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January 28th, 2013
05:19 AM ET

Belief Blog's Morning Speed Read for Monday, January 28, 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: Recounting the nightmares of the Holocaust…
Photographer Maciek Nabrdalik was visiting a Holocaust memorial and museum in Poland when he noticed an obituary posted for one of the survivors. The next day there was another one. “At that moment I realized that we are the last generation who can approach them to talk and ask questions,” he said. Since then, he has sat down with more than 40 former camp prisoners to help tell their stories for his ongoing project, “The Irreversible.”

CNN: Lawyers for Catholic hospital argue that a fetus is not a person…
Life begins at conception, according to the Catholic Church, but in a wrongful death suit in Colorado, a Catholic health care company has argued just the opposite. A fetus is not legally a person until it is born, the hospital's lawyers have claimed in its defense. And now it may be up to the state's Supreme Court to decide.

FULL POST

- A. Hawkins

Filed under: Morning Read

Recounting the nightmares of the Holocaust
January 28th, 2013
02:26 AM ET

Recounting the nightmares of the Holocaust

By Lauren Russell, CNN

Photographer Maciek Nabrdalik was visiting a Holocaust memorial and museum in Poland when he noticed an obituary posted for one of the survivors. The next day there was another one.

“At that moment I realized that we are the last generation who can approach them to talk and ask questions,” he said.

Since then, he has sat down with more than 40 former camp prisoners to help tell their stories for his ongoing project, “The Irreversible.”

FULL STORY
- A. Hawkins

Filed under: Holocaust

January 28th, 2013
01:36 AM ET

Lawyers for Catholic hospital argue that a fetus is not a person

By Ben Brumfield and Kyung Lah, CNN

Canon City, Colorado (CNN) - Life begins at conception, according to the Catholic Church, but in a wrongful death suit in Colorado, a Catholic health care company has argued just the opposite.

A fetus is not legally a person until it is born, the hospital's lawyers have claimed in its defense. And now it may be up to the state's Supreme Court to decide.

FULL STORY
- A. Hawkins

Filed under: Catholic Church • Faith & Health

Iran sentences U.S. pastor to 8 years in prison, group says
Saeed Abedini is shown here with his 4-year-old son.
January 27th, 2013
12:02 PM ET

Iran sentences U.S. pastor to 8 years in prison, group says

By the CNN staff

(CNN) - An Iranian judge has sentenced an American Christian pastor to eight years in prison after he was tried for his religious beliefs, a U.S.-based religious group said Sunday.

Saeed Abedini was swiftly sentenced by a member of the Islamic Republic's Revolutionary Court, according to the American Center for Law and Justice, an organization founded by television evangelist Pat Robertson.

CNN was not immediately able to confirm what went on in the court proceedings.

Abedini, who was born in Iran and now lives in Idaho, has been jailed in Iran since September, the group said.

"This is a real travesty - a mockery of justice," said Jordan Sekulow, executive director of the ACLJ, in a statement. "From the very beginning, Iranian authorities have lied about all aspects of this case, even releasing rumors of his expected release."

"Iran has not only abused its own laws, it has trampled on the fundamentals of human rights," added Sekulow, who represents Abedini's wife and children, who are in the U.S. "We call on the citizens of the world to rise up in protest. We call on governments around the world to stand and defend Pastor Saeed."

FULL POST

- kramsaycnn

Filed under: Iran

Journey to Jerusalem and the West Bank
January 26th, 2013
10:00 PM ET

My Take: An American Jew finds MLK – and a new understanding – on the West Bank

Editor's note: Arri Eisen, PhD., is professor of pedagogy at Emory University’s Center for Ethics, Department of Biology and Graduate Institute of the Liberal Arts. Carlton D. Mackey, who took the accompanying photographs, is the director of the Ethics & the Arts Initiative at the Emory University Center for Ethics.

By Arri Eisen, Special to CNN

Monday was Martin Luther King Day. Monday, Barack Obama was inaugurated president for the second time.

This was one of the few glimmers of hope held up by many of the Palestinians I met with at the turn of the year in the West Bank: “Who would have thought in Martin Luther King’s day that you would now have a black president? If that can happen in the U.S., then maybe one day there can be peace here.”

