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February 7th, 2013
11:17 PM ET

What happened to God in America?

CNN's Carol Costello reports on the growing number of Americans who don't believe in God.

- A. Hawkins

Filed under: Atheism • United States

Catholic Bishops not satisfied with Obama’s contraception compromise
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops on Thursday rejected the Obama administration’s revised mandates on contraception.
February 7th, 2013
03:34 PM ET

Catholic Bishops not satisfied with Obama’s contraception compromise

By Dan Merica, CNN

Washington (CNN) – The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops does not support the Obama administration’s revised proposal for providing insurance coverage for contraception, saying it falls short of addressing concerns about religious freedom.

In a response to the policy update announced last week by the Department of Health and Human Services, the church leaders said the policy offers “second-class status to our first-class institutions in Catholic health care, Catholic education and Catholic charities.”

“Because the stakes are so high, we will not cease from our effort to assure that healthcare for all does not mean freedom for few,” Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, president of the conference, said in a statement. “We will continue to stand united with brother bishops, religious institutions, and individual citizens who seek redress in the courts for as long as this is necessary.”

Although the bishops identified the changes as a step in the right direction, they made it clear that they were not satisfied.

FULL POST

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Bishops • Catholic Church • Health care • Politics

Lutheran pastor apologizes for praying in Newtown vigil
People pray at the interfaith vigil in honor of the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.
February 7th, 2013
01:34 PM ET

Lutheran pastor apologizes for praying in Newtown vigil

By Dan Merica, CNN

Washington (CNN) - A Lutheran pastor has apologized after being chastised by his denomination's leader for offering a prayer at an interfaith vigil for the victims of the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.

Pastor Rob Morris, who leads the Christ the King Lutheran Church in Newtown, violated the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod's rule against taking part in joint worship services, said the synod's president, Pastor Matthew C. Harrison.

Participation could be seen as endorsing "false teaching" because some among the diverse group of religious leaders at the vigil hold beliefs different from those of synod.

The vigil, which was attended by President Barack Obama, was a high-profile part of the healing process for the families of the 20 children and six adults killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14.

FULL POST

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Faith Now • Lutheran • United States

Picking up a bagel instead of a partisan fight
President Barack Obama speaks during the National Prayer Breakfast at the Washington Hilton Thursday.
February 7th, 2013
12:24 PM ET

Picking up a bagel instead of a partisan fight

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Editor

Washington (CNN) -
Translation headsets squawked in four languages at the early morning breakfast in Washington, mixing in with the sounds of stirred coffee and clinking china in the immense ballroom at the Washington Hilton.

The sound reverberated over the quiet of a momentary political cease-fire in Washington.

For the 61st time, the president came to pray with the U.S. Senate and House prayer groups at the National Prayer Breakfast.  It is an event that is equal parts prayer and politics, where members of both parties laud one another about a temporary political truce, lay down their partisan ammunition, and pause to pray together.

Members of Congress mixed in across the ballroom with the 3,000 diplomats, dignitaries, clergy, veterans and many more from 140 countries who bought a ticket to join in the ecumenical prayer event.

All told there were four short prayers, delivered by a senator, an admiral, a Cabinet secretary and an Olympic gold medalist, Gabrielle “the Flying Squirrel” Douglas.

The remainder of the 90 minutes was filled with speeches, songs, coffee, mini-quiches, and bagels.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Belief • Church and state • Faith Now

My take: Science, faith communities unite to protect millions from disease
A Somali boy is vaccinated at a refugee camp in Kenya.
February 7th, 2013
09:51 AM ET

My take: Science, faith communities unite to protect millions from disease

Editor's note: Dagfinn Høybråten is a vice president of the Norwegian Parliament and chairman of the GAVI Alliance Board. GAVI is a public-private partnership that works with governments, vaccine producers, faith-based organizations and others to expand access to vaccines and immunization. Since its launch in 2000, GAVI has helped immunize 370 million children in the poorest countries.

By Dagfinn Høybråten, Special to CNN

Despite their political, religious and ethnic differences, leaders from around the world are coming together for today's National Prayer Breakfast in Washington. As they do, it is worth noting that faith and science are also coming together around the world to promote healing and equality in the form of access to vaccines.

Vaccines are a triumph of science due to their incredible capacity to save lives and protect health. Yet vaccines reach only four out of five children who need them. To reach the fifth child, science has found an important partner in the faith community, which helps bring vaccines to the most remote areas and the children who need them most. FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Africa • Asia • Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints • Faith & Health • Ghana • Health • Health care • Pakistan • Zambia

Religion, readability and the presidency: a historic combination
Presidential displays of piety, like this, are common and historians say they make presidents more relatable.
February 7th, 2013
06:00 AM ET

Religion, readability and the presidency: a historic combination

By Dan Merica, CNN

Washington (CNN) – Employing faith, whether calling for nationwide prayer or healing the nation by quoting scripture, is a presidential tradition as old as the office itself.

The nation’s first president, George Washington, was also the first to call for a National Day of Prayer, one of “fasting, humiliation and prayer” to “acknowledge the gracious interpositions of Providence.”

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, in his famous fireside chats, promised “salvation” from the economic doldrums of the Great Depression. And President Barack Obama, in the aftermath of the tragic shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, quoted scripture as a way to comfort those grieving.

Obama will continue this tradition on Thursday when he attends the National Prayer Breakfast, a longstanding Washington event that has hosted every president since Dwight Eisenhower.

FULL POST

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Barack Obama • Belief • Faith • Politics • United States

February 7th, 2013
05:24 AM ET

Boy Scouts delay gay ban

The Boy Scouts are delaying a vote on lifting its ban on gay membership. Is the Mormon church behind the decision? CNN's Erin Burnett reports.

- A. Hawkins

Filed under: Mormonism

February 7th, 2013
05:21 AM ET

Belief Blog's Morning Speed Read for Thursday, February 07, 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: Boy Scout leaders to vote on ending ban against gay membership
The polarizing debate over whether Boy Scouts of America should allow gay members could culminate with a vote on a new policy Wednesday. But no matter which way the vote goes, activists on both sides aren't going to be satisfied. The controversy pits leaders of religious groups that sponsor about 1 million Boy Scouts against activists who want the organization to end its ban on openly gay Scouts and Scout leaders. Neither side is happy with BSA's proposal to let local troops decide if they want to allow gay members.

FULL POST

- A. Hawkins

Filed under: Morning Read

February 7th, 2013
05:17 AM ET

Ultra-Orthodox: Call to God or service?

Ultra-Orthodox Jews in Israel put religious studies over military duties. CNN's Sara Sidner reports.

- A. Hawkins

Filed under: Israel • Judaism • Military

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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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