By the CNN Wire Staff
(CNN) - A Tennessee Islamic center has asked a federal court to clear the way for a new mosque to open in time for the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan at sundown Thursday.
Plans for the mosque in Murfreesboro, near Nashville, have resulted in threats to the center and a lawsuit that led to a county judge's order shutting down the project in June. The Islamic Center of Murfreesboro is now asking a federal judge to allow the mosque to open, arguing that it is being blocked "merely because local anti-Islamic protests have made the mosque controversial."
U.S. District Judge Todd Campbell set a hearing on the issue for Thursday afternoon in Nashville.
The lawsuit, filed on behalf of the center by the Washington-based Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, argues that the center was ordered to meet "a heightened standard of notice in the zoning process" because of objections by some Murfreesboro residents.
By Alicia Tarancon, CNN
(CNN)–Ryan Hall is the fastest American distance runner competing in the London Olympics and he says he owes it all to his omnipresent coach who has been there with him every step of the way.
“I’ll just be straight forward, my coach is God,” the 29-year-old Hall told CNN.
Last year, after finishing second in the 2011 United States half-marathon Championship, Hall was told to do a routine drug test. The form with the test had a space to fill in the name of the runner's coach.
"I saw the line, it said coach, it was blank, and I said, 'Well you know I have to be honest,' " Hall said, "So I put 'God' down and it turned into a big controversial thing."
"Now whenever I see that line I just leave it blank. I'll just let it slide by," he added.
Hall calls his method of training “faith-based coaching.” In London, he'll be putting his training to the test in the men's marathon.
By Eric Marrapodi, CNN's Belief Blog Co-Editor
(CNN)–Wheaton College, the most prominent evangelical higher education institution in the United States, has filed a lawsuit against the Obama administration over a mandate to provide contraceptive coverage.
The Illinois school joins Catholic counterparts Catholic University and the University of Notre Dame in filing suits to stop a Health and Human Services mandate to provide birth control coverage to their employees.
The move is significant because the new evangelical opposition to the policy—coming not just from Catholic institutions - could have election-year political fallout.
The HHS mandate requires employers to provide free contraception coverage to their employees. Although the plan exempted churches, other religiously affiliated employers, including colleges and hospitals, were not exempt.
In the face of that opposition, the Department of Health and Human Services tweaked its original rule in February to require health insurers, not employers, to cover the cost of contraception coverage, reasoning that would prevent religious groups from having to finance such coverage.
(CNN)–CNN's Gary Tuchman takes you inside a snake-handling church in Tennessee.
The death of a Mack Wolford, one of the best known snake handling pastors, put the obscure tradition back in the spotlight in late May.
Death of snake handling preacher shines light on lethal Appalachian tradition
Editor's Note: Tenzin Dorjee is executive director of Students for a Free Tibet, a global grassroots network of students and activists working for Tibetan independence. A writer and an activist, he is a spokesperson for the global Tibetan youth movement.
By Tenzin Dorjee, Special to CNN
(CNN)–In a crass display of moral blindsight, Stephen Prothero's blog post on Tibetan self-immolations blames the victim instead of the bully.
Tibetans are stuck in one of the world's last remaining and most brutal colonial occupations. It is through this lens, more than anything else, that we must understand the self-immolations.
Since 2009, at least 44 Tibetans -– monks, nuns and lay people -– have set themselves on fire to protest China's rule; 39 self-immolations have occurred this year alone. Every one of these acts is a direct result of China's systematic assault on the Tibetan people's way of life, their movements, their speech, their religion, and their identity.
By Dan Merica, CNN
(CNN) – The Revs. Chuck Hough IV and Chuck Hough III have more in common than just their names. The two have become a rarity in the Catholic Church – a father and son who became ordained Catholic priests at the same time.
Both men are both former Episcopal priests, each with a wife and children.
The younger Hough grew up in the Dallas-Fort Worth area with his father as a leader in the Episcopal Church and ended up following in his footsteps, joining the church when he was 25.
The elder Hough had been an Episcopal priest for 31 years before both he and his son decided in 2011 to join the Catholic Church. First they became members of the Catholic Church, then applied to join as priests through the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, a group to help Anglicans join the Catholic communion while maintaining some hallmarks of the Anglican tradition.
“We felt that something was missing for years and years,” the father said.
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: Ordination on the go? There’s an app for that!
Ever wondered what it would be like to become ordained as a priest, rabbi or imam? If you have an iPhone, you could be just a few screen swipes away from finding out. That’s because Tony Jones, theologian-in-residence at Solomon’s Porch in Minneapolis, Minnesota, has developed an application, or “app,” that allows iPhone users to experience mock ordinations in more than two dozen faiths.
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.