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October 24th, 2012
05:27 AM ET

Belief Blog's Morning Speed Read for Wednesday, October 24

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:


An injured Buddhist man lies on a bed at the hospital in Sittwe, capital of Myanmar's western Rakhine state, on Tuesday.

CNN: Fresh violence in Myanmar leaves mosque, monastery burned
Fresh sectarian clashes in Myanmar's western state of Rakhine killed three people and left more than 400 houses, a monastery and a mosque burned to the ground, authorities said Tuesday. The clashes began Sunday night and spread to four townships, said state Attorney General Hla Thein. Rakhine is home to the Rohingya, an ethnic Muslim minority who say they have been persecuted by the Myanmar military during its decades of authoritarian rule.

Tweet of the Day:

Enlightening Reads:

The Jerusalem Post: Vatican denies deal with Israel on security barrier
Local church leaders on Tuesday denied reports that the Vatican has allowed the IDF to build the security fence on its land in the Cremisan Valley, so that the property could remain on the Israeli side of the barrier. The valley is situated between the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Gilo and the West Bank settlement of Har Gilo in the Gush Etzion region.

Catholic News Service: Trip of papal delegation to Syria postponed
The visit of a papal delegation to the capital of war-torn Syria, previously announced for late October, has been postponed indefinitely, and the delegation's membership, which was to have included Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, will be changed. Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Vatican secretary of state, made the announcement Oct. 23 at the morning session of the world Synod of Bishops.

The Guardian: Mali: no rhythm or reason as militants declare war on music
When a rabble of different Islamist groups took control of northern Mali in April there were fears that its rich culture would suffer. But no one imagined that music would almost cease to exist – not in Mali, a country that has become internationally renowned for its sound. And yet that is the bland reality dawning on this once joy-filled land. An official decree banning all western music was issued on 22 August by a heavily bearded Islamist spokesman in the city of Gao. "We don't want the music of Satan. Qur'anic verses must take its place. Sharia demands it," the decree says.

Religion News Service: The biggest slice of Obama’s religious coalition? The unaffiliated
The largest slice of President Barack Obama’s religious coalition - at 23 percent - is not very religious. They’re the “nones,” also known as unaffiliated voters, according to a new American Values Survey by the Public Religion Research Institute. Gov. Mitt Romney’s biggest bloc of religious voters are white evangelical Protestants, at 37 percent, followed by white mainline Protestants and white Catholics, each at 19 percent. Comparing the candidates' supporters, the more diverse religious and nonreligious coalition that's favoring Obama tends to be younger and growing, which could make it easier for Democrats to win elections in the future.

Catholic News Service: US leaders urged to put respect for human dignity at center of issues
The Secular Franciscan Order urged U.S. business leaders and government officials, including the next U.S. president, to approach economic and political issues with the "foundational premise" that "all of creation, especially human life, has dignity and value." The order's national body - representing 13,400 secular Franciscans across the country - unanimously endorsed the statement and pledged prayer and action over the next year.

Join the conversation…

CNN: The Gospel according to Obama
President Barack Obama was sharing a pulpit one day with a conservative Christian leader when a revealing exchange took place. Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback, a conservative Christian, had joined Obama for an AIDS summit. They were speaking before a conservative megachurch filled with white evangelicals. When Brownback rose to speak, he joked that he had joined Obama earlier at an NAACP meeting where Obama was treated like Elvis and he was virtually ignored. Turning to Obama, a smiling Brownback said, “Welcome to my house!” The audience exploded with laughter and applause. Obama rose, walked before the congregation and then declared: “There is one thing I have to say, Sam. This is my house, too. This is God’s house.”

- A. Hawkins

Filed under: Morning Read

soundoff (41 Responses)
  1. mama k

    Christians are experts in telling each other they are "not the right kind of Christian". This has always been the case in the U.S. Different Christian sects were even feuding and persecuting each other around the time of the founding of the U.S. in several states (or soon-to-be states). Because this feuding between these sects annoyed our founders so greatly, they made it a top priority to establish the separation of church and state (and to make it Amendment #1 of our Constitution). This is also reflected in what they had to say on the matter:

    James Madison (our 4th President, was the chief architect of the U.S. Constitution):

    During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What has been its fruits? More or less in all places, pride and indolence in the clergy; ignorance and servility in the laity; in both, superstition, bigotry, and persecution.

    (A Memorial and Remonstrance, addressed to the Virginia General Assembly, 1785)

    and then ten years later:

    Who does not see that the same authority which can establish Christianity, in exclusion of all other religions, may establish with the same ease any particular sect of Christians, in exclusion of all other sects?

