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September 6th, 2012
09:09 PM ET

Catholic bishop convicted of shielding priest

By the CNN Wire Staff

(CNN) – A judge in Kansas City, Missouri, has sentenced a Catholic bishop to two years on probation for failure to report suspected child abuse, officials said Thursday.

Bishop Robert W. Finn, 59, is the highest-ranking Catholic official to be convicted during the church's long sexual abuse scandal.

Finn won't serve any jail time or pay a fine, the Jackson County Prosecuting Attorney's office said. The misdemeanor charge had a maximum penalty of one year in prison and a fine of as much as $1,000.

Read the full story on the conviction of Kansas City's bishop
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Catholic Church • Missouri

Conventions leave atheists asking: What political party represents me?
A voice vote to change the DNC party platform turned to chaos Wednesday night.
September 6th, 2012
03:24 PM ET

Conventions leave atheists asking: What political party represents me?

By Dan Merica, CNN

Washington (CNN) – This convention season has not been good for atheists.

The word "God" was reinserted in the Democratic platform after it had been removed. A plan to raise atheist billboards in the convention cities was stymied by opponents. And though there were preachers and rabbis and other religious leaders opening and closing each day of each convention, there wasn’t an avowed atheist talking up unbelief on either convention’s speaking list.

The political lockout has left many nonbelievers asking, “What political party represents me?”

FULL POST

- Dan Merica

Filed under: 2012 Election • Atheism • God • Politics

Dems: God never left our party
Democrats pray at a morning gathering at the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, NC.
September 6th, 2012
01:58 PM ET

Dems: God never left our party

By Steve Kastenbaum, CNN

Charlotte, North Carolina (CNN)–Heads are bowed in prayer inside room 211 at the Charlotte Convention Center.

Last night, Democrats put the word 'god' back into their party platform following some strong criticism. For the folks at this daily prayer session though, god and the party never parted ways.

Delegates here are fine tuning the message that you can have deep religious convictions and still vote for a Democrat. It's a puzzle the party has been trying to crack for years.

“The notion that one party holds a cornerstone on Christianity, that’s breaking and that’s what one of our goals is – to break that stereotype because the reason that we’re Democrats is because we are Christians,” says Christina Forrester, founder and president of the group Christian Democrats of America.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: 2012 Election • Christianity • Faith Now • Politics

September 6th, 2012
01:05 PM ET

September 6th, 2012
12:27 PM ET

Richard Dawkins: Evolution is 'not a controversial issue'

Atheist. Biologist. Writer. Thinker. Richard Dawkins has developed an international reputation of spreading the word that evolution happened and that there is no "intelligent design" or higher being, as you might gather from the title of his book "The God Delusion."

But no matter what you think about his convictions, his ideas have gone viral – including the word "meme."

CNN caught up with Dawkins while he was passing through Atlanta earlier this year. His next U.S. tour is in October.

Here is an edited transcript of part of the conversation. Watch the video above for a more focused look at Dawkins' ideas about evolution vs. intelligent design.

Read the full interview with Richard Dawkins
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Atheism • evolvution • Leaders • Science

My Take: When it comes to 'God' in our political platforms, less is more
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa presided over the reinsertion of 'God' into the Democrats' platform.
September 6th, 2012
12:27 PM ET

My Take: When it comes to 'God' in our political platforms, less is more

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

I first heard that God had gone missing from the Democratic Party platform from a Facebook friend who rejoiced in a godless platform as a triumph for the First Amendment and the separation of church and state.

I was surprised, however, because since the loss of John Kerry to George W. Bush in the 2004 presidential race, Democrats have gotten religion.

President Obama used the word God five times in his inaugural address. And according to my search of the database of The American Presidency Project at the University of California at Santa Barbara, he has used it thousands of times more during his presidency.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: 2012 Election • Church and state • Culture wars • My Take • Politics • United States

My Take: Obama pledged to dial down the culture wars. What happened?
The author says that Obama has let down antiabortion Democrats.
September 6th, 2012
11:30 AM ET

My Take: Obama pledged to dial down the culture wars. What happened?

Editor's note: Michael Sean Winters writes the blog "Distinctly Catholic" for the National Catholic Reporter and is the author of "God's Right Hand: How Jerry Falwell Made God a Republican and Baptized the American Right."

By Michael Sean Winters, Special to CNN

Four years ago, anti-abortion Sen. Robert Casey addressed the Democratic National Convention.

“Barack Obama and I have an honest disagreement on the issue of abortion,” he said. “But the fact that I am speaking here tonight is testament to Barack’s ability to show respect to the views of people who may disagree with him… he’ll pursue the common good by seeking common ground rather than trying to divide us.”

The next day, speaking to fellow anti-abortion Democrats, we all admitted we had been moved to tears by Casey’s speech.

As candidate and as president, Obama promised he would try and heal the culture wars.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: 2012 Election • Abortion • Barack Obama • Politics

As sex trade increases around conventions, faith-based groups step up efforts
A mobile billboard from Shared Hope International passes through Charlotte, North Carolina, during the Democratic convention.
September 6th, 2012
08:06 AM ET

As sex trade increases around conventions, faith-based groups step up efforts

By Jen Christensen, CNN

Charlotte, North Carolina (CNN) - It’s 10 p.m. in Charlotte’s trendy NoDa district, and a handful of women and one man have hunkered down over French press coffee and caramel pastries that are so amazing the cafe’s owners were once invited to the White House.

These customers have gathered at Amelie’s, a 24-hour French bakery, with a serious mission. They want to end human trafficking.

As volunteers for Compassion to Act, a faith-based nonprofit, they meet regularly to discuss how to rescue and restore the lives of human trafficking victims. But with the Democratic National Convention gathered just down the road this week, they and other groups have stepped up their efforts.

They anticipate a greater need for their help.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Human trafficking

September 6th, 2012
06:10 AM ET

Belief Blog's Morning Speed Read for Thursday, September 6

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: Democrats update platform with Jerusalem, God reference
Democrats voted to update their party's platform Wednesday evening at their convention to include a reference to Jerusalem being the capital of Israel, as well as the insertion of the word "God," neither of which was included in their platform this year but was in previous platforms.

CNN: Rising anti-Islamic sentiment in America troubles Muslims
When the nation pauses to remember 9/11 next week, a group of Tennesseans will gather at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Franklin for a commemoration. But it will be more than that. On the program, called "The Threat in Our Backyard," is a lecture on Islam in public schools and a short film on Sharia finance. It's a program organized by people who feel the American way of life is threatened by Islam – in particular, Sharia, or Islamic law. Valarie Kaur, a legal advocate and hate crimes specialist, says proponents of anti-Sharia bills are battling an imaginary threat, and blames tough economic times and an amplification of hateful speech for incidents like the temple shooting and the momentum behind the anti-Sharia campaign.

FULL POST

- A. Hawkins

Filed under: Morning Read

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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 and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.

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