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July 10th, 2012
04:31 AM ET

Belief Blog's Morning Speed Read for Tuesday, July 10

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: State Dept: Release pastor jailed for 1,000 days, sentenced to death in Iran
It has been more than 1,000 days since a Christian pastor was thrown into an Iranian jail for leaving Islam and sentenced to death for, as the U.S. State Department put it, "simply following his faith." On Monday, the agency once again called on Iran to release Youcef Nadarkhani.

CNN: Study: People tweet more about church than beer
In an effort to look at cultural differences across the United States, a data analysis company selected two words that it felt exemplified an American cultural divide and analyzed their usage on Twitter. The words: “beer” and “church.” And according to the study by Floatingsheep.org, Americans tweet more about church than beer, and there is a distinct regional divide between the tweets.

Tweets of the Day:

Belief on TV:

Enlightening Reads:

The Huffington Post: Episcopal Church Approves Transgender People Ordination
The Episcopal Church on Monday overwhelmingly voted to allow the ordination of transgender people. At its triennial General Convention in Indianapolis, the church House of Deputies approved a change to the "nondiscrimination canons" to include "gender identity and expression." The move makes it illegal to bar from the priesthood people who were born into one gender and live as another or who do not identify themselves as male or female.

Religion and Politics: What Happened to Romney’s “Evangelical Problem”?
For six years, reporters and commentators have told the American public that evangelicals don’t want to vote for Mitt Romney because he is a Mormon. But now that Romney has become the presumptive Republican nominee, that narrative has evaporated, replaced by a new one: evangelicals will embrace Romney after all. Politics appear to trump theology. Evangelicals may not think Romney’s a Christian, but at least he’s not Obama.

The Jewish Telegraphic Agency: Jewish, Muslim student leaders meet to promote direct dialogue
Dozens of Jewish and Muslim student leaders are meeting in Bratislava, Slovakia to promote inter-religious dialogue through backdoor channels. The gathering, which began Sunday, was launched to allow young leaders to bypass community establishments and encourage direct dialogue, according to Ilya Sichrovsky, who founded the Muslim Jewish Conference, an Austria-based nonprofit, three years ago.

The Herald (South Carolina): York defendant thankful for penance
After Cassandra Belle Tolley pleaded guilty to driving drunk and crashing into a car, seriously injuring two people, a judge sentenced her to eight years in jail followed by five years of probation and substance abuse counseling. Circuit Court Judge Michael Nettles also included another order in the sentence, one that’s much less common. Tolley must read the Old Testament book of Job and write a summary.

Religion Dispatches: LDS Church Brings Religious Pressure to Zoning Fight
Coverage is beginning to pick up on a story first reported last Friday in Provo, Utah’s Daily Herald about the LDS Church applying a form of ecclesiastical pressure to get local residents who oppose the building of a nine-story LDS Church building in their neighborhood to relent. Residents in the Pleasant View neighborhood of northeast Provo had been assured by their local LDS Church leaders that it was okay to express concern about the building of a new nine-story Missionary Training Center that would significantly alter this residential and heavily LDS neighborhood in the foothills of the Wasatch Mountains. But then, local residents received messages that high-ranking LDS Church officials wanted them to drop their opposition.

Quote of the Day:

Those critics misunderstand my message. There's no question Paul and other apostles and disciples suffered for their faith, but they showed us you can have joy in the midst of trials. My message centers on the fact with God we can overcome difficult times . . . and we all go through those.

In an interview with Cleveland.com, Pastor Joel Osteen responds to some of his critics who say that he preaches a prosperity gospel, which focuses on the positive messages of the Bible without acknowledging the suffering of Jesus’ disciples.

Join the conversation…

Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, the leader of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, presides over a sermon to his followers in suburban Washington, D.C.

CNN: Islamic sect has appealing message for U.S. politicians but has global enemies
You’ve almost certainly never heard of him, but Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad drew some serious star power at a recent Capitol Hill reception in his honor. House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and Republican Sen. John Cornyn were among the many lawmakers who showed up to meet Ahmad, a Muslim leader who was in town last week on a rare U.S. visit from London. At a time when the United States is struggling with its views about Islam – as Islamists gain power in the Middle East and with ongoing concerns about Quran-citing terrorists – it’s not hard to see Ahmad’s appeal to both parties. As he said in his Capitol Hill speech, he has “love for all, hatred for none.”

