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Should nuns be on the pill?
December 7th, 2011
11:17 PM ET

Should nuns be on the pill?

By Elizabeth Landau, CNN

(CNN) – Catholic nuns take a vow of chastity, so you might not think that any sister would need to be on birth control.

But oral contraceptive pills have other uses besides preventing pregnancy; in fact, Catholic bioethicists say there is no inherent conflict in nuns (or any other Catholic) taking these very same substances for prescribed, therapeutic reasons, such as for treating heavy menstrual bleeding or endometriosis.

A new article in the journal The Lancet goes one step further. It argues that nuns "should be free to use the contraceptive pill to protect against the hazards of nulliparity” – that is, heightened cancer risk among women who do not bear children.

According to the authors, Australian researchers Kara Britt and Roger Short, there are about 95,000 nuns in the world, and they are paying "a terrible price for their chastity": increased risks of breast, ovarian and uterine cancer.

FULL STORY
- Dan Merica

Filed under: Catholic Church • Culture & Science

GOP candidates court Jewish Republicans
December 7th, 2011
06:26 PM ET

GOP candidates court Jewish Republicans

(CNN) – All but one of the Republican presidential candidates made their case to Jewish voters Wednesday, voicing their support for Israel and criticizing Iran while uniformly hitting President Barack Obama's strategy of appeasement on the world stage.

Speaking before the Republican Jewish Coalition in Washington, D.C., the candidates stressed the importance of the United States standing with Israel, something they charged Obama has failed to do in his first years in office.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who has said he will zero out all foreign aid from the United States if elected president, appeared to fully reverse course on the issue during his remarks.

"Strategic defensive aid in all forms will increase to Israel," Perry said, after calling Israel America's strongest ally in the Middle East.

Read the full post on CNN's Political Ticker
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Jon Huntsman • Judaism • Michele Bachmann • Mitt Romney • Newt Gingrich • Politics • Rick Perry • Rick Santorum • Ron Paul

Perry hits Obama for war on faith, despite a ghost of 'holiday season' past
December 7th, 2011
04:54 PM ET

Perry hits Obama for war on faith, despite a ghost of 'holiday season' past

By Kevin Liptak, CNN

(CNN) – Rick Perry doubled down on his religion-based attack of President Barack Obama Wednesday, saying the president was preventing students from celebrating Christmas in schools. But just last year, Perry issued a holiday statement as governor of Texas that omits any mention of the Christian holiday.

In an interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer, Perry said Obama and the political left were waging a "war on religious traditions," including preventing students from praying in schools and having Christmas parties.

"What we're seeing from the left, of which I would suggest to you, President Obama is a member of the left and substantial left-of-center beliefs, that you can't even have a Christmas party. You can't say a prayer at school," Perry said in an interview airing on CNN's "The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer."

But in a holiday statement to troops issued by his office on Dec. 22, 2010 and posted on the governor's website, Perry fails to mention Christmas at all, sticking instead to more general terms like "holiday season."

FULL STORY
- Dan Merica

Filed under: Politics • Religious liberty • Rick Perry • TV-The Situation Room

New Perry ad derides Obama's 'war on religion'
December 7th, 2011
12:35 PM ET

New Perry ad derides Obama's 'war on religion'

(CNN) – Rick Perry says that if he's elected president, he'll end what he calls President Barack Obama's "war on religion."

Perry makes the comments in a new TV commercial that's sure to create controversy.

"I'm not ashamed to admit that I'm a Christian, but you don't need to be in the pew every Sunday to know there's something wrong in this country when gays can serve openly in the military but our kids can't openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school," says the Texas governor and Republican White House candidate.

"As President, I'll end Obama's war on religion. And I'll fight against liberal attacks on our religious heritage. Faith made America strong. It can make her strong again."

Read the full post on CNN's Political Ticker
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Barack Obama • Politics • Rick Perry

Islamic phone features 29 Quran translations; points to Mecca
December 7th, 2011
11:24 AM ET

Islamic phone features 29 Quran translations; points to Mecca

By Moni Basu, CNN

Nwe Delhi (CNN) -
What could possibly be more popular than the latest iPhone? An Indian company is hoping that among India's Muslims, it will be the new Quran mobile, a smartphone loaded with Islamic features.

The new ENMAC Quran MQ3500 phone, launched last month in India, comes with Islam's holy book translated in 29 languages and a compass that directs users toward Mecca. Muslims bow in the direction of the holy city for prayers five times a day.

The $76 phone also features an Islamic calendar, downloaded holy books, a calculator for zakat (donation to charity) and an automatic ring silencer that can be set up for prayer times at mosques.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • India • Islam • Quran • Technology

December 7th, 2011
06:41 AM ET

Australian man faces 500 lashes in Saudi Arabia for blasphemy

By Brian Walker, CNN

(CNN) – Australia appealed for leniency after its citizen was sentenced Wednesday to 500 lashes and a year in prison by a Saudi Arabian court.

Mansor Almaribe, 45, was found guilty of blasphemy after he was arrested last month in Medina while on a pilgrimage, Australian officials said.

It's unclear what Almaribe, a Shia Muslim from Victoria state, said or did to get arrested.

"The ambassador has urgently contacted Saudi authorities and will make strong representations, including to key figures in the Saudi government, seeking leniency," said Kate Sieper, a foreign affairs spokeswoman.

FULL STORY
- Dan Merica

Filed under: Australia • Islam • Saudi Arabia

Study: Some atheists with children attend religious services
December 7th, 2011
06:00 AM ET

Study: Some atheists with children attend religious services

By Dan Merica, CNN

Washington (CNN) – Nearly one in five atheist scientists with children involve their families with religious institutions, even if they personally do not agree with the institutions teachings, a recent study says.

The study, conducted by Rice University and the University at Buffalo, found that these scientists affiliate with churches for both social and personal reasons. Additionally, the scientists indicated a strong desire to prepare their children to make educated decisions about their personal religious preference.

“This was so surprising to us just because of all of the public discussion about the ways in which scientists are very against religions people,” said Elaine Howard Ecklund, a sociologist at Rice. “When in fact, those we might most expect to be against religious people are sitting alongside them.”

FULL POST

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Atheism • Church • Culture & Science

My Take: An open letter to Kermit the Frog
The author writes to the famed frog, thanking him for his message on the importance of community in the movie "The Muppets."
December 7th, 2011
05:00 AM ET

My Take: An open letter to Kermit the Frog

Editor's note: Danielle Elizabeth Tumminio is an ordained Episcopal Church priest and is author of "God and Harry Potter at Yale: Teaching Faith and Fantasy Fiction in an Ivy League Classroom."

By Danielle Elizabeth Tumminio, Special to CNN

(CNN) - Dear Kermit,

You’re right. It’s not about the building.

In your newest movie, I hear them saying that you guys are irrelevant, washed up.

But I’m an Episcopal priest and for years they told me that I and other Christians were washed up and irrelevant, too.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Church • Episcopal • Movies

December 7th, 2011
04:29 AM ET

Belief Blog's Morning Speed Read for Wednesday, December 7

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: Karzai cancels UK trip after attacks
Afghan President Hamid Karzai has canceled a visit to the UK to return home following Tuesday's deadly blasts in the capital, Kabul, and in the northern city of Mazar-e Sharif.

CNN: Attack on shrine signals new nexus of Afghan strife
The deadly attack in Kabul on Shi'ite worshippers celebrating the feast of Ashura adds one more layer to the country's overlapping security crises. And they evoke violent sectarian rivalries in Iraq and Pakistan, where animosity between Sunni and Shia runs deep. Afghanistan has its own cultural rifts - between ethnic Pashtun and Tajik, for example - but it's rare to see such an explosion of religiously motivated violence.

FULL POST

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Uncategorized

December 7th, 2011
01:34 AM ET

Karzai cancels UK trip after attacks

By Masoud Popalzai and Nick Paton Walsh, CNN

Kabul, Afghanistan (CNN) – Afghan President Hamid Karzai has canceled a visit to the UK to return home following Tuesday's deadly blasts in the capital, Kabul, and in the northern city of Mazar-e Sharif.

A spokesman for the Afghan embassy in London said Karzai had been due in London late Tuesday from Germany but was flying back to Afghanistan after the twin suicide attacks killed 60 people and wounded scores of others in the two cities.

A suicide bomber detonated a device at a Shiite shrine in Kabul, as worshippers were marking the Shiite holy day of Ashura, Afghan Health Ministry spokesman Kargar Norughli said. Fifty-six people were killed and 193 were wounded, Norughli added.

FULL STORY
- Dan Merica

Filed under: Afghanistan

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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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