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: Latino minister fires up Ebenezer on King Day
In all the 45 years of a commemorative service on the birthday of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., there had never been a Latino delivering the keynote address. That changed Monday as the Rev. Samuel Rodriguez took the podium and belted out a sermon that would have surely made King proud. His message was sown together with the language of faith and justice.
CNN: Iran begins trial for U.S. pastor held since September
On Monday, American Saeed Abedini appeared in an Iranian court. The Christian pastor gave the judge a written statement and was questioned by prosecutors and his defense lawyer, whom he only met Monday. But apparently that is not the end of the legal proceedings, according to his wife and lawyers who are assisting her with the situation.
Belief on TV:
Religion News Service: Obama extols a biblical vision of equality for all in second inaugural
A presidential inauguration is by tradition the grandest ritual of America’s civil religion, but President Obama took the oath of office on Monday (Jan. 21) in a ceremony that was explicit in joining theology to the nation’s destiny and setting out a biblical vision of equality that includes race, gender, class, and, most controversially, sexual orientation.
Reuters: Israel considers ban for far-right candidate over gaffe on blowing up shrine
An Israeli panel weighed a request on Sunday to disqualify a candidate of a powerful far-right party from running in a January 22 election for alluding in a speech to the possibility of seeing one of Islam’s holiest shrines in Jerusalem “blown up.”
The Guardian: How the Vatican built a secret property empire using Mussolini's millions
Few passing London tourists would ever guess that the premises of Bulgari, the upmarket jewellers in New Bond Street, had anything to do with the pope. Nor indeed the nearby headquarters of the wealthy investment bank Altium Capital, on the corner of St James's Square and Pall Mall. But these office blocks in one of London's most expensive districts are part of a surprising secret commercial property empire owned by the Vatican.
Religion News Service: Episcopalians battle over aid to Israel
A group of prominent Episcopalians is criticizing their church’s stand on Israel, urging it to join 15 other denominations who call for an accounting of U.S. aid to Israel. The public letter released on Friday (Jan. 18) notes that leaders of 15 religious groups, including Lutherans, Presbyterians and Methodists, asked Congress to take that step last October, and that the “voice of the Episcopal Church is woefully missing.”
Huffington Post: 'Beyond the Robe': New Generation of Buddhist Monks Embraces Science
Recently, the Dalai Lama addressed a luncheon gathering at my home in Boston and announced a decision by the leaders of the monasteries to make the study of Western science part of the core curriculum required of all monastic scholars in the Gelug tradition. His Holiness further commented that the decision to include Western science was the most significant change to the monastic curriculum in centuries.
Quote of the Day:
For every mountain you gave us the strength to climb. Your grace is pleaded to continue that climb for America and the world… We ask that you grant our president the will to act courageously but cautiously when confronted with danger and to act prudently but deliberately when challenged by adversity. Please continue to bless his efforts to lead by example in consideration and favor of the diversity of our people.
- Myrlie Evers-Williams, widow of civil rights leader Medgar Evers, delivered the invocation at the 57th Presidential Inauguration on Monday, January 21, 2013. She is the first laywoman to ever give an inaugural invocation.
Opinion of the Day:
My Take: Obama delivers Lincoln's Third Inaugural
Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion scholar and author of "The American Bible: How Our Words Unite, Divide, and Define a Nation," labeled President Barack Obama’s second inauguration as “Lincoln’s Third Inaugural” becuase “the words of our 44th president were animated throughout by the vision of our 16th.”
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CNN: My Take: An almost chosen nation
Joseph Loconte, Ph.D., author of The Searchers: A Quest for Faith in the Valley of Doubt, explains the irony behind President Barack Obama’s decision to use Bibles previously owned by President Abraham Lincoln and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. when he is sworn in at inauguration.