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December 31st, 2011
10:00 PM ET

Why do Iowa’s evangelicals wield so much political clout?

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

Des Moines, Iowa (CNN) – At first blush, it’s just another standard-issue political rally.

Inside Mitt Romney’s Iowa headquarters – a former Blockbuster store on a commercial strip outside downtown – Romney and his wife, Ann, are introduced by former presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty and his wife, Mary.

“It is an honor to be supporting Gov. Romney and Ann,” Mary Pawlenty tells the crowd of a couple hundred, a silver cross dangling from her neck. “They are good people, they share our values – these are people that we are delighted to call friends.”

How Mitt Romney's faith shaped him

A few moments later, Mitt Romney mentions his five sons and hands his microphone to 36-year-old Josh, who calls his dad “my hero.”

“He taught me my great love for this country,” Josh says, “and my great love for my family.”

Sounds like typical political posturing, right? Many Americans wouldn’t give such gestures a second thought.

But experts on religion and politics say the message to one particular subculture – evangelical Iowans – is clear: Mitt Romney may be Mormon, but he shares evangelical Christian values, including a rock-solid commitment to family, and counts high-profile evangelicals like the Pawlentys as friends and supporters.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Christianity • Evangelical • Iowa • Michele Bachmann • Mike Huckabee • Mitt Romney • Newt Gingrich • Politics • Rick Santorum

December 30th, 2011
02:01 PM ET

Fox apologizes to Jews for poll on who murdered Jesus

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

(CNN) - Fox Latin America has pulled and apologized for an online poll that asked who was responsible for Jesus’ death and included Jews as a possible response.

The poll had been posted on a Facebook page for National Geographic Cable TV in Latin America as part of a promotional effort for a Christmas special on the channel, according to the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a Jewish group.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Jesus • Judaism • TV • Uncategorized

Germany's new 'snow church'
December 30th, 2011
10:42 AM ET

Church built of snow opens in Germany

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Catholic Church • Christianity • Church • Germany

December 30th, 2011
04:28 AM ET

Belief Blog's Morning Speed Read for Friday, December 30

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.

From the Blog:

The stage featured a giant rotating disco ball in the shape of a dreidel, the four-sided spinning top played during Hanukkah.

CNN: Beardless Matisyahu stills rocks hard, with dreidel mirror ball
He may be clean shaven, but Orthodox Jewish reggae star Matisyahu still has the energy, passion and talent as when he donned a traditional Hasidic beard.

CNN: Russian court rejects petition to ban Hindu scripture
A Russian court has rejected a petition that sought to ban a Russian translation of the Bhagavad Gita, one of Hinduism's most important texts.

FULL POST

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Morning Read

Muslim leaders boycott interfaith breakfast
December 30th, 2011
03:32 AM ET

Muslim leaders boycott interfaith breakfast

By the CNN Wire Staff

New York (CNN) – Mayor Michael Bloomberg backed New York police ahead of a boycott of the city's annual interfaith breakfast Friday by a prominent group of Muslim clerics.

On Thursday, he touted law enforcement efforts to thwart future terrorist attacks in New York, telling reporters that "we obey the law" and that authorities "don't target anybody," instead focusing on leads.

The controversy stems from a series of news reports that raised questions about the nature of a Central Intelligence Agency partnership with the New York Police Department, pointing to the alleged surveillance of Muslims living in New York.

The Associated Press reported that following the September 11, 2001, attacks, the CIA helped the NYPD build intelligence programs used to spy on Muslims, and that a CIA officer was involved in intelligence collection in Muslim communities.

FULL STORY
- Dan Merica

Filed under: Islam • New York • United States

Bill Maher takes on Tim Tebow and feels the wrath
December 29th, 2011
05:48 PM ET

Bill Maher takes on Tim Tebow and feels the wrath

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

(CNN)– On Christmas Eve the Denver Broncos were getting destroyed by the Buffalo Bills* on the football field and comedian, liberal commentator, and religious provocateur Bill Maher couldn't help but tweet about it.

Wow, Jesus just f***** #TimTebow bad! And on Xmas Eve! Somewhere in hell Satan is tebowing, saying to Hitler "Hey, Buffalo's killing them"

People quickly responded to Maher on Twitter and called him (in summary) a hell bound atheist piece of trash. Maher's social media jab was picked up by the media too and landed in newspapers, websites and TVs everywhere. Pundits and twitter users called for a boycott of Maher's HBO show Real Time, and threatened to cancel their HBO subscriptions.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Belief • Christianity

Beardless Matisyahu still rocks hard, with dreidel mirror ball
A clean shaven Matisyahu raps at the 9:30 Club in Washington, DC. The Hasidic reggae star recently shaved his beard.
December 29th, 2011
01:51 PM ET

Beardless Matisyahu still rocks hard, with dreidel mirror ball

By Eric Weisbrod, CNN

(CNN)-– He may be clean shaven, but Orthodox Jewish reggae star Matisyahu still has the energy, passion and talent as when he donned a traditional Hasidic beard.

Playing at the 9:30 Club in Washington, DC Wednesday night on his “Festival of Light” tour, Matisyahu’s set included his hits “King Without a Crown,” “Jerusalem” and his Hanukkah song "Miracle.”

The stage featured a giant rotating disco ball in the shape of a dreidel, the four-sided spinning top played during Hanukkah.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Faith Now • Judaism • Music

Russian court rejects petition to ban Hindu scripture
Activists of the right-wing Hindu organization Shiv Sena burn a Russian flag in India on December 26, 2011.
December 29th, 2011
11:05 AM ET

Russian court rejects petition to ban Hindu scripture

By Moni Basu, CNN

(CNN) – A Russian court has rejected a petition that sought to ban a Russian translation of the Bhagavad Gita, one of Hinduism's most important texts.

Hindus around the world expressed outrage after prosecutors in the Siberian city of Tomsk said the scripture promoted extremism and social discord.

The billion-plus adherents of Hinduism consider the 700-verse Gita, written as a message from God taught by Lord Krishna, as sacred.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Books • Courts • Faith Now • Hinduism

My Take: The 3 biggest biblical misconceptions
The Bible presents us with an evolving story, writes John Shelby Spong.
December 29th, 2011
09:10 AM ET

My Take: The 3 biggest biblical misconceptions

Editor’s note: John Shelby Spong, a former Episcopal bishop of Newark, New Jersey, is author of "Re-Claiming the Bible for a Non-Religious World."

By John Shelby Spong, Special to CNN

The Bible is both a reservoir of spiritual insight and a cultural icon to which lip service is still paid in the Western world. Yet when the Bible is talked about in public by both believers and critics, it becomes clear that misconceptions abound.

To me, three misconceptions stand out and serve to make the Bible hard to comprehend.

First, people assume the Bible accurately reflects history. That is absolutely not so, and every biblical scholar recognizes it.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Bible • Christianity • My Take • Opinion

December 29th, 2011
04:29 AM ET

Belief Blog's Morning Speed Read for Thursday, December 29

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.

From the Blog:

CNN: Police storm Church of the Nativity to break up brawling priests
Clergy from two Christian sects came to blows in the Church of the Nativity on Wednesday morning, prompting police to storm the Bethlehem holy site.

The face of Judaism in America is changing, as the community becomes more diverse through intermarriage, adoption, immigration and conversion.

CNN: Increasing diversity redefining America’s Jewry
"But you don’t look Jewish," Jen Chau remembers being told often as a child. But then again, what is a Jew supposed to look like? The usual implication in those words was that it was not supposed to look like Chau, who was raised Jewish by her European-American mother and Chinese father.

FULL POST

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Morning Read

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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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