By Jessica Ravitz, CNN
Big news broke in the Mormon world this weekend, when the president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced a lowered minimum age requirement for missionary service, most notably for women.
Women can now go out in the field to serve their church at 19, instead of 21. Though this may not seem monumental to outsiders, some Mormons say it's a game-changing moment that may rewrite women's futures and even influence broader dynamics within the LDS Church community.
“The narrative of young women has been that marriage trumps everything else as your most important spiritual pursuit,” explained Joanna Brooks, scholar, blogger and author of “The Book of Mormon Girl: Stories from an American Faith.” This shift “signals a reorganizing of expectations for women’s lives. … It changes the storyline.”
By Dan Merica, CNN
Washington (CNN) – Following a string of recent developments that suggest waning Protestant power – like the first Supreme Court with no Protestant justices, and a Protestant-free Republican presidential ticket – a new Pew survey finds that Protestants are no longer the majority in the United States.
The Protestant population has declined from 53% of the U.S. population in 2007 to 48% this year, according to the survey by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, released Tuesday.
The results mark the first time since Pew has been tracking the country's religious demographics that the share of Protestant Christians in the United States has dipped significantly below 50%.
The largest decline among Protestant subgroups tracked by Pew was among white mainline Protestants, whose proportion of the population dropped 3 percentage points, from 18% to 15%.
By Joe Sutton, CNN
Authorities in Oklahoma have arrested and charged a 23-year-old man who they say planned to blow up 48 area churches.
Gregory Arthur Weiler II was arrested last week at a motel in Miami, Oklahoma, according to Ben Loring, first assistant district attorney for Ottawa County.
Authorities were tipped off to the plot by workers at the motel about 90 miles northeast of Tulsa. One discovered a duffel bag full of Molotov cocktails near the outside trash, while a room service employee reported suspicious items in Weiler's room, said Loring.
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 Belief Blog wins Religion Newswriters Association awards
We're gonna gloat. Over the weekend, CNN's Belief Blog won a stack of awards from the Religion Newswriters Association at the group's annual conference. It's a huge honor for us and we want to thank our readers, who help shape our coverage every day via comments, guest pieces, tweets and Facebook posts. Here's a rundown of the awards, with links to the stuff that took top honors.
CNN: Pastor at Ryan event once said Romney is not a Christian
The pastor who delivered a passionate invocation at Paul Ryan's rally in Rochester, Michigan on Monday evening told CNN earlier this year that the man at the top of the Republican ticket, Mitt Romney, is not a Christian. Romney's running mate was making his first campaign appearance in Michigan since August.
By Peter Hamby, CNN Political Reporter
Washington (CNN) – The pastor who delivered a passionate invocation at Paul Ryan's rally in Rochester, Michigan on Monday evening told CNN earlier this year that the man at the top of the Republican ticket, Mitt Romney, is not a Christian.
Romney's running mate was making his first campaign appearance in Michigan since August.
Editor's note: CNN recently won four first-place reporting awards from the Religion Newswriters Association. Read more about the awards here.
Washington (CNN) – The fastest growing "religious" group in America is made up of people with no religion at all, according to a Pew survey showing that one in five Americans is not affiliated with any religion.
The number of these Americans has grown by 25% just in the past five years, according to a survey released Tuesday by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life.
The survey found that the ranks of the unaffiliated are growing even faster among younger Americans.
Thirty-three million Americans now have no religious affiliation, with 13 million in that group identifying as either atheist or agnostic, according to the new survey.
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.