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For some Wiccans, Halloween can be a real witch
Trey Capnerhurst, a traditional witch, performs a naming ceremony by the altar in her backyard in Alberta.
October 30th, 2013
03:32 PM ET

For some Wiccans, Halloween can be a real witch

By Daniel Burke, Belief Blog Co-editor

(CNN) -  Like lots of people, when October 31 rolls around, Trey Capnerhurst dons a pointy hat and doles out candy to children who darken the door of her cottage in Alberta.

But she’s not celebrating Halloween. In fact, she kind of hates it.

Capnerhurst says she’s a real, flesh-and-blood witch, and Halloween stereotypes of witches as broom-riding hags drive her a bit batty.

“Witches are not fictional creatures,” the 45-year-old wrote in a recent article on WitchVox.com.

“We are not werewolves or Frankenstein monsters. We do not have green skin, and only some of us have warts.”

Warts or not, many witches say they have mixed feelings about Halloween.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Belief • Discrimination • Faith Now • Halloween • Holidays • Neopaganism • Paganism • Persecution • Prejudice

October 30th, 2013
08:49 AM ET

Cute kid won't leave Pope Francis alone

(CNN) - A cute little boy joined Pope Francis on stage in St. Peter's Square last weekend during a Catholic celebration of the family and refused to leave, forcing the pontiff to put Jesus' words about "suffering" the little children into practice.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Catholic Church • Pope Francis

What baseball umpires can learn from the Vatican
Allen Craig of the St. Louis Cardinals gets tripped up by Will Middlebrooks of the Boston Red Sox during the 2013 World Series.
October 29th, 2013
11:37 AM ET

What baseball umpires can learn from the Vatican

Opinion by Stephen Prothero, Special to CNN

(CNN) - This is a post about the instantly infamous “obstruction” call that ended Game 3 of the World Series between the Boston Red Sox and the St. Louis Cardinals on Saturday.  But it starts with an epiphany I had years ago about Vatican law.

This epiphany came in the form of a 2005 op-ed on gay Catholic priests, written by John Allen of the National Catholic Reporter.

As a long-time observer of all things Vatican, Allen was trying to explain to American readers why there will always be gay priests. In so doing, he drew a sharp distinction between Italian law (which holds sway in the Vatican) and Anglo-Saxon law (which prevails in the United States).

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: Catholic Church • Sports • Vatican

Leaders of deadliest terrorist groups
October 28th, 2013
03:56 PM ET

Terrorist attacks and deaths hit record high, report shows

By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog co-editor

Washington (CNN) – As terrorism increasingly becomes a tactic of warfare, the number of attacks and fatalities soared to a record high in 2012, according to a new report obtained exclusively by CNN.

More than 8,500 terrorist attacks killed nearly 15,500 people last year as violence tore through Africa, Asia and the Middle East, according to the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism.

That’s a 69% rise in attacks and an 89% jump in fatalities from 2011, said START, one of the world’s leading terrorism-trackers.

Six of the seven most deadly groups are affiliated with al Qaeda, according to START, and most of the violence was committed in Muslim-majority countries.

The previous record for attacks was set in 2011 with more than 5,000 incidents; for fatalities the previous high was 2007 with more than 12,800 deaths.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Afghanistan • Africa • Crime • Fatwa • Foreign policy • Iran • Iraq • Islam • Islamic law • Middle East • Muslim • Nigeria • Pakistan • Terrorism

Air Force makes 'God' optional in honor code
The Air Force Academy has made a big change to its honor code to reflect religious diversity.
October 25th, 2013
05:11 PM ET

Air Force makes 'God' optional in honor code

By Emily Smith, CNN

(CNN) - The U.S. Air Force Academy has decided to make phrase "so help me God" optional in its honor code after an activist group protested that requiring all cadets to recite it violates their rights.

The complete oath reads: "We will not lie, steal, or cheat, nor tolerate among us anyone who does, so help me God."

Cadets are required to recite the oath when they complete basic training. It is also taken by the entire cadet wing each year as re-affirmation of their commitment to the honor code, said AFA spokesman Major Brus Vidal.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Church and state • Culture wars • Discrimination • God • Military • Politics

German 'Bling Bishop' suspended
October 23rd, 2013
02:10 PM ET

Vatican suspends German bishop amid spending investigation

By the CNN Belief Blog Editors

(CNN) – The Vatican said Wednesday it has suspended a German bishop who has come under fire for his extravagant lifestyle.

Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-Van Elst is under investigation for his spending after his residence in Limburg, Germany, was renovated for $42 million.

The Vatican says Tebartz-Van Elst cannot carry out his ministry as long as the investigation in ongoing, and he's been ordered to stay outside his diocese.

Coined the "Bling Bishop," Tebartz-Van Elst, who is known as theologically conservative, has denied any wrongdoing, saying the cost overruns on the renovation are legitimate because surrounding structures had to be protected, including the old city wall.

FULL STORY
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Bishops • Catholic Church • Christianity • Church and state • Europe • Faith Now • Germany • Money & Faith • Pope Francis • Vatican

October 23rd, 2013
01:24 PM ET

Baby Prince George is baptized

London (CNN) – Prince George made his first public appearance in three months Wednesday, as he arrived with his parents, Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, for his christening at St. James's Palace.

The baby prince smiled as he was shown off to family members including his great-grandparents, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, before the royals entered the Chapel Royal.

George was dressed in an elaborate lace and satin christening gown that's a replica of one made in 1841 for the christening of Queen Victoria's eldest daughter.

Being baptized into the church is more significant for George than for most people, since he is in line to become king, which would also make him the supreme governor of the Church of England.

FULL STORY
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Anglican • Belief • Christianity • Church and state • Faith Now • United Kingdom

October 22nd, 2013
12:05 PM ET

The prayers inside the President's Blackberry

Opinion by Joshua DuBois, Special to CNN 

Washington (CNN) – One thing is for sure: I didn't feel ready to send morning devotionals to the next President of the United States.

I was a young staffer, 25 years old, on Barack Obama's 2008 campaign. I had known Obama for a few years, and at the time worked as faith outreach director for his campaign.

In addition to my professional role reaching out to the faith community, I also personally prayed for Obama by myself each day. I had been an associate pastor at a small Pentecostal church in Boston, and my Christian faith was, and is, the guiding force of my life.

But I wasn't some famous mega-church pastor or internationally known cleric. I went to public policy school, not seminary, and although I loved Scripture and history and could write a bit, I was still learning more about Jesus every day.

But one day I felt a tug at my spirit, a sense that this young candidate needed some support. Not Secret Service protection or policy advice or political strategy he had plenty of that. I thought he needed some folks who were caring for his spirit, his soul.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Barack Obama • Belief • Bible • Christianity • Faith • Faith Now • Obama • Opinion • Politics

October 20th, 2013
05:00 AM ET

CNN exclusive: Chris Tomlin's new music video

By the CNN Belief Blog Editors

(CNN)– One of the most popular artists on the planet, Chris Tomlin, is about to release a new music video, and CNN's Belief Blog has an exclusive first look.

Next week Tomlin is releasing a deluxe CD/DVD edition of his chart-topping album "Burning Lights."

The CNN Belief Blog is the only place you can see Tomlin's new video, "God's Great Dance Floor," filmed live at Red Rocks Amphitheater in Colorado.

In March, we profiled the popular Christian singer, whose songs are sung by as many as 30 million people each week at churches across the country.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Faith Now • Music

'Mr. Spock goes to church': How one Christian copes with Asperger's syndrome
Brant Hansen, a host on Christian radio, says his Asperger's syndrome once made him feel like an alien at church.
October 19th, 2013
10:28 AM ET

'Mr. Spock goes to church': How one Christian copes with Asperger's syndrome

Opinion by Brant Hansen, special to CNN

(CNN) – In the book “Jim and Caspar Go to Church,” an atheist turns to a Christian minister as they're watching a Sunday morning church service and earnestly asks, "Is this what Jesus told you guys to do?"

I've grown up in churches and I'm a Christian, and I'm right there with the atheist.

I honestly don't get the connection. (To be fair, I've grown up on Earth, too, and there are times that I don't understand any part of this place.)

You see, years ago, I was diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome - and like a lot of "Aspies," sometimes I'm convinced that I've landed on the wrong planet.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Bible • Christianity • Church • Faith • Faith Now • Health • Jesus • Opinion • Spirituality

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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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