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July 19th, 2012
02:44 PM ET

As Ramadan begins, controversial mosque won't be ready to open doors

By Steve Almasy and Melissa Abbey, CNN

(CNN) - Worshippers at an Islamic center in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, will have to wait a few more weeks before they can use their new mosque, officials said Thursday.

The mosque - subject of a two-year battle marked by legal wrangling, vandalism and anti-Muslim sentiment - still needs to pass inspection and get its occupancy permit, mosque officials said.

"It is unfortunate that we cannot be in our building for the start of Ramadan tonight," the officials said in a written statement. "However, it does look like we will get to enjoy most of Ramadan in our building, especially the breaking of the fast at the end of Ramadan, on Eid-ul-Fitr."

The release said it will take about 10 days to complete the next legal steps.

On Wednesday, a federal judge in Memphis ordered Rutherford County to conduct a final inspection on the building, setting aside a local judge's ruling from June that voided a planning commission's approval.

FULL STORY
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Islam

July 19th, 2012
02:15 PM ET

My Take: McCain takes down Bachmannism and stands up for America

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

(CNN)–One of Sen. John McCain’s better moments came in a 2008 campaign stop when a woman told him that she couldn’t trust Barack Obama because he was an Arab. Taking the microphone away from her, McCain said, “No ma'am, he’s a decent family man (and) citizen that I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues, and that’s what this campaign is all about.”

He had another great moment this week, when he stood up on the Senate floor to defend Huma Abedin, deputy chief of staff to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, against McCarthyesque accusations leveled against her by his Republican colleagues.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: Bachmann • Church and state • Culture wars • Islam • Middle East • Opinion • Politics • Prejudice • United States

Chick-fil-A's marriage stance causing a social storm
July 19th, 2012
08:18 AM ET

Chick-fil-A's marriage stance causing a social storm

By Brad Lendon, CNN

(CNN)–The fact that Chick-fil-A is a company that espouses Christian values is no secret. The fact that its 1,600 fast-food chicken restaurants across the country are closed on Sundays has long been testament to that.

But the comments of company President Dan Cathy about gay marriage to Baptist Press on Monday have ignited a social media wildfire.

10 religious companies (besides Chick-fil-A)

"Guilty as charged,", Cathy said when asked about his company's support of the traditional family unit as opposed to gay marriage.

Chick-fil-A controversy shines light on restaurant's Christian DNA

"We are very much supportive of the family – the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that," Cathy is quoted as saying.

CNN's This Just In Blog has the full social media reaction to the latest Chick-fil-A flap
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Christianity

July 19th, 2012
07:55 AM ET

Zimmerman: Shooting 'God's plan'

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

(CNN) –  It was "God's plan" that brought together George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin in a fatal confrontation in February, Zimmerman told Fox News host Sean Hannity Wednesday in his first television interview.

Zimmerman, 28, has been charged with second-degree murder for shooting Martin in what he says was self-defense. Martin was unarmed when he was killed while walking back to his father's girlfriend's house in a gated residential area of Sanford, Florida.  Zimmerman has pleaded not guilty and has been free on $1 million bail since early July.

Zimmerman, who said he routinely carried a gun except when he was at work, told Hannity he didn't regret deciding to follow Martin that night, after deciding the teen was acting suspiciously, and he didn't regret having a gun.

"Do you feel you wouldn't be here for this interview if you didn't have that gun?" Hannity asked.

"No, sir," Zimmerman responded.

"You feel you would not be here?" Hannity pressed.

"I feel it was all God's plan and for me to second guess it or judge it..." Zimmerman said, pursing his lips and shaking his head.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Catholic Church • Christianity

'The Blind Side' too hot for Christian bookstore
Sandra Bullock arrives at the premier of "The Blind Side." The film was recently pulled from Christian bookstores.
July 19th, 2012
07:23 AM ET

'The Blind Side' too hot for Christian bookstore

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

(CNN) - "The Blind Side" was a heartwarming movie about a real-life Christian family who adopted a troubled teen with a knack for football, helped him get into college, and eventually all the way to the NFL. It was nominated for a best picture Oscar, won Sandra Bullock the best actress Oscar, and it won over Christian audiences who for decades have said they were slighted and misrepresented by Hollywood. But all that was not enough to keep the movie on the shelves one of the country's largest Christian bookstores.

LifeWay Christian Resources, a division of the Southern Baptist Convention, had been selling the DVD at its 165 stores for two years with a sticker warning its patrons of strong language. There were rumblings about a resolution last month at the denomination's annual conference, and complaints from about a dozen people prompted LifeWay to remove the film from its shelves and online store.

At issue was the film's use of profanity, a racial slur and taking the Lord's name in vain.

That decision sparked outrage among some prominent evangelicals Christians who said pulling the movie over foul language was "legalistic" and "Pharisaical."

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Movies

July 19th, 2012
06:18 AM ET

Federal judge clears way for new Tennessee mosque to open for Ramadan

By the CNN Wire Staff

(CNN) – A federal judge ordered a Tennessee county to conduct a final inspection of a new mosque, clearing the way for worshippers to possibly begin using the building in time for the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan on Thursday.

The ruling by U.S. District Judge Todd J. Campbell is the latest development in a two-year battle over the opening of the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro, near Nashville, that has been marked by legal challenges and anti-Muslim sentiment.

"If the building complies with applicable codes and regulations, the County shall issue, on or before July 19, 2012, the certificate of occupancy," Campbell wrote Wednesday in his order granting a temporary restraining order against the county.

Campbell's ruling effectively set aside a ruling by a county judge in June that reversed a planning commission's approval of the Islamic Center's expansion because of what he said was insufficient public notice.

FULL STORY
- CNN's Laura Koran

Filed under: Courts • Muslim

July 19th, 2012
04:36 AM ET

Belief Blog's Morning Speed Read for Thursday, July 19

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: Tennessee Muslims sue to open mosque
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."

CNN: Olympian counts God as coach
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.

FULL POST

- CNN's Laura Koran

Filed under: Uncategorized

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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.

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