By Dan Gilgoff and Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editors
(CNN) - High-profile pastor Rick Warren has called off plans for a presidential forum that he said was scheduled to include both major party candidates, but there are conflicting accounts about why the event was canceled.
Warren told the Orange County Register that he was nixing his "civil forum" because of the toxic political climate.
"It would be hypocritical to pretend civility for one evening only to have the name-calling return the next day," Warren told the newspaper in an article published Wednesday.
But sources close to President Barack Obama's and Mitt Romney's political campaigns challenged that explanation, saying the event was canceled because of a lack of interest from the respective campaigns.
By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor
(CNN) – Even as the official Republican Party continues to try to derail Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin over his remarks about “legitimate rape,” a powerful force within the GOP has begun rallying to the candidate’s side: the party’s socially conservative base.
Powerful Christian activists in the GOP have begun pushing back against party leadership, alleging it has gone too far in trying to thwart Akin and that it is attempting to sideline issues that social conservatives care about, such as abortion.
The criticism is creating major tensions between the mainstream Republican Party and a key part of its base days before the GOP’s convention is set to open in Tampa, Florida.
(CNN) – Roman Catholic Cardinal Timothy Dolan, America’s highest-profile Catholic official, will deliver the closing prayer at next week’s Republican convention, in another sign of how important the Catholic vote is expected to be this year.
The Archdiocese of New York confirmed Dolan’s role on Wednesday night, after it was reported by The Associated Press. News of Dolan's role initially came in an interview of presumed GOP nominee Mitt Romney by EWTN, a Catholic television network, which is scheduled to air Thursday night.
Dolan is the president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the church’s U.S. arm, and has been an outspoken critic of the Obama administration’s rule requiring insurance companies to grant employees no-cost contraception coverage.
By Arielle Hawkins, 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: 7 big political apologies (including Todd Akin)
Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin apologized this week for asserting that women could prevent conception in cases of “legitimate rape,” including in a TV ad titled “forgiveness.” There’s a long tradition of politicians giving public apologies, though those acts of contrition usually come after revelations about sexual improprieties. Here’s a list of seven high-profile political apologies, which often draw on a religious lexicon.
CNN: Anti-abortion movement stands by 'no exceptions' orthodoxy amid controversy
Both Todd Akin’s claim that women’s bodies can prevent contraception in cases of “legitimate rape” and the GOP’s newly-adopted platform language calling for a constitutional ban on abortion have provoked controversy for largely the same reason: They showcase the belief that all abortions should be illegal, without exception.
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.