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November 28th, 2011
06:28 AM ET

Belief Blog's Morning Speed Read for Monday, November 28

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.

By Dan Merica, CNN

From the Blog:

CNN: Israel’s backers step up efforts to win African-American support
Inside a former Seventh-day Adventist church, there were the beginnings of what some hope is a budding relationship between American blacks and Jews, with a major assist from some Christian Zionists.

FULL POST

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Uncategorized

Israel's backers step up efforts to win African-American support
Pastor Michael Stevens at a “Gathering of Solidarity with the State of Israel" event in Brooklyn, New York.
November 26th, 2011
10:00 PM ET

Israel's backers step up efforts to win African-American support

By Heather M. Higgins, CNN

Brooklyn, New York (CNN) – The aroma of allspice wafted through the air as calypso melodies and gospel voices brought more than four dozen people to their feet, a typical community gathering in the heavily West Indian neighborhood of East Flatbush, Brooklyn.

But no one could remember a meeting like this happening before. Inside a former Seventh-day Adventist church, there were the beginnings of what some hope is a budding relationship between American blacks and Jews, with a major assist from some Christian Zionists.

The late October meeting was billed as “A Gathering of Solidarity with the State of Israel,” sponsored by Christians United for Israel, the biggest Christian Zionist group in the country.

What is Christian Zionism?

Until relatively recently, “there wasn’t a voice for Christian Zionism in the black church,” said Pastor Michael Stevens, the African-American outreach coordinator for Christians United for Israel, speaking to the mostly West Indian crowd in Brooklyn.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Black issues • Christianity • Israel • Judaism • Politics • Uncategorized

On Sunday, Catholic Mass won't sound the same
Rev. Benny George is a associate pastor at St. Francis Xavier Parish in Burbank, California.
November 26th, 2011
01:40 PM ET

On Sunday, Catholic Mass won't sound the same

By Jim Roope, CNN Radio National Correspondent

(CNN)–If you’re Catholic, mass this Sunday will sound different for  the first time in nearly half a century.

You’ll hear it in the prayers of both the people and the priests.

“We have come back to a more accurate translation of the Latin from the Roman Missal,” said Fr. Rick Hilgartner, executive director of the Divine Office of Worship for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. “The language of prayer should be evocative, speaking in terms of imagery and metaphor.”

The changes are enormous, said Fr. Richard Albarano, of St. Francis Xavier Church in Burbank, California, and should help the 280 million English-speaking Catholics grow in their  love for the mass. “The mass is the center of our lives,” said Albarano.

Not since the Second Vatican Council in 1965 have such sweeping changes been made.

The Vatican II changes were radical – the priest spoke in English instead of Latin and he faced the people instead of having his back to them. An Old Testament reading was also added to the mass, a surprise to many who thought of the Catholic Church as a New Testament only church.

Other changes, large and small, were designed by Pope John XXIII to get the people (and not just the priest) involved in the mass. But the changes were not communicated in advance. People showed up one Sunday morning, and it was all changed.

“They wondered if they were even in a Catholic church,” said Albarano.

This time, the Catholic Church has been talking about the changes, and communicating them to parishes, since 2000. For the past three months, many parishes have been working to ready their followers for the changes in the wording of the prayers.

That doesn’t mean some won’t be caught by surprise. “It’s going to be like Vatican II all over again,” Albarano said. “I haven’t heard much about catechizing across the Los Angeles Archdiocese at all. We said we were going to do it. I hope we did.”

To hear the complete story, click the audio player.

- CNN

Filed under: Catholic Church • Mass

November 24th, 2011
04:37 AM ET

Belief Blog's Morning Speed Read for Thursday, November 24

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.

First things first: Happy Thanksgiving!

From the Blog:

CNN: Romney’s faith a factor for GOP primary?
If half the public says they don't know very much about Mormonism and one-third of Republicans say the Mormon religion is not a Christian faith, how will GOP frontrunner Mitt Romney fare in his bid for the White House?

FULL POST

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Uncategorized

Romney's faith a factor for GOP primary?
November 24th, 2011
12:03 AM ET

Romney's faith a factor for GOP primary?

By Rebecca Stewart, CNN

(CNN) – If half the public says they don't know very much about Mormonism and one-third of Republicans say the Mormon religion is not a Christian faith, how will GOP frontrunner Mitt Romney fare in his bid for the White House?

According to a new national survey, it won't affect Romney in a hypothetical general election faceoff with President Barack Obama, but his Mormon faith may have an impact on the former Massachusetts governor's chances in the GOP primaries and caucuses.

FULL POST

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Mitt Romney • Mormonism • Politics • Polls

November 23rd, 2011
05:08 AM ET

Belief Blog's Morning Speed Read for Wednesday, November 23

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.

By Dan Merica, CNN

From the Blog:

CNN: Santorum endorses profiling Muslims
Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum said at Tuesday's CNN National Security Debate that he would improve airport security by profiling, particularly Muslims and young men.

FULL POST

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Uncategorized

In season of giving thanks, signs that gratitude is back
New academic research suggests that expressing gratitude has positive personal and social effects.
November 23rd, 2011
05:00 AM ET

In season of giving thanks, signs that gratitude is back

By Ansley Roan, Special to CNN

A mother in Missouri updates her Facebook status with something she’s grateful for each day. A doctor in Boston makes a gratitude list before bed. A priest in New York ends his day with thanks and reflection.

They have never met. Their lives are very different. But all of them are grateful.

Rhianna Mathias posts her gratitude status updates in part because she’s now a mother after a struggle with infertility. Dr. Aditi Nerurkar keeps a gratitude journal because it helps her de-stress. The Rev. James Martin, a Jesuit priest, ends his days with an exercise called the examination of conscience, which begins with gratitude.

How to raise a grateful child

Their choice to focus on gratitude and their different reasons for doing so suggest new popularity for an ancient sentiment.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Spirituality • Thanksgiving

Santorum endorses profiling Muslims, council asks for repudiation
November 23rd, 2011
02:51 AM ET

Santorum endorses profiling Muslims, council asks for repudiation

By Dan Merica, CNN

(CNN) – Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum said at Tuesday's CNN National Security Debate that he would improve airport security by profiling, particularly Muslims and young men.

"Obviously Muslims would be someone you'd look at, absolutely," Santorum said. "Those are the folks who ... the radical Muslims are the people that are committing these crimes by and large, as well as younger males."

FULL POST

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Islam • Muslim • Politics • Rick Santorum

Vodka ad boasting 'Christmas quality' at 'Hanukkah pricing' to come down amid complaints
A spokesman for Wodka Vodka says this ad on New York's West Side Highway will come down Wednesday.
November 22nd, 2011
03:54 PM ET

Vodka ad boasting 'Christmas quality' at 'Hanukkah pricing' to come down amid complaints

By Emanuella Grinberg, CNN

(CNN) - A vodka brand that claimed to represent "Christmas quality" at "Hanukkah pricing" will take down a New York billboard carrying the controversial slogan in response to complaints that the sign is offensive and promotes negative stereotypes.

The sales pitch for Wódka vodka also features the image of two dogs, one wearing a Santa hat, the other wearing a yarmulke, prompting outcry from the Anti-Defamation League, a group that fights anti-Semitism.

"In a crude and offensive way of trying to make a point that their vodka is high quality and inexpensive, the billboards evoke a Jewish holiday to imply something that is cheap and of lesser value when compared to the higher value of a Christian holiday," said Ron Meier, the ADL's New York Regional Director, in a press release.

FULL POST

- egrinberg

Filed under: Christianity • Christmas • Judaism

Report tracks explosion of religious lobbying in Washington
A new report finds that religious groups engaged in lobbying or advocacy around Washington employ at least 1,000 people.
November 22nd, 2011
12:29 PM ET

Report tracks explosion of religious lobbying in Washington

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

(CNN) - Lobbying and advocacy by religious groups in Washington have exploded in recent decades, increasing fivefold since 1970 to become a nearly $400 million industry, a new Pew report finds.

More than 200 groups are doing faith-related lobbying and advocacy in the nation’s capital, compared to fewer than 40 in 1970, according to the report. Put together, the groups employ at least 1,000 people.

The report, released Monday by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion and Public Life, found that religious groups spend $390 million a year to influence U.S. domestic and foreign policy.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Foreign policy • Politics

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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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