Editor's note: Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion scholar and author of "God is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions that Run the World," is a regular CNN Belief Blog contributor.
By Stephen Prothero, Special to CNN
(CNN) - Anyone who is old enough to remember Sen. John F. Kennedy’s run for president in 1960 knows that this used to be not just a Christian country, but a Protestant one. Admittedly, the Constitution makes the United States secular by law, but for most of our history, we have been Protestant by choice.
All that has changed in recent years. We now have a Catholic speaker of the House (John Boehner), a Catholic House minority leader (Nancy Pelosi) and a Catholic vice president (Joe Biden). Six of the nine justices on the Supreme Court are Catholics. And that guy duking it out with Mitt Romney for the GOP nomination? Rick Santorum is Catholic, too.
(CNN)–Deborah Feldman, author of "Unorthodox," explains to CNN's Soledad O'Brien the culture of the Satmar Hasidic Jewish community.
Read more about Starting Point with Soledad O'Brien here.
(CNN)–CNN's Brooke Baldwin spoke to Barbara Johnson who says a priest denied her communion at her mother's funeral Mass at St. John Neumann Catholic Church in Gaithersburg, Maryland because she is a lesbian.
By Dan Merica, CNN
Washington (CNN) – A major American Muslim group is embarking on a national campaign Friday to clarify a word it says has been given a bad name by recent global and domestic politics: Sharia.
The Islamic Circle of North America says its effort is aimed at “educating Americans” on what it says is the noble meaning of Sharia through conferences, billboards, and TV and radio PSAs.
The group is also launching a national hot line to answer questions about Sharia and Islam.
For more than a billion Muslims around the world, Sharia describes a way of life, from dietary laws to a code of moral life. For some conservative American critics, the word is sinister – connoting a draconian legal code that they contend threatens to subvert American law.
By Laura Koran, 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: Mormon proxy baptism of Daniel Pearl draws family’s ire
A muckraking ex-Mormon researcher struck again this week, revealing that some Mormons conducted a proxy baptism for slain Jewish journalist Daniel Pearl last year.
The Beren Stars will play their playoff game on Friday afternoon, before the Jewish Sabbath begins.
CNN: Playoff game rescheduled for Jewish basketball team that refused to play on Sabbath
A Jewish high school basketball team that had opted out of a shot at a Texas state championship because it refused to play on the Sabbath will now get that shot, after a playoff game was rescheduled on Thursday.
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.