By Kevin Liptak, CNN
(CNN) – An adjustment to a controversial federal rule requiring employers cover contraception in their health insurance plans was labeled “dubious” by Roman Catholic bishops on Wednesday.
The rule in question mandated all employers, including religiously affiliated organizations like hospitals and colleges, provide free contraception to employees through health insurance plans. Churches were exempted from the law.
After uproar from conservatives and religious groups, President Barack Obama announced an accommodation to the rule. Under the new plan, insurers will be required to offer complete coverage free to women instead of the religious institutions themselves.
On Wednesday the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops said the new rule remained “unspecified and dubious,” and said they would seek to engage in conversations with members of Obama’s administration to seek a more attractive alternative.
By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor
(CNN)–Roy Moore, the former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice made famous by a Ten Commandments monument, is one step closer to getting his old job back. Moore won 50.14% of the vote on Tuesday in the Republican primary for the Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court.
Moore appears to have narrowly avoided a runoff by capturing more than 50% of Republican voters. The state Republican Party has a week to certify the vote but Moore and his campaign are proceeding as if there will not be a runoff.
"We need leadership in the legal branch," Moore told CNN by phone after fielding congratulatory calls from local officials.
(CNN) – Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, the bestselling author of "Kosher Sex" and one-time spiritual adviser to Michael Jackson, announced Wednesday he was running for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.
The self-proclaimed "America's Rabbi" launched his bid for New Jersey's 9th Congressional district as a Republican, saying in a statement it was the first time a Republican rabbi has run for Congress. He pledged to work for conservative values if elected to the House.
"The values that have dominated the American political landscape for decades include an obsession with gay marriage, abortion, and now contraception," Boteach said. "If elected, I pledge to be a 'values voice' in Congress, and focus on issues that have largely been ignored; it is time to expand the values conversation and agenda, and once again make them the center of our country. Let's begin with saving the institution of marriage by making family a priority again."
By the CNN Wire Staff
(CNN) - Activists presented a petition Tuesday to the United Nations Human Rights Council calling on Pakistan to free a Christian mother of five from being put to death on the charge of blasphemy.
A Pakistani court Asia Bibi guilty of defiling the name of the Prophet Mohammed during a 2009 argument with Muslim fellow field workers. The offense is punishable by death or life imprisonment, according to Pakistan's penal code, and Bibi was sentenced to hang.
But an investigation by a Pakistani government ministry found the charges stemmed from religious and personal enmity and recommended Bibi's release.
By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor
(CNN) – Mitt Romney’s losses in Alabama and Mississippi on Tuesday offered more stark evidence of a huge stumbling in his quest for the GOP nomination and the White House: his difficulty winning in the evangelical-rich Bible Belt.
With Rick Santorum’s victories in Alabama and Mississippi, he and Newt Gingrich have taken all but one Bible Belt state in the primaries.
In Alabama, where self-described white evangelicals made up 75% of Republican voters Tuesday, Romney got 27% of their votes, compared with 35% for Santorum and 32% for Gingrich, according to exit polls.
By Patrick Oppmann, CNN
Havana (CNN) – In a rare speech on state-controlled television, Cuba's Catholic cardinal said an upcoming visit by the pope would reignite the religious fervor in the island.
Cardinal Jaime Ortega y Alamino, the Archbishop of Havana, told viewers that Pope Benedict was visiting the island to "revive a sleeping faith, a somewhat erased faith."
"The pope is determined to revive the faith of Christian countries that need to be re-evangelized," Ortega said.
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.