme Court with Baby Jesus (a 4-month-old).
Following them - wearing crowns and robes that didn't fully conceal jeans and sneakers underneath, - were volunteers dressed as two Wise Men and a Wise Woman, trailed by a two-humped camel and a 6-month-old donkey (also named Mary). The people weren't guided by a star, but by their religious conviction.
"First [we're] proclaiming the powerful message of Christmas: peace on Earth and good will toward men," said Patrick Mahoney, director of the Christian Defense Coalition, who helped organize the Supreme Court Nativity. "And, then also embracing and celebrating religious freedom and our First Amendment right."
(CNN)–The Mandarin Oriental Hotel in DC barred a Muslim employee from serving an Israeli delegation, claiming it had no choice but to comply with a national security mandate from the U.S. government. CNN’s Barbara Starr reports.
By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor
(CNN) - Joel Osteen, who leads the largest church in the United States and reaches millions of Americans through his televised Sunday sermons, is developing a reality show with the producer of “Survivor,” the televangelist said Tuesday.
Osteen has signed a deal with famed reality TV producer Mark Burnett to develop the show, a spokeswoman for Joel Osteen Ministries said.
"Victoria (Osteen's wife) and I are looking forward to working with Mark Burnett on this project,” Osteen said in a statement Tuesday.
By Dan Merica, CNN
Here's the Belief Blog’s morning rundown of the top faith-angle stories from around the United States and around the world. Click the headlines for the full stories.
CNN: Gingrich meets with pastors in South Carolina
The first stop on Newt Gingrich’s three-day swing through South Carolina was a town hall-style event at a church in Summerville, where the rising GOP presidential hopeful answered questions from area pastors on a range of issues.
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.