May 20th, 2013
10:28 AM ET
By Bill Mears, CNN Supreme Court Producer
Washington (CNN) - A dispute over public prayers at town board meetings will be taken up by the Supreme Court in coming months, another contentious case over the intersection of faith and the public arena.
The justices announced Monday it will decide whether a New York community may continue what it calls "inclusive" prayers at its town board sessions. The policy now allows Wiccans and atheists to offer invocations.
But some local citizens sued and a federal appeals court found the policy to be an unconstitutional violation of the Establishment Clause, which forbids any government "endorsement" of religion.
The petition will be argued later this year or early in 2014, with a ruling ready by the spring.
The case is Town of Greece, N.Y. v. Galloway (12-696).FULL STORY
May 16th, 2013
04:33 PM ET
Editor’s note: Hussein Rashid is a native New York Muslim. He teaches at Hofstra University in the Department of Religion. He is an associate editor at Religion Dispatches, a term member on the Council on Foreign Relations and fellow at the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding.
By Hussein Rashid, Special to CNN
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, one of the Boston Marathon bomb suspects, reportedly wrote that “an attack against one Muslim is an attack against all” on the wall of the boat in which he was hiding from police last month. Variations of this refrain seem to be common among angry young Muslim men, especially those who are attracted to violence. However, such a view ignores history, religious thinking and contemporary reality. It should be seen as a crass advertising slogan rather than a declaration of belief.
Tsarnaev's quote seems to be based on the idea of a global Muslim community, called the ummah, that has always been aspirational. The Tsarnaev brothers clearly felt that they were being marginalized, and the fact that they did not belong to an American Muslim community further reinforced that belief. So the brothers turned to the idea of the ummah, a historical fiction that has not existed in practice in all of Muslim history. Muslims are too varied to connect to one way of being a community. FULL POST
May 15th, 2013
09:50 AM ET
By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Editor
(CNN) – Franklin Graham, one of the country's most prominent evangelicals, says the targeting of conservative groups by the Internal Revenue Service included two of his ministries.
"I am bringing this to your attention because I believe that someone in the administration was targeting and attempting to intimidate us," Graham wrote in a letter Tuesday to President Barack Obama. The evangelical leader is the son of famed evangelist Billy Graham.
Graham said the IRS contacted the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, a North Carolina-based ministry, after it ran newspaper ads in that state in April encouraging support for an amendment against same-sex marriage. The group also bought newspaper ads in November encouraging Christians to vote for candidates who oppose same-sex marriage, support Israel and "base their decisions on biblical principles."
May 11th, 2013
10:00 PM ET
Editor’s note: Justin Lee is the Executive Director of the Gay Christian Network and author of Torn: Rescuing the Gospel from the Gays-vs.-Christians Debate.
By Justin Lee, