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January 31st, 2012
11:48 PM ET

Inside a Scientology center

The Church of Scientology opened its newest facility. KOVR reports.

- Dan Merica

Filed under: California • Church • Faith Now • Scientology • United States

Susan G. Komen drops funding for Planned Parenthood
January 31st, 2012
11:11 PM ET

Susan G. Komen drops funding for Planned Parenthood

By CNN Political Unit

(CNN) – The Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation revealed Tuesday it was cutting funds to Planned Parenthood, sparking an outcry from abortion rights advocates blaming “political pressure” and praise from an anti-abortion group.

The major breast cancer research group cut funds to the prominent family planning organization after Planned Parenthood has come under increasing scrutiny from Congress over how it provides abortion services. The Komen Foundation gave few details on the reasons behind the decision, attributing the announcement to "changes in priorities and policies" and the need to "most fully advance [its] mission."

"It is critical to underscore that the women we serve in communities remain our priority. We are working directly with Komen Affiliates to ensure there is no interruption or gaps in services for women who need breast health screening and services,” the group said in a statement.

The Komen Foundation did not respond to repeated requests for more information about the decision.

FULL STORY
- Dan Merica

Filed under: Abortion • Faith Now • Politics

My Take: Why evangelicals should dump Gingrich
Callista and Newt Gingrich campaign this week at a retirement community in Sumter County, Florida.
January 31st, 2012
12:52 PM ET

My Take: Why evangelicals should dump Gingrich

By David French, Special to CNN

Editor’s note: David French is a constitutional lawyer, veteran of the Iraq war and the co-author (most recently) of "Why Evangelicals Should Support Mitt Romney (And Feel Good about It!)."

(CNN) At the moment, Newt Gingrich appears to be riding high with evangelical voters. After dismal performances in Iowa and New Hampshire, Gingrich dominated the evangelical vote in South Carolina and has made a strong pitch to evangelical voters in Florida.

There’s no question that evangelicals are intrigued, and they are just now starting to take a close look.

They won’t like what they see.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Evangelical • Mitt Romney • My Take • Newt Gingrich • Opinion • Politics

January 31st, 2012
09:36 AM ET

Egypt's Coptic Pope in poor health, official says

By Mohamed Fadel Fahmy, CNN

Coptic Pope Shenouda III, the spiritual leader of Egypt's Coptic Christian community, is in deteriorating health, the head of the Egyptian General Coptic Association said Tuesday.

Shenouda, 88, "suffers from kidney disease and diabetes," said Sherif Doss, but said he was still "functional."

Bishop Basanti of Helwan governorate denied rumors that the pope is in a coma.

"He is well and under good medical care," the bishop insisted, saying that he would give his regular weekly address Wednesday evening.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Africa • Coptic • Egypt

January 31st, 2012
04:32 AM ET

Belief Blog's Morning Speed Read for Tuesday, January 31

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: Catholics clergymen come out swinging against HHS regulation
Catholics around the country got an earful on Sunday from the pulpit over a new health insurance policy by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that forces employers to cover contraception and abortion as part of preventative care regardless of religious beliefs. The use of abortion and contraceptives violates Catholic teachings.

CNN: Islam doesn’t justify ‘honor murders,’ experts insist
Leading Muslim thinkers wholeheartedly endorsed the Canadian judge's verdict, insisting that "honor murders" had no place and no support in Islam.

FULL POST

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Morning Read

January 30th, 2012
06:49 PM ET

Catholic clergymen come out swinging against HHS regulation

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Washington (CNN) – Catholics around the country got an earful on Sunday from the pulpit over a new health insurance policy by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that forces employers to cover contraception and abortion as part of preventative care regardless of religious beliefs. The use of abortion and contraceptives violates Catholic teachings.

In Green Bay, Wisconsin, Bishop David Ricken denounced the policy at Mass in St. Francis Xavier Cathedral on Sunday and received a standing ovation, CNN affiliate WLUK reported.

"If we pay for those services for people who work for us, we are in effect saying don't do it, but then giving the money to pay for it," said Ricken.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Barack Obama • Belief • Bishops • Catholic Church • Christianity • Church and state • Health care • Mass • Politics • United States

January 30th, 2012
01:30 PM ET

Islam doesn't justify 'honor murders,' experts insist

By Richard Allen Greene, CNN

(CNN) - Zainab Shafia's crime was to run off to marry a man her parents hated. Middle sister Sahar's crime was to wear revealing clothes and have secret boyfriends. Youngest sister Geeti's crime was to do badly in school and call social workers for help dealing with a family home in turmoil.

The punishment for all three teenage Canadian sisters was the same: death.

Their executioner: their brother, acting on instructions from the father to run their car off the road.

Another family member, their father's first wife in a polygamous marriage, was also killed.

Hamed Shafia, his father, Mohammed, and his mother, Tooba Mohammed Yahya, were sentenced to life in prison for murder, with Judge Robert Maranger excoriating their "twisted notion of honor, a notion of honor that is founded upon the domination and control of women, a sick notion of honor that has absolutely no place in any civilized society."

Leading Muslim thinkers wholeheartedly endorsed the Canadian judge's verdict, insisting that "honor murders" had no place and no support in Islam.

FULL POST

- Newsdesk editor, The CNN Wire

Filed under: Canada • Islam • Violence

January 30th, 2012
04:28 AM ET

Belief Blog's Morning Speed Read for Monday, January 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:

CNN: Family convicted in Canada ‘honor murders’
A Canadian jury Sunday convicted three members of a family of Afghan immigrants of the "honor" murders of four female relatives whose bodies were found in an Ontario canal.

Some see signs of growing strife within American Jewry over the issue of Israel.

CNN: American Jews confront internal rancor over Israel
When the editor of a Jewish newspaper here wrote this month that the Jewish state might consider assassinating an American president, his column made national headlines and provoked a Secret Service inquiry. The tensions have provoked Jewish groups across the country to launch programs aimed at lowering the political temperature in their own religious communities.

FULL POST

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Morning Read

January 30th, 2012
02:19 AM ET

Family convicted in Canada 'honor murders'

By Paula Newton, CNN

Kingston, Ontario (CNN) - A Canadian jury Sunday convicted three members of a family of Afghan immigrants of the "honor" murders of four female relatives whose bodies were found in an Ontario canal.

Mohammed Shafia, 58; his wife, Tooba Mohammad Yahya, 42; and their son, Hamed, 21, were found guilty of first-degree murder in the deaths of Shafia's three teenage daughters and his first wife in his polygamous marriage. Sunday's verdicts followed a three-month trial, in which jurors heard wiretaps of Shafia referring to his daughters as "whores" and ranting about their behavior.

All three were sentenced to life in prison immediately after their convictions, with no chance of parole for 25 years.

FULL STORY
- Dan Merica

Filed under: Uncategorized

My Faith: What people talk about before they die
January 28th, 2012
11:00 PM ET

My Faith: What people talk about before they die

Editor's Note: Kerry Egan is a hospice chaplain in Massachusetts and the author of "Fumbling: A Pilgrimage Tale of Love, Grief, and Spiritual Renewal on the Camino de Santiago."

By Kerry Egan, Special to CNN

As a divinity school student, I had just started working as a student chaplain at a cancer hospital when my professor asked me about my work.  I was 26 years old and still learning what a chaplain did.

"I talk to the patients," I told him.

"You talk to patients?  And tell me, what do people who are sick and dying talk to the student chaplain about?" he asked.

I had never considered the question before.  “Well,” I responded slowly, “Mostly we talk about their families.”

“Do you talk about God?

“Umm, not usually.”

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Death • My Faith

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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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