By Alan Silverleib, CNN
Washington (CNN) - Congressional Democrats and Republicans escalated their rhetorical war Thursday over a pending federal rule requiring religiously affiliated employers to provide full contraception coverage to women - one day after hints emerged of a possible compromise between the White House and conservative religious critics.
Numerous rank-and-file Democrats urged the White House not to back away from its support for the rule, while Republicans demanded a full retreat.
"It is time for the extreme right wing to stop playing football with women's health," said Rep. Nita Lowey, D-New York. "My colleagues and I stand in solidarity with American women who have waited decades for equity in contraceptive coverage. We have fought for too long."
"I woke up this morning in the 21st century, not in the Middle Ages," said. Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Colorado. "Family planning and birth control (are) an essential part of women's health."
Editor’s Note: Rev. Mike Denton is a conference minister of the United Church of Christ working with congregations in Washington, Northern Idaho and Alaska. He supports gay marriage.
For an opposing view, click here.
On Wednesday afternoon, Washington's House passed a same-sex marriage bill, 53-43. The state Senate has already passed it, and Gov. Chris Gregoire has promised to sign it. Opponents of the bill are promising to put the issue on the ballot this November.
By. Rev. Mike Denton, Special to CNN
It was a little more than 15 years ago when two friends of mine – I’ll call them Amy and Christine – asked me to officiate at their wedding. Actually, at the time, I’m not sure we called it a “wedding.” Fifteen years ago, gay and lesbian folks were still stepping gingerly around the words “wedding” or “marriage.” It didn’t feel safe and just didn’t seem to be worth the fight so words like “union service” or “commitment service” were used instead.
Editor’s Note: Reverend Kenneth Hutcherson is the senior pastor and founder of Antioch Bible Church in Kirkland, Washington. He is also an author of four books, and a former middle linebacker in the National Football League. Hutcherson is a leading voice in the fight to uphold marriage between one man and one woman in Washington state. He blogs at hutchpost.org.
For an opposing view, click here.
By Rev. Kenneth Hutcherson, Special to CNN
(CNN) – Why do I stand so strong in support of traditional marriage? Because I am a pastor of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I am a shepherd that is supposed to lead, feed and protect the flock. Anything the bible says is good for society, I stand on it and I will not compromise on it. What the bible says is good for society has always proven to be good. Anything the bible says is wrong for society has always proven to be wrong. There have never been any winners in a scenario where society went against what God said would be good.
A 62-year-old preacher from Virginia died immediately after giving his final sermon on Sunday morning. WAVY reports.
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:
At the heart of the controversy is birth control and contraceptives.
CNN: Contraception controvery ensnares military chaplains
The still-lingering controversy over the Obama administration's mandate about health insurance coverage that includes contraception spread to American Army posts all over the world before the matter was settled.
CNN: Retired New York Cardnal Egan retracts apology on Catholic priest sex abuse
A decade after the sex abuse scandal that plagued the Catholic Church across the country, retired Cardinal Edward Egan has taken back his apology for how the church handled the issue.
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.