- CNN's Laura Koran

Filed under: Uncategorized

soundoff (28 Responses)
  1. wolfygeek

    Robert Brown,
    Sorry to but in, but in response to your words with "myweightinwords" up there - I do personally know several people who will say that Odin helped them. No that isn't a joke. And, no, I'm not talking about something written in a blog somewhere, but actual flesh-and-blood human beings in my personal acquaintance and closeness. So your response is pretty moot and fails to address the question you were put to.

    July 21, 2012 at 5:22 am |
  2. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things

    July 12, 2012 at 8:57 pm |
    • Jesus

      Prayer does not; you are such a LIAR. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs:!

      July 13, 2012 at 10:58 am |
  3. Robert Brown

    @The Cold Light Of Day,
    The key here is that the works Paul was talking about and the works James was talking about were two different things. Paul was referring to works in the context of keeping the Mosaic law. In James the works are as Jesus said, love your neighbor as yourself. I suppose we will have to agree to disagree. You think that if a person doesn’t sell all they have and give it to the poor that they really don’t believe. Jesus said you must be born again. So, what comes first, believe and obey, or obey and believe? What James was explaining was that if you say you believe you will also love your neighbor, clothe the naked, feed the hungry. If you say you believe but don’t love your neighbor, do you really believe? That is his point. In other words, he is calling out the liars. He told them if your neighbor is starving and naked and you tell them, I hope you get fed and clothed, when you have the ability to actually help them, you are a hypocrite and the love of God could not be in you.

    July 10, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
    • Veritas

      That seems to apply to a lot of churches (especially those following the "prosperity gospel") and a lot of their congregations – so they're not true christians then?

      July 10, 2012 at 6:12 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Veritas,
      I think Jesus was against anything that took people’s attention away from God. Jesus ran the money changers out of temple, poured out their money, and turned over their tables. When shown the money with Caesar’s image on it, he told them to give to Caesar what belonged to Caesar and give to God what belongs to God. Which brings up the question, what belongs to God, or better yet, what doesn’t?

      July 10, 2012 at 8:26 pm |
    • Veritas

      Your implication appears to be that everything is god's so why would Jesus need to say that?
      As you didn't answer I'll presume that you agree that the followers of the "prosperity gospel" are not following true christianity.

      July 10, 2012 at 8:50 pm |
  4. tis true

    @ WHO INVITED ME?........ tis true , God has chosen the weak, the base, the poor, the dispised, the foolish rather than the strong the wise or the smarter persons ...
    This is I think found in Romans chapter 1 ...

    the reason I thiink God does it this way is so that it can be said that he is fair and impartial with a little lean towards those who are less sophistocated ... I mean he has to reach down to a level to the fools Right? 🙂 and those who are smart can figure it out ffor themselves Right? 🙂

    I mean I must be a really smart dumb person cause God had to come to me and proove himserf to me other wise I would not believe... I am very sceptical ...so God bent over backwards to make a belilever out of me.....Oh wait no he didn't he just had his word to oppen up mu eyes and then give me the gift which he gave his apostles 2000 yezrws ago they too were sceptical leaving him alone in the garden forsaking him to the crosss alone... he did that for you.... 🙂

    July 10, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
  5. HeavenSent

    Dearly beloved, touch not yourselves, but [rather] give your body to another: for it is written, oragasim is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.

    Romans 12:19

    July 10, 2012 at 12:00 pm |
  6. Robert Brown

    You can’t see wind, just it’s effects. You can’t see gravity, just its effects. You can’t see dark energy, just its effects. You can’t see God, just his effects. Are effects proof?

    July 10, 2012 at 10:21 am |
    • I'm The Best!

      I've never seen the effects from god, but wind and gravity I have. I've even seen the math that merits the need for dark energy, but never anything that would suggest the existence of a god.

