By Sarah Hoye, CNN
Philadelphia (CNN) – The highest-ranking cleric to be charged with child endangerment testified Wednesday in the landmark child sexual abuse and conspiracy trial in which he and another Philadelphia priest are defendants.
Dressed in clerical garb, Monsignor William Lynn took the stand inside the packed Common Pleas courtroom under the watchful eye of Judge Teresa Sarmina. He was calm, confident and very matter-of-fact during direct examination by one of his defense attorneys, Thomas Bergstrom.
"I felt I was helping priests and helping victims as best I could," Lynn told jurors, swiveling in the witness chair.
Lynn is accused of knowingly allowing dangerous priests to continue in the ministry in roles in which they had access to children. Also on trial is the Rev. James Brennan, who is accused of the attempted rape of a 14-year-old. Both Brennan and Lynn have pleaded not guilty.
Bergstrom and fellow defense counsel Jeff Lindy put their client, Lynn, on the stand at mid-morning.
By Alex Zuckerman, CNN
Washington (CNN) – After sitting in storage for nearly a decade, George Washington’s signature statement on religious liberty will go on display this summer in the city where freedom of religion was enshrined in the Constitution: Philadelphia.
America’s first president wrote the letter to a Jewish congregation in Newport, Rhode Island, in 1790, assuring American Jews that their freedom of religion would be protected. The document will go on display this summer for the first time since 2002 in an exhibition at Philadelphia’s National Museum of American Jewish History.
For nine years, the letter has been kept out of public view, in storage at a sterile Maryland office park a few hundred feet from FedEx Field, where the Washington Redskins play. CNN took an inside look at the document in September.
By Ismael Estrada, CNN
Maiden, North Carolina (CNN) – Just about everyone here is talking about the local pastor who made national headlines this week after a video that features him telling congregants how to “get rid of” gays went viral.
Neighbors of the Providence Road Baptist Church – where a sign advertises “old time religion” - say Pastor Charles Worley is known for being over the top, with one neighbor describing him as “fire and brimstone” whose views are out of sync with much of the surrounding community.
"I figured a way out, a way to get rid of all the lesbians and queers, but I couldn't get it past the Congress,” Worley told his church on May 13, in a video that has been seen half a million times on YouTube.
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: Vatican protesters gather in NYC
A group of Catholic activists gathered in front of a Manhattan cathedral Tuesday for the latest protest over a Vatican reprimand of America's largest organization of Catholic nuns. About two dozen parishioners and former clergy gathered in front of St. Patrick's Cathedral, protesting last month's controversial report from the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, the church's doctrinal watchdog.
CNN: 'Other-ness': What Obama and Romney have in common on religion, race
The uproar last week over a proposed campaign ad highlighting President Barack Obama's former pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, lit up political circles before organizers finally backed off the idea. And Mitt Romney came under fire from evangelicals before his speech to Liberty University in Virginia earlier this month because some at the traditional Christian school still believe Mormonism is a cult.
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.