By Becky Perlow, CNN
(CNN) – More than 160 years after its founding as a pro-slavery church, the Southern Baptist Convention on Tuesday elected a black pastor for the first time to lead the denomination.
The election of the Rev. Fred Luter Jr. of New Orleans comes 17 years after Southern Baptist leaders apologized for the denomination's onetime support of white supremacist and segregationist policies.
It also cements years of effort by the church to overcome that divisive heritage.
"Just as some have said that in America race is the original sin, that certainly has been the case among the Southern Baptists," said Curtis Freeman, the director of Duke University's Baptist House of Studies. "It's something that the convention has never been quite able to [get] beyond."
By Ella Chick, CNN
(CNN)–Areas of Brooklyn, New York feel like a trip back in time. Ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities live a lifestyle that mirrors their ancestors from centuries ago. The dress, hair, language, education, food, values, prayers, traditions and community structure have been passed down and preserved through many generations and across oceans. All of those are an expression of the residents’ profound faith in God.
What is not visible are shameful secrets: Child sex abuse scandals have been making headlines for years and bringing unwanted attention to a group bent on privacy.
For Hasidim, every waking act is defined by the laws of the Torah; they depend on the teachings of rabbis to guide them in all parts of their day. Influence from the secular world threatens to invade their insular community.
Now revered leaders of the community are accused of protecting child predators and punishing the victims who dare to speak out about what was done to them, all to avoid outside involvement.
By Jim Spellman, CNN
Denver (CNN) - Kristen Kelly was raised Roman Catholic, attended Catholic elementary school and considered herself a good Catholic, but when she was 21-years-old that changed.
“A coworker asked me if I believe in Jesus Christ,” she says.
Despite spending her entire life in the Roman Catholic Church she couldn’t answer the question.
“I never really got exposed to Christ," she says. "It was more about Mary and the Church and a condemnation of everything I was doing wrong.”
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: Key Catholic group drops support for White House contraception plan
The Obama administration’s key Catholic ally on its controversial plan to require health insurers to provide free contraceptive coverage is dropping support for the plan, potentially complicating the president’s relations with Catholics in an election year. The Catholic Health Association, which comprises 2,000 Catholic hospitals, health systems and related organizations, said Friday that although it had initially supported what the White House called a compromise on the contraception issue, it is now “deeply concerned” about the plan and says the White House “has not relieved our initial concerns.”
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.