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May 4th, 2012
05:01 PM ET

Bible reading marathon wraps up in Washington

By David Ruff, CNN

Washington (CNN)–
For nearly 90 continuous hours, rain or shine, believers read the Bible from beginning to end on the steps of the nation's Capitol.

The Bible marathon began with a reading of Genesis 1:1 at 5 p.m. on Sunday, April 27. For 23 years, a small nonprofit group called the International Bible Reading Association has one purpose: "To encourage reading the Bible, both publicly and privately," says the Washington organizer Michael Hall, senior pastor of People's Church in Washington.

Volunteers take turns reading through the text 24 hours a day for five days. The group relies on the security of the Capital Hill Police, who are stationed all around the Capitol. Hall says the readers have never had any problems or threats from onlookers or other groups.

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Bible • Faith Now

May 4th, 2012
03:10 PM ET

Prisoners play Jesus and disciples

(CNN) – A cast with an armed robber as Jesus and a convicted murderer as the disciple who betrays him takes the stage in a production of "The Life of Jesus Christ" at the largest-maximum security prison in the United States.

Prisoners at the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola have been working on the play for more than a year with inmates from the Louisiana Correctional Institute for Women. The play runs through Saturday at the Angola prison.

Bobby Wallace, who has been behind bars for 21 years as part of a 66-year sentence for armed robbery, has the title role, reports CNN affiliate WBRZ-TV in Baton Rouge.

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- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Faith Now

May 4th, 2012
02:56 PM ET

Ahead of elections, French Muslims feel like scapegoats for nation’s problems

By Richard Allen Greene, CNN

Clichy-sous-Bois, France (CNN) - There's no doubt in university student Ouissem Satouri's mind about who he is. He’s Muslim. And he’s French. And there’s no contradiction between the two.

“I’m sitting here with you in a French cafe, wearing French clothes and having a French book in my bag, and I'm never asking myself if I am French or not,” says Satouri, who’s studying politics in Paris. “I am speaking French, I am living in France, I am dreaming in French, I want to live in France. I am French. But I am Muslim also.”

“You don't have to ask yourself if you are Muslim or French,” he says. “You don't have to take a position.”

Though France is home to Western Europe’s largest Muslim population, the question of whether someone could be both has surfaced here recently, ahead of a cliffhanger presidential election on Sunday. Many French politicians refer to Muslims as “immigrants” even though many, like Satouri, are the French-born kids of immigrants.

FULL POST

- Newsdesk editor, The CNN Wire

Filed under: France • Islam • Politics

Your Take: Comments and responses on National Day of Prayer
Stephen Prothero argues that the National Day of Prayer isn't just for Christians.
May 4th, 2012
01:03 PM ET

Your Take: Comments and responses on National Day of Prayer

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

My public letter to God on how we should pray on America’s National Day of Prayer drew over 4000 comments on Thursday. Many were the online equivalent of the courtship displays the wild turkeys are doing in my yard this week — gobbling on behalf of Christianity or atheism. But some were less driven by impulse and instinct.

Many commenters accused me of irreverence. “Bill” called my letter “a cheap literary trick” full of “sarcasm and disrespect.” “I wonder if you would address Him so flippantly if he were standing in front of you?” “Ron from Jersey” said I showed “no respect or understanding of the personal and loving god of Judeo-Christian belief.”

It seems to me, however, that those who are showing disrespect for God are those who claim to divine precisely what God believes about politics or prayer.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: Christianity • Church and state • Culture wars • My Take • Opinion • Politics • Prayer • United States

May 4th, 2012
11:05 AM ET

May 4th, 2012
04:26 AM ET

Belief Blog's Morning Speed Read for Friday, May 4

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: Billy Graham backs North Carolina amendment to ban gay marriage
The Rev. Billy Graham, the world's best-known evangelist, has endorsed a ballot initiative to constitutionally ban gay marriage in his home state of North Carolina, a rare move for a preacher who has typically avoided political fights. North Carolinians will vote on the state's Marriage Amendment Act before North Carolina voters next Tuesday.

FULL POST

- CNN's Laura Koran

Filed under: Morning Read

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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 and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.

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