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:
Photo credit: Ajay Aggarwal/Hindustan Times via Getty Images
Hindu devotees offer prayers to the sun during the Chhath Festival while standing in a water body near New Delhi, India.
CNN: 5 takeaways from new Pew survey on global religion
The world is religiously diverse and overwhelmingly faithful, according to a study released Tuesday by The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. The study, which is a snapshot of world religions in 2010 and does not show trends, brings to light a unique religious landscape that's defined by a burgeoning Islam, a shifting Christianity and a large group of religiously unaffiliated. It took Pew three years to compile. Here are five big takeaways from the study.
Tweet of the Day:
Photo on the Day:
Photo by Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images
A woman holds a Koran and a cross in her hand as Egyptian protestors opposing President Mohammed Morsi chant slogans during a demonstration at the Presidential Palace on December 18, 2012 in Cairo, Egypt. Hundreds of people gathered in front of the Presidential Palace and in Tahrir Square to protest against President Mohammed Morsi and the alleged rigging of the first round of voting in the constitutional referendum. Egyptian Coptic Christians and liberals complained the constitutional draft fails to protect the freedom of expression and religion.
Huffington Post: CondividiLove, Italian LGBT Advocacy Group, Protest Pope's Gay Marriage Remarks
Italy's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community as well as its allies aren't standing by quietly in the wake of the Pope’s most recent declarations on gay marriage. After Pope Benedict XVI said gay marriage threatened justice and peace in his World Day of Peace address, Italian LGBT advocacy group CondividiLove came up with a strong - and viral - response.
Reuters: Mysticism and the Internet fuel Mexico’s Mayan “end-of-the-world” fears
A few words by an American scholar, a crumbling Mexican monument and the love of a good yarn were all it took to spawn the belief that the world could end this week. December 21 marks the end of an age in a 5,125 year-old Maya calendar, an event that is variously interpreted as the end of days, the start of a new era or just a good excuse for a party. Thousands of New Age mystics, spiritual adventurers and canny businessmen are converging on ancient ruins in southern Mexico and Guatemala to find out what will happen. It is not the world but “the way we perceive it” that will end, said Michael DiMartino, 46, a long-haired American who is organizing one of the biggest December 21 celebrations at the Maya temple site of Chichen Itza on the Yucatan peninsula.
The Guardian: Muslims demand gay marriage exemption
Muslim leaders have demanded the same legal exemptions as the Church of England in legislation to introduce gay marriages. The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), with more than 500 affiliated mosques, charities and schools, said it was "appalled" by "utterly discriminatory" legislation on same-sex marriage set out by the government. The proposals would allow faith groups to conduct gay marriages but would ban the Church of England and the Church in Wales from doing so.
The Guardian: Ireland to legalize abortions where woman's life is at risk
In a move unthinkable even a few years ago, the Irish government is to introduce legislation permitting abortions in limited circumstances. The decision follows pressure from the European court of human rights, which ruled that abortions should be allowed in the republic in cases where a woman's life was at risk. The taoiseach, Enda Kenny, who represents one of the most traditional rural Catholic constituencies in Ireland, said the Fine Gael-Labour coalition would proceed with a mixture of "legislation with regulation".
New York Times: The Eccentric Monk and His Typewriter
Dom Sylvester Houédard was a pioneer of concrete poetry, in which the typographic style of the letters is as important as the meaning and rhythm of the words. Prolific though he was in pursuing his cultural interests, Houédard was devoted to his vocation as a Benedictine monk based at Prinknash Abbey in rural Gloucestershire. By the mid-1970s, he had forsaken many of his outside activities to devote more time to the abbey, and to his research and writing on theology.
Opinion of the Day:
Ex-Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee appeared to blame the Newtown massacre at least partly on the secularization of schools.
CNN: My Take: Six things I don't want to hear after the Sandy Hook massacre
Stephen Prothero, author and Boston University religion scholar, lists the five things people should stop saying as they try to reason through the tragedy of the Newtown shooting.
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CNN: My Take: Praying for questions about Newtown that go beyond ‘Why, God?’
Margaret Feinberg, a popular speaker and author of numerous books, stops asking why the tragic shooting in Newtown, Connecticut happened and starts asking God how to prevent a similar tragedy from happening.