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First on CNN: Obama picks D.C. Episcopal priest to deliver inauguration benediction
The Rev. Luis León walks with the first couple on January 20, 2009, the day of President Barack Obama's first inauguration.
January 15th, 2013
06:14 PM ET

First on CNN: Obama picks D.C. Episcopal priest to deliver inauguration benediction

By Lisa Desjardins and Eric Marrapodi, CNN

Washington (CNN) – The president has picked a neighbor to deliver the closing prayer at the inauguration.

The Rev. Luis León told CNN on Tuesday the White House and the Presidential Inaugural Committee invited him last week to deliver the closing prayer at the 57th Presidential Inauguration.

León pastors Saint John’s Church, an Episcopal parish just across Lafayette Park from the White House, dubbed the “Church of the Presidents.”

"I found out last week,” he told CNN in an interview on Tuesday.

A source close to the inaugural committee confirmed León would be delivering the benediction and said a formal announcement would be coming later in the week.

The historic church León has pastored since 1995 has been connected to every president since its founding in 1815. Inside the historic building, Pew 54 is reserved for presidents whenever they come to worship. FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Barack Obama • Episcopal • Faith Now • Politics

January 15th, 2013
08:28 AM ET

iReport: Why I Raise My Children Without God

Editor's Note: Deborah Mitchell, a mother of two teenagers in Texas, blogs about raising her children without religion. An avid reader of the Belief Blog, she said she shared this essay on CNN iReport because 'I just felt there is not a voice out there for women/moms like me. I think people misunderstand or are fearful of people who don’t believe in God.'

By Deborah Mitchell, Special to CNN

(CNN)–When my son was around 3 years old, he used to ask me a lot of questions about heaven. Where is it? How do people walk without a body? How will I find you? You know the questions that kids ask.

For over a year, I lied to him and made up stories that I didn’t believe about heaven. Like most parents, I love my child so much that I didn’t want him to be scared. I wanted him to feel safe and loved and full of hope. But the trade-off was that I would have to make stuff up, and I would have to brainwash him into believing stories that didn’t make sense, stories that I didn’t believe either.

One day he would know this, and he would not trust my judgment. He would know that I built an elaborate tale—not unlike the one we tell children about Santa—to explain the inconsistent and illogical legend of God.

And so I thought it was only right to be honest with my children. I am a non-believer, and for years I’ve been on the fringe in my community. As a blogger, though, I’ve found that there are many other parents out there like me. We are creating the next generation of kids, and there is a wave of young agnostics, atheists, free thinkers and humanists rising up through the ranks who will, hopefully, lower our nation’s religious fever.

Read Mitchell's 7 reasons she's raising her children without God

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Atheism • My Take • Opinion

January 15th, 2013
06:14 AM ET

Belief Blog's Morning Speed Read for Tuesday, January 15, 2013

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: Split ruling on discrimination against UK Christians
A British Christian woman suffered religious discrimination when British Airways told her not to wear a visible cross over her uniform, a top European court ruled Tuesday. However, three other British Christians lost related religious discrimination claims at the European Court of Human Rights.


A magnifying glass allows you to explore the virtual environment, which depicts seven figures known as medicine Buddhas.

FULL POST

- A. Hawkins

Filed under: Morning Read

Buddhas in 3-D: Technology and the battle to preserve Asia's heritage
Viewers look at a digital representation of a 1,500 year old Buddhist grotto.
January 15th, 2013
05:41 AM ET

Buddhas in 3-D: Technology and the battle to preserve Asia's heritage

By Katie Hunt, for CNN

Hong Kong (CNN) - A darkened room in a Hong Kong university building is an unlikely portal into an ancient world.

But with the touch of an iPad Mini, the space is digitally transformed into a 1,500-year-old Buddhist grotto. Its walls decorated with exquisite but faded paintings of enlightened beings, dancers and musicians.

Another swipe and a pair of 3-D glasses brings the cave to life.

FULL STORY
- A. Hawkins

Filed under: Art • Buddhism • Technology

Split ruling on discrimination against UK Christians
January 15th, 2013
05:39 AM ET

Split ruling on discrimination against UK Christians

By Laura Smith-Spark and Richard Allen Greene, CNN

London (CNN) - A British Christian woman suffered religious discrimination when British Airways told her not to wear a visible cross over her uniform, a top European court ruled Tuesday.

However, three other British Christians lost related religious discrimination claims at the European Court of Human Rights.

British Airways violated the article of the European Convention on Human Rights that guarantees freedom of religion when it stopped employee Nadie Eweida wearing her cross openly, the court said.

Eweida said she experienced discrimination from 2006 to 2007, when she started wearing the cross visibly and was transferred to another job. The airline has since changed its policy on uniforms to allow employees to wear religious or charity symbols.

FULL STORY
- A. Hawkins

Filed under: Christianity • Courts • Discrimination • United Kingdom

January 15th, 2013
04:48 AM ET

Reverend: Newtown chose compassion, love

Two religious leaders in Newtown discuss the community healing process one month after the Sandy Hook shooting.

- A. Hawkins

Filed under: TV-Anderson Cooper 360

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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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