    (A Memorial and Remonstrance, addressed to the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of VA, 1795)

    Thomas Jefferson (our 3rd President, was the key author of the Declaration of Independence)

    Because religious belief, or non-belief, is such an important part of every person's life, freedom of religion affects every individual. State churches that use government power to support themselves and force their views on persons of other faiths undermine all our civil rights. Moreover, state support of the church tends to make the clergy unresponsive to the people and leads to corruption within religion. Erecting the "wall of separation between church and state," therefore, is absolutely essential in a free society.

    (Letter (as POTUS) to the Virginia Baptists (1808))

    and then of course we have clarifying moments in history such as:

    President John Adams and the U.S. Senate on behalf of the U.S.

    As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion;

    (from Article 11 of the U.S. treaty ratified with Tripoli in 1797)

    Senator John F Kennedy said on Sept. 12, 1960, just prior to his winning the Presidential election:

    I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute.

    October 24, 2012 at 6:53 pm |
  2. BIG fail for CNN, BIG fail for the Tea Party Right

    Why is there no mention on the Belief Blog of Senatorial candidate Richard Mourdock who yesterday said that when a woman becomes pregnant during a rape "that's something God intended," and today said he stands by those comments?

    This is the second Senate candidate in weeks to make truly sick comments based on their religion regarding rape, which are the basis for their intended governance of the country?

    What's up, CNN? Is the Arizona text and tweet church news, and the abominable views of men who may become senators not?

    This is why religion is a factor in deciding on candidates, and how dangerous it is to give power to people who believe in such cruel, sick fantasies.

    October 24, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
    • WASP

      @big: i wouldn't hold it against CNN. the story just broke, seriously look at the "this just in" section.
      tomorrow you will have that story on here and i can't wait to see how the religious right will defend this one. lmfao

      October 24, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
    • BIG fail for CNN, BIG fail for the Tea Party Right

      Every other news service posted it yesterday, when he said it.

      October 24, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
  3. niknak

    Good day all;
    It's another beautiful day without god(s).
    And especially so for me as I have the day off!

    October 24, 2012 at 11:18 am |
    • myweightinwords

      It is rainy and wet here, but that is still beautiful in it's own way.

      I don't have the day off, but just today, tomorrow and Friday stand between me and a week in London with friends.

      October 24, 2012 at 11:34 am |
    • therealpeace2all

      @myweightinwords

      Have a great trip !

      Peace...

      October 24, 2012 at 6:55 pm |
  4. WASP

    how many republicans are going to shoot themselves in the foot over this abortion thing?
    "Richard Mourdock (R), running for U.S. Senate in Indiana, said at a debate Tuesday that pregnancies resulting from ra/pe are intended by God."
    seriously? so god made the ra/pi/st attack a woman to create a child? what a perv/erted god he believes in, sicko!

    October 24, 2012 at 10:27 am |
    • lunchbreaker

      Obviously God couldn't control the attacker, that would violate "free will", which means God merely forced the sperm into the egg, obviously.

      October 24, 2012 at 10:40 am |
    • myweightinwords

      I'd rather they keep speaking, so we can see them all for what they actually believe.

      October 24, 2012 at 10:49 am |
    • WASP

      @LUNCH: however god knows everything and is all powerful, correct? then god knows the attacker will ra/pe a woman and she will get pregnant. so how is knowing he will commit such an act not contributing or condoning his actions.
      as the old saying goes "bad things happen when good men do nothing."
      thus god doesn't stop it from happening so god must condone it seeing he knows the trama that will be done to the victim and does nothing being all powerful.

      October 24, 2012 at 11:38 am |
    • lunchbreaker

      Wasp, pretty sick no matter how you slice it.

      October 24, 2012 at 12:40 pm |
    • The Bottom Line

      God's failue to act in the face of atrocities is quite sick. God's failure to act in behalf of those who pray despite Jesus' promise that if you believe and pray, it will be given to you without fail, that's sick too. And neither makes sense.

      Unless, of course, there is no God, where it makes perfeect sense.

      October 24, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
  5. Sane person

    Christianity, Islam and Judaism teach horrible morality. I wouldn't mind these religions if their followers didn't expect their unfounded beliefs and opinions to become laws.