      July 10, 2012 at 10:25 am |
    • Robert Brown

      If you can’t accept the existence of the universe, life itself, and a self- conscious being called human, as the effects of God, what about the testimony of the converted drunk, drug addict, thief, murderer, who.remonger, wh.ore, fighter, curser, liar? Did they make it up, turn over a new leaf, or was it, as they say, the effects of God?

      July 10, 2012 at 10:55 am |
    • Who invited me?

      the drug addict,alcoholicsthat "converted"...what a laugh....they subst i tute one addiction for another. they just took on the same crutch you use.
      Religion is for the weak minded, for those who can't form opinions for themselves and need to believe in something.
      If I told you that we are only here as a food source for a race of giant slugs that will come to eat us, and I told you this from the time you were born, then that is the religion you would have.
      There are no true religions, all are man-made abominations, and obstructions to the truths in the universe.

      July 10, 2012 at 11:02 am |
    • Willam

      ", as the effects of God, what about the testimony of the converted drunk, drug addict, thief, murderer, who.remonger, wh.ore, fighter, curser, liar?"

      Your argument falls apart when people cure themselves without a belief in a God. Our own will is a powerful tool often unused because people associate it with a God instead of themselves.

      July 10, 2012 at 11:06 am |
    • I'm The Best!

      The mind can convince itself of anything if you believe in it enough, there is proof of this in every psych ward around the world. The fact that these people got clean does not prove the god that they believe helped them does in fact exist, it does show that with some psychological help, people can get better.

      Not proof that god exists, but proof that the idea of religion can help get some people out of bad situations. After that, I wouldn't be too surprised if they could loose the religion but still stay clean, although I don't know that as a fact.

      July 10, 2012 at 11:06 am |
    • J.W

      Who invited me? is good at stereotyping.

      July 10, 2012 at 11:09 am |
    • Honey Badger Dont Care

      Proof no, evidence yes. However, there is NO evidence of your god that you are supposing.

      July 10, 2012 at 11:09 am |
    • myweightinwords

      @Robert Brown, then we must also accept the same "testimony" from those who have recovered from addictions and all the other things you mention, due to other faiths, other gods as proof of their existence, do we not?

      So you posit that a Christian who leads a clean life but was once a crack addict is proof of the Christian God. So then must an Asatru man who was once a heroin addict and is now clean be proof of Odin's existence, or a Celtic Pagan who was once a drunk and is now clean be proof of Morrigan's existence.

      I'm not sure how an atheist who was once an addict, but is now clean fits into your theory.

      July 10, 2012 at 11:09 am |
    • Robert Brown

      Who invited me?,
      Their conversion is the work of the holy spirit or at least to the skeptic should be evidence of it.

      July 10, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Willam,
      No, I didn’t say someone couldn’t reform from a bad habit. I said that they said God did it. There are thousands who claim that God saved them from destructive behavior. Do you think they are all lying?

      July 10, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      I'm The Best!,
      So, do you think all these people who claim God helped them are making it up or are attributing something they did in their own power or self-will, to God.

      July 10, 2012 at 12:36 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Honey Badger Dont Care,
      Well, which is it, the testimonies of the converted are evidence of God, or not?

      July 10, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Myweightinwords,
      How many people do you personally know that claim odin or morrigan helped them?

      July 10, 2012 at 12:41 pm |
    • I'm The Best!

      They're attributing something they did with their own willpower, and usually along with support from others which is easy to get within a tight-knit group like religion, to a god.

      Beating a vice takes a lot of willpower, and if you truly don't believe you can beat it on your own, then you tend to give credit to what you perceive did it for you. In this example, that's god.

      July 10, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
    • Lux

      Do you think that posting the same thing daily on different threads is persuasive?
      You don't seem to modify your post based on any response.

      July 10, 2012 at 6:05 pm |
    • Veritas

      Why does the fact that the universe exists mean it is evidence of a god or gods? Where did the god(s) come from? If god(s) can just exist – why can't a universe just exist? You know – cut out the middleman.

      July 10, 2012 at 6:09 pm |
    • L

      Atheists think the world around them just poofed itself into existence.

      Now that's magic!

      July 10, 2012 at 7:11 pm |
    • Judaism comes from the Sumerian Religion

      L you need to work on being more creative...so boring you are

      July 10, 2012 at 7:12 pm |
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About this blog

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.