Editor’s note: Sister Simone Campbell is Executive Director of the Catholic social justice lobby NETWORK and leader of the “Nuns on the Bus.”
By Simone Campbell, Special to CNN
(CNN) - The debate raging in Congress over the fate of our federal budget reminds me of the great judgment of Solomon. Here we are, sharp sword overhead, poised to cut the baby in half, just waiting for the voice of reason and a willingness to sacrifice.
Instead, we’re confronted with arguments framed as a hard, false choice between sound economic policies and social programs, between fiscal realities and compassionate acts. It’s time to stay the sword.
The truth is, at some point in life and regardless of income, virtually every American will benefit in some way from a social safety-net program, whether through a social security check, an unemployment benefit or a school lunch. Programs like these are called safety nets for a reason – yank them away and people get hurt, today more than ever.
By Dan Merica, CNN
Washington (CNN) – More than a third of Americans see recent extreme weather as a sign that the world is in biblical “end times,” according to a survey released Thursday.
Thirty-six percent of Americans say that the severity of recent natural disasters indicate that we are at the precipice of Jesus’ second coming and the end of the world, according to the survey, released by Public Religion Research Institute. The survey found that 15% of Americans believe the world will end, as predicated in the book of Revelation, in their lifetime.
“Theology plays an important role in how we view the world,” said Daniel Cox, the survey firm’s research director. “We have had a number of really severe weather events in 2012, and we thought that might affect how people respond.”
In late 2012, Superstorm Sandy ravaged the east coast, killing 106 people in the United States and causing up to $50 billion in damage. The year also saw a major drought in the Midwest and southeastern United States, wildfires throughout Colorado that provoked tens of thousands to evacuate and June floods that washed out roads and bridges and inundated neighborhoods in Minnesota and Wisconsin.
(CNN) – Pope Benedict XVI's first tweet from his new personal Twitter account on Wednesday was simple: "Dear friends, I am pleased to get in touch with you through Twitter. Thank you for your generous response. I bless all of you from my heart.”
But the social media response to the pope's first day of active tweeting has been anything but straightforward.
The pope’s Twitter account quickly swelled to over a million followers and tweets about @pontifex – meaning “bridge builder” – swirled around the Internet. Thousands of the pontiff’s Twitter followers replied to his message, which was retweeted more than 50,000 times.
By Thursday morning Eastern Time, the pope had sent seven tweets, including three responses to Twitter questions from people on three different continents, according to the Vatican.
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: Chemical thrown on rabbi who advocated for abuse victims, lawyer says
An outspoken advocate for child sexual abuse victims in a tight knit Orthodox Jewish neighborhood was assaulted this week when a chemical he believes to be bleach was thrown in his face, according to his attorney.
CNN: Pope Benedict sends first personal tweet
The wait is over for Pope Benedict XVI's many Twitter followers, and they have been quick to respond to the much anticipated first tweet from his personal account Wednesday morning. Using the handle @Pontifex - meaning "bridge builder" in Latin - he posted: "Dear friends, I am pleased to get in touch with you through Twitter. Thank you for your generous response. I bless all of you from my heart."
By Rande Iaboni and Marina Carver, CNN
NEW YORK (CNN) - New York police have arrested a man for throwing a chemical, believed to be bleach, on a rabbi who advocates for sexual abuse victims.
Meilech Schnitzler, 36, turned himself in to police Wednesday and was charged with assault, menacing, criminal mischief, and criminal possession of a weapon.
He is accused of attacking Rabbi Nuchem Rosenberg in Brooklyn's tightknit Orthodox Jewish neighborhood of Williamsburg on Tuesday.
Schnitzler allegedly threw a chemical on Rosenberg's face, causing his eyes and face to burn.
Rosenberg runs a website and telephone call-in line that publicizes claims of sexual abuse in the Hasidic community, and he believes this attack was an attempt to "silence" him, according to Abe George, the rabbi's attorney.
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.