By Vivienne Foley, CNN
New York (CNN) - Pastors and their congregants took to the streets of New York on Thursday to protest and to pray for Mayor Michael Bloomberg to reverse a ban on religious groups' use of public schools for worship service, scheduled to go into effect February 12.
"Throughout our history, schools have been used for all kinds of community service, including church service. Why, all of a sudden, they want to make it a crime?" asked Pastor Peter Kemp of Hope Chapel Church.
More than 200 people attended the protest outside a Bronx public school where Bloomberg was giving his annual State of the City address.
Editor’s note: Patton Dodd is the managing editor of Patheos and the author of The Tebow Mystique: The Faith and Fans of Football’s Most Polarizing Player.
By Patton Dodd, Special to CNN
Denver, Colorado (CNN) – A few weeks ago, a joke made its way around Denver about Tom Brady, the New England Patriots’ living legend, and Tim Tebow, the raw Broncos quarterback who is turning in a legendary season. It went something like this:
Tom Brady dies and goes to heaven and is greeted by God, who shows him to his new house – a cozy, modest home with a Patriots flag flying from the porch. “Gee, thanks God!” says Brady, feeling very special.
As Brady walks to his door, he notices another house down the street – a sprawling, gorgeous home with a 50-foot pole flying a Broncos flag, a swimming pool shaped like a horse, and a Tim Tebow jersey pinned to the front door.
“Um, God?” Brady begins. “I’m not ungrateful, but I don’t get it. I won three Super Bowls and went to the Hall of Fame. Why does Tim Tebow get a better house than me?”
By Rafael Romo, Senior Latin American Affairs Editor
(CNN) – It’s a greeting that always makes Mark Jobe smile: “I really loved today’s Mass, Father Mark.”
Jobe is the senior pastor of New Life Community Church, which has 14 campuses across Chicago and its suburbs. He said he hears those words at least once a month, usually from newcomers – Hispanics raised in the Catholic faith who’ve started attending his non-denominational Christian church.
When Jobe launched New Life Community Church 25 years ago, the Midway neighborhood where his main campus is located was primarily populated by descendants of Polish, Lithuanian and Italian immigrants. Now, the neighborhood is primarily Hispanic.
Jobe estimates that as much as 70% of New Life’s 6,000 members are Hispanic.
“They don’t typically undermine [the church] where they came from,” Jobe said.
“They value the tradition, but what they often tell me is that they were not learning as much about the Bible and how it relates to their life today.”
The shift at New Life Community Church in Chicago is a reflection of a national trend, according to Luis Lugo, director of the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life.
By Lindy Royce-Bartlett, CNN
(CNN) – A pastor encouraging his congregation to have sex? It may sound unlikely, but it’s what one prominent Texas pastor is doing this weekend, with a 24 hour rooftop “bed-in” with his wife.
To encourage members of his congregation and others to take part in what he calls a “sexperiment,” Dallas pastor Ed Young and his wife Lisa began staging a "bed-in" on Friday morning, laying in a bed on the roof of their Texas church for 24 hours.
They say they want to illustrate that sex begins in heaven.
By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor
(CNN) - Does a group of more than 150 conservative leaders stand a chance of reshaping the race to the White House? There are reasons for doubt.
Members of the group, which met at a Texas ranch Friday and Saturday, voted Saturday to back GOP presidential hopeful Rick Santorum. Many of the conservative leaders are well past their primes, with declining influence, and the nominating contest is already pretty far along.
The news media has made much of the meeting, which includes such well-known evangelicals as Focus on the Family founder James Dobson, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference president Rev. Samuel Rodriguez and former presidential candidate Gary Bauer.
The South Carolina primary - a key test of conservative strength - comes just a week after the Texas meeting.
By Josh Levs, CNN
(CNN) – The race for the Republican presidential nomination is on track to break new ground: For the first time in modern political history - some say ever - the GOP nominee could be someone who is not a Protestant Christian.
Front-runner Mitt Romney is Mormon, as is Jon Huntsman. Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich are Catholics.
The only two Protestants in the race are Rick Perry and Ron Paul. Paul had strong finishes in the nominating contests so far but most political experts and Republican establishment figures say he is not favored to win the nomination ultimately. Perry has finished near the end of the pack so far but is hoping for a strong finish in the next-in-line South Carolina primary.
Neither major party has ever had a Mormon nominee. John F. Kennedy, a Democrat, was the only Catholic president.
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: Anti-Semitic attacks in New Jersey leave questions, raise worries
Synagogues firebombed and defaced by graffiti. Windows smashed at shops owned by Jewish merchants. Is anti-Semitism on the rise? The FBI is investigating a rash of anti-Semitic attacks in northern New Jersey, including the attempted murder of a rabbi after incendiary devices were thrown at his home above a synagogue.
The decision by the Supreme Court was unanimous.
CNN: My Take: Huge win for religious liberty at the Supreme Court
Wednesday’s Supreme Court decision holding that ministers cannot sue their churches for employment discrimination was a huge win for religious liberty. It was unanimous, it was sweeping and it was unqualified.
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.