    October 24, 2012 at 9:46 am |
  6. Robert Brown

    Some say they are former believers and have questioned their faith and found it false. Read the parable of the sower, you can receive the word, but if the seed doesn’t fall on good ground it won’t last and bring forth fruit. The good ground is a broken heart and contrite spirit.
    You have heard of the child like faith. A child is trusting. Regardless of how big a man or woman you are today and whether or not you would be willing to admit it publically, there is a little boy or girl inside you right now. This is who God will deal with.

    October 24, 2012 at 8:17 am |
    • William Demuth

      So God is a pedophille that prefers kids?

      Why are all you people so willing to suspend your rational mind?

      Was it rejection as a child? Some subconcious desire to belong to something greater?

      This pattern of subservience to "childlike" behavior sends real clear signals about the root of your illness.

      Perhaps if you just came out and addressed them, these imaginary hogoblins of your mind might finally leave you alone.

      October 24, 2012 at 8:39 am |
    • nope

      @wil...
      nope

      October 24, 2012 at 8:42 am |
    • William Demuth

      Perhaps the big scary preacher man screwed your body as well as your mind?

      It would explain alot of your gibberish

      October 24, 2012 at 8:48 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      The idealized child is trusting and accepting. Perhaps some are, but I love to see the natural skepticism that most children develop as they get to be 4 or so – guile and canniness. Religious indoctrination can stamp it out. I suppose that's what often happens. It should be encouraged. It warms my heart to hear a child tell a priest that he's full of it and here's why.

      October 24, 2012 at 8:48 am |
    • Huebert

      Robert

      So you are saying that one needs to be childish in order to believe in god? Wow, I mean that is true, I just never thought that you would admit it.

      October 24, 2012 at 8:54 am |
    • WASP

      @brown: please explain how you can love a uncaring father figure?
      seriously the guy supposely left behind a book that told you how he expects you to live your life, then disappeared.
      it's like your own father leaving before you were born, but leaveing a book telling you whom to date/marry, what people to associate with, what he considers correct behaviour mind you also telling you that he did what he expects you not to do.
      seriously any court in the land would laugh that kind of "parenting" out of court. maybe all men should take a note from "your god" create children then just leave a list of what we expect of our child without truly being there or ever showing up..................that's a great "father" right? your god is the example of what type of man to be, so why not?

      October 24, 2012 at 8:57 am |
    • lunchbreaker

      My question is why we should display unquestioning trust in spiritual matters, while unquestioning trust does not work in real life? Would you trust a police offer or a judge who based there decisions on anything other than concrete proof. Would you trust an engineer to build something with anything other than the laws of physics. Would you trust a doctor who's only medical knowledge is "prayer changes things"?

      October 24, 2012 at 8:57 am |
    • Robert Brown

      William Demuth,
      The trouble the Catholic Church has had must have generated your first question. The rest of your questions and comments are more related to my sanity. I appreciate your concern. I am at peace and I hope if you aren’t that you find it.

      October 24, 2012 at 9:21 am |
    • William Demuth

      Mr. Brown, Whoever or whatever you are

      Your patterns indicate serious emotional trauma. You false civility juxtaposed with the name trading seems to evoke some passive aggressive posture.

      Are you denying you are the “Prayer Troll” who constantly reposts the same post under a different name “Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things”?

      Has your cult indoctrination left you with sufficient integrity to admit it, or will you lie here, before us and your God?

      You are making a desperate subconscious plea, and we are willing to listen, but the façade of multiple personas must be shed before you can have any hope of successful treatment.

      You are indeed the prayer troll. Will you admit it?

      October 24, 2012 at 9:41 am |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      I see nope's incompetency at rational discussion is shining through again today. Why bother commenting if you have nothing to actually say???
      Nope: Are you sure you're old enough to be using a computer? You don't seem old enough to add anything of substance to a conversation.

      October 24, 2012 at 9:55 am |
    • Robert Brown

      Lunchbreaker,
      It is obvious to me now that I left out a few steps. I was directing my post at former believers. For a nonbeliever, I think the first thing is faith. The faith and trust may happen simultaneously but you would have to have faith before you could trust.
      The faith and trust are developed through affirmation. For example someone tells you something, I will meet you at x time and place. Initially, you are skeptical, yet you still go at the agreed time and place trusting the other person will do what they said. If they show up, the next time you schedule something with that person you would be less skeptical.

      October 24, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      William Demuth,
      I am civil on purpose. I could easily respond with how I feel when I read your posts, but that wouldn’t be very Christian, now would it. I think that is one of the great things about this site. If we met face to face we probably wouldn’t have a very lengthy conversation. I don’t discuss my faith in person with those who don’t express interest.
      I haven’t ever posted using another handle, not that the thought hasn’t crossed my mind.