I spent 10 days in Jordan, Israel and the occupied territories on a “journey of reconciliation” my university sponsored, with a dozen other Americans — I the only Jew among them — meeting with Israeli and Palestinian leaders. FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • History • Israel • Jerusalem • Judaism • Middle East • My Take • Palestinians

Group: U.S. pastor's family was told he has been moved within Iranian prison
Saeed Abedini is shown here with his 4-year-old son.
January 26th, 2013
10:00 PM ET

Group: U.S. pastor's family was told he has been moved within Iranian prison

The family of an American Christian pastor being tried in Iran for his religious activities were told Saturday that he had been moved to a different ward in the prison where he is being held, a U.S. religious group said.

Saeed Abedini "reportedly was moved to (another) ward to receive better medical treatment, although it is impossible to confirm his health status or if he is receiving treatment," the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) said in a statement. They were turned away because visitation hours for the ward are on Monday, according to the statement.

Neither Abedini nor his attorney has not been present at his trial since January 21. His family became concerned when they attempted to visit him on Thursday and were told by prison guards that he wasn't there, said the group, a right-leaning nonprofit founded by television evangelist Pat Robertson.

FULL POST

- pgastjrcnn

Filed under: Iran • Religious liberty

'None' leaders to chart path for more political, cultural power for religiously unaffiliated
The Reason Rally -- sponsored by secular organizations -- draws a crowd to Washington in June.
January 25th, 2013
08:51 AM ET

'None' leaders to chart path for more political, cultural power for religiously unaffiliated

By Dan Merica, CNN

Washington (CNN) – The religiously unaffiliated the "nones"  have noticed their ranks are growing. And at a meeting Saturday, a group of leaders will look to turn those swelling numbers into workable political and cultural power.

It's one of the top priorities of the eighth annual Heads Meeting, which will be held in Atlanta. Some of the nation’s most influential leaders, representing various organizations, will convene to chart a path forward and discuss the most important issues facing "nones" today.

“It is not enough that we are growing in numbers,” said Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association. “We have got to find a way to bring those numbers to bear in an organized fashion so that people will take us seriously.” FULL POST

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Atheism • Politics

January 25th, 2013
05:01 AM ET

Belief Blog's Morning Speed Read for Friday, January 25, 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:Twitter must identify racist, anti-Semitic posters, French court says
For months now, the French-language twittersphere has lit up with a rash of racist, homophobic, and anti-Semitic tweets using the hashtags #UnBonJuif (a good Jew), #SiMonFilsEstGay (if my son is gay), and #SiMaFilleRamèneUnNoir (if my daughter brings home a black guy). Last fall, under pressure from French advocacy group Union of Jewish Students (UEJF), Twitter agreed to remove some offensive tweets. In October 2012, at Berlin's request, Twitter also suspended a German neo-Nazi account based in the city of Hanover, the first time the company had responded to such a government request.

Tweet of the Day:

FULL POST

- A. Hawkins

Filed under: Morning Read

Twitter must identify racist, anti-Semitic posters, French court says
A French judge has ordered Twitter to turn over the identities of users who post hate speech or face a fine.
January 25th, 2013
04:29 AM ET

Twitter must identify racist, anti-Semitic posters, French court says

By Cyrus Farivar, ArsTechnica

(CNN) – For months now, the French-language twittersphere has lit up with a rash of racist, homophobic, and anti-Semitic tweets using the hashtags #UnBonJuif (a good Jew), #SiMonFilsEstGay (if my son is gay), and #SiMaFilleRamèneUnNoir (if my daughter brings home a black guy).

Last fall, under pressure from French advocacy group Union of Jewish Students (UEJF), Twitter agreed to remove some offensive tweets. In October 2012, at Berlin's request, Twitter also suspended a German neo-Nazi account based in the city of Hanover, the first time the company had responded to such a government request.

FULL STORY
- A. Hawkins

Filed under: France • Technology

January 24th, 2013
05:52 AM ET

Belief Blog's Morning Speed Read for Thursday, January 24, 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.

Belief on TV:

CNN: Response by the Church of Scientology to 'Going Clear'
In response to CNN's request for comment on its story about Lawrence Wright's book "Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood & the Prison of Belief," the network received several letters from the Church of Scientology and its attorneys. Given the sensitive nature of the material in the book and the Church of Scientology's detailed response to CNN, CNN is making the church's responses available in full. The e-mail addresses and telephone numbers of individuals have been redacted.

CNN: Inside the Church of Scientology
Author Lawrence Wright talks about "Going Clear," which explores the secret operations inside the Church of Scientology.

FULL POST

- A. Hawkins

Filed under: Morning Read

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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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