By Dan Merica, CNN
Washington (CNN) – In an anticipated and controversial address Friday, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius delivered a speech that blended inspirational messages to graduates with a discussion of public policy's tough decisions, including health care and honoring religious freedom.
Her speech at the Georgetown Public Policy Institute awards ceremony had been considered controversial by conservative Catholic organizations that saw her appearance as the university validating her positions on abortion and contraception.
The speech did not mention the controversy directly, but Sebelius did address faith in public life in a section of the speech devoted to John F. Kennedy, the first Catholic president of the United States.
"Kennedy was elected president on November 8, 1960," she said. "And more than 50 years later, that conversation, about the intersection of our nation's long tradition of religious freedom with policy decisions in the public square, continues."
Washington (CNN) - In the latest round of culture wars over contraception and religious liberty, most Americans would probably identify places like the White House and Congress as key battlefields. But another nearby locale has emerged as a national platform for such skirmishes: the stately campus of Georgetown University, the country's oldest Roman Catholic college.
On Friday, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, a Catholic, spoke at a relatively low-profile graduation ceremony for one of Georgetown's individual schools, an appearance that attracted criticism from the Catholic archdiocese of Washington.
The archdiocese and conservative Catholic groups blasted Sebelius' appearance after the role she played in crafting the new contraception mandate for insurance companies that says they must provide such coverage even to employees at Catholic institutions and because of her support for abortion rights.
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: Artist wants Jesus Popsicles to stand as statement on fanaticism, violence
Sebastian Errazuriz has used art to take on an array of issues: New York's death rate, the Occupy movement, military suicide, children with disabilities, the brutal reign of Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet. Now, the Brooklyn-based artist is taking aim at what he sees as religious extremism. At a party this weekend celebrating New York Design Week, which begins today, the Chilean-born artist plans to hand out 100 "Christian Popsicles" made of "frozen holy wine transformed into the blood of Christ" and featuring a crucifix instead the tongue depressor that typically hosts the frozen treats, he said.
CNN: Your Take: Rebuttals to rethinking the Bible on homosexuality
A guest "My Take" post we ran this week from a college psychology professor who has a background in religion (he was ordained a Roman Catholic priest, for instance) challenged that conventional wisdom. The piece has generated an avalanche of response: 10,000 Facebook shares, 6,000 comments, 200 tweets and a couple of blog posts. Giving the other side its say, here's a rebuttal roundup of critical reactions from across the Internet.
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.