      October 24, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
    • lunchbreaker

      You bring up an interesting point Robert. I attended a private Christian school from the time I was 4 until graduation at age 18. I'm now a non-believer, if it wasn't obvious enough. I think most Christians would say I was just never saved to begin with. Some others may say I have an extreme case of denial. Either way, there were times I had what i thought, at the time, were genuine spiritual experiences. I have, on occasion, attempted to replicate past experiences, just doesn't work for me anymore. I guess in the end no one knows what goes on in some one else's head. I'm not saying you have done this Robert, but I get very annoyed when believer's claim they know what's going on in someone elses head (or heart).

      October 24, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      WASP,
      This will just add more fuel to those who question my sanity, but you asked. You are correct that God is invisible, but he still communicates with his children through the Holy Spirit. Without faith, you are not his child and there is no communication.

      October 24, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
    • lunchbreaker

      You know Robert, in a joking fashion, you could respond to Will's accusation by requesting proof.

      October 24, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Lunchbreaker,
      True, no person can really know another’s heart or mind. I have exchanged ideas on here with several people who are former believers and the parable of the sower is the only thing I have ever seen in the bible that would apply. Not saying, that is the only way it can happen.
      I love to hear the testimony of an old saint of God who was saved early in life, lived for the Lord with no doubts, but I can’t give that one myself. I never reached the point where I could say I don’t believe, but I have had doubts. I have been far from God at times in my life and that is why the prodigal son is my all time favorite story in the bible. Those experiences served to strengthen my faith.
      It is my hope that by sharing thoughts and ideas that I can be some help to someone.

      October 24, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
    • Robert

      "It is my hope that by sharing thoughts and ideas that I can be some help to someone."

      You are not being helpful at all since there are no gods. You don't need to believe in a fairytale to be a good human being and love yourself for who you are. Believing in a god is only a crutch for not dealing with your life and taking personal responsibility for the choices you have made that has created that life.

      October 24, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
    • Robert

      " You are correct that God is invisible, but he still communicates with his children through the Holy Spirit. Without faith, you are not his child and there is no communication."

      That is only you communicating with your real self, it is not a god.

      October 24, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Robert,
      While some come to God when they are having trouble, everything was just fine before I was converted, so I will have to reject the notion that my faith is a crutch.
      Since you haven’t ever communicated with God, I can see why you might think that it is my imagination. If you ever have a spiritual experience we will talk again.

      October 24, 2012 at 6:25 pm |
  7. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things

    October 24, 2012 at 8:17 am |
    • William Demuth

      Hey, look at this!

      Prayer troll and Robert Brown above, were both the first posters, and put the two posts up within 43 seconds of each other.

      Coincidence? Some cosmic alarm clock that only Jeebus freaks hear, like a dog whistle? Or is Robert really the secret prayer troll?

      October 24, 2012 at 8:44 am |
    • nope

      @will...
      nope

      October 24, 2012 at 8:46 am |
    • lunchbreaker

      Mr. Brown seems more polite than that.

      October 24, 2012 at 8:48 am |
    • William Demuth

      Lunchbreaker, thery are one and the same, or they get let out of the same hospital at exactly the same time.

      He isn't even that bright about it.

      He changed names to reply, and used the same name to reply to two different postings addressed to two different people.

      October 24, 2012 at 8:55 am |
    • TrollAlert

      "Ronald Regonzo" who degenerates to:
      "Salvatore" degenerates to:
      "Douglas" degenerates to:
      Taskmaster" degenerates to:
      "truth be told" degenerates to:
      "The Truth" degenerates to:
      "Thinker23" degenerates to:
      "Atheism is not healthy ..." degenerates to:
      "another repentant sinner" degenerates to:
      "Dodney Rangerfield" degenerates to:
      "tina" degenerates to:
      "captain america" degenerates to:
      "Atheist Hunter" degenerates to:
      "Anybody know how to read? " degenerates to:
      "just sayin" degenerates to:
      "ImLook'nUp" degenerates to:
      "Kindness" degenerates to:
      "Lorraine" degenerates to:
      "Chad" degenerates to
      "Bob" degenerates to
      "nope" degenerates to:
      "2357" degenerates to:
      "WOW" degenerates to:
      "fred" degenerates to:
      "!" degenerates to:
      "pervert alert"

      This troll is not a christian..

      October 24, 2012 at 9:51 am |
    • Jesus

      Prayer does not; you are such a LIAR. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs.

      October 24, 2012 at 9:58 am |

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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.