August 30th, 2013
12:37 PM ET
By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor
(CNN) - In another precedent-shattering moment for Pope Francis, the bishop of Rome, the Vicar of Christ, successor of St. Peter and the head of 1.2 billion Catholics worldwide has taken what may be the first papal selfie.
The pontiff posed for the photo with young Italian pilgrims Wednesday at St. Peter's Basilica.
The image of Francis mugging for a cell phone photo with the Italian teens charged through social media when the papal newspaper L'Osservatore Romano released the photo Thursday.
August 29th, 2013
01:24 PM ET
By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor
(CNN) When Amy Arden joined Eagle Mountain International Church in 1997, her 11monthold daughter had received all the recommended vaccinations. But in the six years the young, single mother worked and worshipped at the evangelical megachurch, Arden didn’t take her child to get a single shot.
“There was a belief permeating throughout the church that there is only faith and fear,” Arden said. “If you were afraid of the illness enough to get vaccinated, it showed a lack of faith that God would protect and heal you.”
Members of Eagle Mountain International Church also believed that childhood vaccinations could lead to autism, said Arden, who is 35.
Arden said she was taught by a supervisor at the church's nursery how to opt out of a Texas law that requires most children to be immunized. She now regrets passing the same lesson on to other parents.
“I didn’t know a single mother who was vaccinating her children,” she said.
August 26th, 2013
12:57 PM ET
By John Blake, CNN
Atlanta (CNN) - There is a secret about Bernice King that not everyone close to her wants you to know.
"She has a shoe fetish," says Angela Farris-Watkins, a cousin. "She has shoes to go with every outfit. She likes all kinds of shoes: sandals, heels, open-toed and different colors. She buys shoes like bread."
It's not surprising that the youngest child of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. would care so much about what she puts on her feet. She has been walking in the footsteps of one of history's greatest moral leaders all of her life.
With the nation poised to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, the daughter of the dreamer seems to be stepping out of his shadow.Read the full story here
August 24th, 2013
08:40 AM ET
Opinion by Jon Acuff, Special to CNN
(CNN) - No one has ever accused us Christians of being fun.
No one has ever said we are a laugh-filled group.
No atheist has ever said, “I might not love Jesus, but his followers sure know how to party!”
And yet, in my favorite story in the Bible we actually see Jesus paint the opposite picture.
August 23rd, 2013
10:12 AM ET
By Dan Merica, CNN
Washington (CNN)–With the goal of urging the House to pass a comprehensive immigration reform bill, the Catholic Church is organizing a targeted effort to push immigration reform in the pews and target Catholic lawmakers – particularly Republicans – who may be on the fence over the politically tenuous bill.
The movement, which was first reported in The New York Times, will include coordinated immigration reform sermons on September 8, as well as targeted messaging of Catholic lawmakers, including House Speaker John Boehner and Rep. Paul Ryan, the GOP’s 2012 vice presidential candidate.
August 22nd, 2013
03:07 PM ET
By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor
(CNN)–The mother of a gay detective has been booted from the Tennessee church she attended for decades.
Elders at Ridgedale Church of Christ told Linda Cooper and two relatives that their public support for Kat Cooper, Linda Cooper's gay daughter, went against the church's teachings, local media reported. In a private meeting, reports say, Linda Cooper was given a choice: publicly atone for their transgressions or leave the church.
Linda left the church.
Kat Cooper is a detective with the Collegedale Police Department. This month, she fought successfully for health benefits for her same-sex spouse, Krista, from the town.
August 21st, 2013
08:46 AM ET
By Jason Hanna and Hada Messia, CNN
(CNN) - The Roman Catholic Church will announce next month the date when the late popes John Paul II and John XXIII will be canonized, Vatican Radio reported Wednesday.
The canonization dates for the two former pontiffs will be announced on September 30, the radio service reported, citing Cardinal Angelo Amato.
Pope Francis announced last month that his two 20th century predecessors would be declared saints.
John Paul was pope from 1978 until his death in 2005, drawing vast crowds as he crisscrossed the globe. The third-longest-serving pope in history, died at the age of 84 after suffering from Parkinson's disease, arthritis and other ailments for several years.
Pope John XXIII was famed for calling the Second Vatican Council in 1962, which ushered in great changes in the Roman Catholic Church's relationship with the modern world. He was pope from 1958 to 1963.
August 19th, 2013
01:22 PM ET
By Brandon Griggs, CNN
(CNN) - How bad is the problem of oversharing online? People are now singing about it in church.
A video that's been gaining buzz online in recent days shows worshipers at an unidentified church singing a gospel-styled tune with the apparent title of "Keep Yo Business Off of Facebook." In the blurry two-minute clip, shot with a cell phone, churchgoers sway and clap while a man and woman sing about the pitfalls of sharing not-safe-for-church behavior.
"Sundays you act like a saint, but your Facebook posts say you ain't," the man sings.
The video was posted online in July but has only become widely noticed in recent days after being shared, of all places, on Facebook. The origin of the video and location of the church has so far remained a mystery.
August 18th, 2013
07:49 PM ET
(CNN)–Rachel Evans and Hemant Mehta joined CNN's Brianna Keilar and Martin Savidge to speak about millenials losing their religion.
Tell us what you think. Join the conversation in the comments.
August 17th, 2013
09:00 AM ET
Opinion by Brett Robinson, Special to CNN
(CNN)— Forget the forbidden fruit logo and the cult of Apple jokes. The legacy of Steve Jobs is anything but religious.
Apple was conceived in the heady days of the counterculture movement. While Jobs and friend Steve Wozniak were busy hacking into AT&T’s long-distance phone lines from a Berkeley dorm room in the 1970s, the culture was awash in New Age experimentation and social unrest. Traditional institutions were under siege by idealistic youth rejecting what they viewed as mass-marketed delusions.
At the top of the hit list was organized religion. When Jobs and Wozniak got the phone hacking device to work, their first call was to the Vatican. They proceeded to hang up on the pope’s personal secretary before he could connect the call to the Holy Father. Jobs the iconoclast relished the prank.
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