Editor's Note: Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion scholar and author of "The American Bible: How Our Words Unite, Divide, and Define a Nation," is a regular CNN Belief Blog contributor.
By Stephen Prothero, Special to CNN
When I first started studying Asian religions in the United States in graduate school, I assumed that the story of Asian immigration was a story of the arrival and adaptation of Hinduism, Buddhism and other Asian religions.
And so it is. But the broader story is much more complicated and intriguing.
By the CNN Wire Staff
(CNN) - A Philadelphia jury was unable to reach a verdict Wednesday on four of five charges in a landmark priest sex abuse case, according to a source familiar with the proceeding.
There appear to be two holdouts, and the judge has ordered jurors to keep deliberating, the source said. It is not clear which charges could not be agreed upon.
Common Pleas Court Judge M. Teresa Sarmina said the panel says it has developed "firm, fixed opinions" and "entrenched positions," rendering it unable to return a verdict after 12 days of deliberations.
Monsignor William Lynn is considered the first high-ranking church official to be charged in the three-month-long trial.
By Ashley Hayes, CNN
(CNN) – Hospitalized at age 21 with compound fractures and serious head injuries after a motorcycle accident, Fred Luter Jr. decided to give his life to God and enter the ministry.
A native of New Orleans' impoverished lower Ninth Ward neighborhood, Luter was the third of five children raised by a divorced mother who worked as a seamstress and a surgical scrub assistant, according to Thom Rainier, president and CEO of the Nashville, Tennessee-based LifeWay Christian Resources and a friend of Luter's.
Although he had been active in the church as a child, Luter "began to do some serious reflecting on his life" after the 1977 crash, according to a Web posting on Rainier's website. "God used that incident to bring him back to serving him," Rainier wrote.
And what a long way he's come since. On Tuesday, Luter, now the pastor of the 8,000-plus-member Franklin Avenue Baptist Church in New Orleans, was elected the first African-American president of the Southern Baptist Convention, an organization that began as a pro-slavery church more than 160 years ago. His term officially begins Wednesday night.
By Chris Welch, CNN
Minneapolis (CNN) - Jim Smith is a former Roman Catholic priest who left his post with the church 10 years ago. He's an ex-priest for several reasons, he says, but one of his main concerns was the church's stance against same-sex marriage and other LGBT issues.
But Smith remains a Catholic - though he says being a Catholic who actively campaigns for legalized same-sex marriages can be difficult these days.
"I'd much rather this wasn't happening," Smith says of the division that the issue has created among Minnesota Catholics. "But it does provide some real opportunities because it challenges us to talk to each other, Catholics talking to other Catholics."
Minnesota has become the newest epicenter in the same-sex marriage fight. This November, voters will decide whether they want an amendment added to the state's constitution that would ban marriage between members of the same sex.
Smith will be voting "no." And he has helped spearhead efforts in the state to persuade other Catholics to do the same.
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: Southern Baptists elect first black president
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.
CNN: Hasidic child sex abuse allegations
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.
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.