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New Jersey church 'safe haven' for Indonesian immigrant
Saul Timisela (center) at Reformed Church of Highland Park, where he plans to stay until his immigration case is resolved.
March 20th, 2012
01:20 PM ET

New Jersey church 'safe haven' for Indonesian immigrant

By Mary Snow, CNN

(CNN) – A bed, space heater and a place to put his clothes are all Saul Timisela have in a room he calls home. But his new refuge inside New Jersey’s Reformed Church of Highland Park is the only thing that stands between him and deportation.

"I feel safe," says Timisela, who moved into a Sunday school classroom on March 1, when he defied an order to return to his native Indonesia. His wife has since joined him.   "All the members are so welcoming,” adds Timisela,  who says he’s prepared to stay in the church until his case is solved.

When and if that happens is a question mark. In the eyes of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Timisela is an "immigration fugitive" who was "ordered removed" from the U.S. in 2006 but failed to leave. He says he was unaware of that 2006 order. He’s now inside a church, and it’s unlikely that immigration officials would raid it.

Read the full update on Carl's story here from CNN's In America Blog.
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Church • Church and state

March 20th, 2012
10:17 AM ET

Vatican begs forgiveness of Ireland abuse victims

By Richard Allen Greene and Peter Taggart, CNN

(CNN) - The Vatican begged forgiveness from Irish victims of child sexual abuse by priests as it released a major report into the problem Tuesday, but victims responded with anger and disbelief at the report's finding that new safeguards are working.

"With a great sense of pain and shame, it must be acknowledged that within the Christian community, innocent young people were abused by clerics," a high-level Catholic Church committee found.

"Those who should have exercised vigilance often failed to do so effectively," the committee found.

FULL POST

- Newsdesk editor, The CNN Wire

Filed under: Catholic Church • Ireland

Egypt's Coptic Pope Shenouda III laid to rest
A woman faints as crowds converge on Saint Mark's Coptic Cathedral in Cairo's al-Abbassiya district this week.
March 20th, 2012
08:33 AM ET

Egypt's Coptic Pope Shenouda III laid to rest

By the CNN Wire Staff

Cairo (CNN) - Thousands of people flooded into Cairo's Abbasiya Cathedral Tuesday to say a final farewell to Pope Shenouda III, the spiritual leader of Egypt's Coptic Christians for more than four decades.

Shenouda III died Saturday at the age of 88.

His successor's name will be chosen by a blindfolded child from among three finalists chosen by community leaders - a process that could take months.

The funeral could bring millions of Christians onto the streets of Egypt at a time when tensions with the Muslim majority are high.

Egypt's Christian minority has been the target of a number of high-profile attacks in the past several years.

Read the full story on the funeral for Pope Shenouda III.
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Egypt

My Take: How Romney could transcend Mormonism with civil religion
Mitt Romney in Illinois, which holds its primary on Tuesday.
March 20th, 2012
08:13 AM ET

My Take: How Romney could transcend Mormonism with civil religion

Editor's Note: Dan Birdsong is a political science lecturer at the University of Dayton, teaching courses on the presidency, campaigns and elections and media.

By Dan Birdsong, Special to CNN

(CNN) – There has been a deliberate and concerted effort on the part of the Mitt Romney campaign, even before it officially began, to divert attention from the presidential candidate’s Mormonism by attempting to connect with primary voters by talking about a shared civil religion. But to be effective Romney must take this strategy much further.

What’s civil religion? It’s patriotism’s kissing cousin. It’s a kind of deeper version of nationalistic pride. It is an effort to link patriotism to morality and virtue. Think the phrase “God and country,” or the solemn reverence so many Americans have for our nation’s founding documents.

Romney puts himself at a disadvantage to his rivals and past presidents because he cannot, or is unwilling to, seamlessly link his faith to his patriotism.

Such a strategy would enhance what media types call his “personal narrative” and would go a long way toward forging a strong emotional connection with voters. Here’s how he can do it:

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: 2012 Election • Mitt Romney • Mormonism • Opinion • Politics

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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 with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.

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