By Terry Frieden, CNN Justice Producer
Washington (CNN) – Two communities dominated by the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and its jailed leader Warren Jeffs have been sued by the federal government for alleged religious discrimination against citizens who don't belong to the polygamous sect.
The Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department filed suit against Colorado City, Arizona, and Hildale, Utah, and their local utility companies for taking actions including denying or delaying water to nonmembers of the FLDS faith.
The government says over time some actions have been taken by the communities under state pressure to end the discrimination but that federal authorities are seeking a court order to prevent future discrimination by the defendants. The government also is demanding monetary damages be repaid to those harmed by the discrimination.
The government stressed the fundamentalist offshoot has no relationship to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which ended polygamy more than a century ago.
By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor
(CNN) – Bias against a Mormon presidential candidate hasn’t budged in 45 years, with 18% of Americans saying they would not vote for a well-qualified candidate who happened to be Mormon, according to a Gallup Poll released Thursday.
The survey points up potential challenges for presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, who is vying to be the first Mormon in the White House.
Gallup first asked Americans about support for a Mormon presidential candidate in 1967 when Romney’s father, George Romney, was running for president. That year, 17% of Americans said they would not vote for a well-qualified Mormon for president.
By Richard Allen Greene, CNN
(CNN) – The little boy with a buzz cut shows no sign of nervousness as he sings in front of the church congregation.
Dressed in a pressed white shirt and blue sweater vest, he holds the microphone and sings that the Bible is right, then lets loose the line that brings whoops from the congregation: "Ain't no homo gonna make it to heaven."
Next to him, an adult beams as worshippers rise to their feet and cheer.
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: No verdict in Philadelphia priest sex abuse trial, source says
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.
CNN: New Southern Baptist leader: Former street preacher, Katrina survivor
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.
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.