By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor
President Barack Obama has a penchant for using high-profile prayer givers to send messages to the nation.
At his 2009 White House inauguration, Obama called on Pastor Rick Warren to deliver the invocation, signaling an attempt to tamp down on the culture wars (Warren is a theologically conservative evangelical who was close to George W. Bush).
Closing out the inauguration of the first black president was a prayer from The Rev. Joseph Lowery, a civil rights leader who worked alongside Martin Luther King, Jr.
The Obama campaign sent us a list of who will be delivering the opening and closing prayers each day at this week’s Democratic National Convention.
“The important role faith has played in President Obama’s own life and the lives of many Americans will be reflected in Charlotte," said Clo Ewing, a spokesperson with the campaign. "The Convention will include diverse religious leaders who are committed to the common good and understand that America needs a president who leads with values.”
Here’s a cheat sheet of who the prayer givers are – and why they matter:
Editor’s note: Eileen Barker is professor emeritus of sociology of religion at the London School of Economics.
By Eileen Barker, Special to CNN
With the death of the Rev. Sun Myung Moon at 92, we see the end of an era.
Moon was the last surviving charismatic leader of the wave of movements that spread throughout California and the rest of the West in the 1970s and ’80s – other examples included L. Ron Hubbard’s Scientology, David Berg’s Children of God and Prabhupada’s Hare Krishna movement.
In the case of Moon’s Unification Church, hordes of young, well-educated hippies left college and their comfortable middle-class homes to work up to 18 hours a day on the streets, selling flowers or candy and urging others to follow a Korean who declared that he was the messiah.
From Nasir Habib, CNN
Islamabad, Pakistan (CNN) – Pakistani police say a Muslim cleric planted evidence to link a Christian girl to blasphemy - a new twist in a case that has fanned flames of religious tension in the country and attracted worldwide interest.
The imam, Khalid Jadoon Chishti, will himself face blasphemy charges for tearing pages out of a Quran to use as evidence against the girl, Islambad police chief Bin Yamin said.
The latest development may make it easier for the girl, 14-year-old Rimsha, to be released on bail at her next court hearing.
Police arrested Rimsha last month after a neighbor accused her of burning pages containing texts from the Muslim holy book, the Quran.
By the CNN Wire Staff
(CNN) – South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu said Sunday that Tony Blair and George W. Bush should be "made to answer" at the International Criminal Court for their actions around the Iraq war.
Writing in an op-ed published by The Observer newspaper, the Nobel laureate accused the former leaders of the United Kingdom and the United States of fabricating a motive to invade Iraq, namely that it possessed weapons of mass destruction, and said that they had acted like "playground bullies."
"The immorality of the United States and Great Britain's decision to invade Iraq in 2003, premised on the lie that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction, has destabilised and polarised the world to a greater extent than any other conflict in history," wrote Tutu. "In a consistent world, those responsible for this suffering and loss of life should be treading the same path as some of their African and Asian peers who have been made to answer for their actions in the Hague."
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: Rev. Moon, religious and political leader, dies in South Korea at 92
The Rev. Sun Myung Moon – founder of the Unification Church, which gained fame worldwide decades ago for its mass weddings, as well as the Washington Times – died early Monday in South Korea, the church said. The Universal Peace Federation said on its website that Moon died early Monday morning of complications related to pneumonia. He was 92.
CNN: Marriott head praises Romney for bringing Mormonism ‘out of obscurity’
The head of the Marriott hotel chain, in deeply personal and reflective remarks at a New Hampshire church Sunday, credited Mitt Romney with changing Americans' perceptions about Mormonism.
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.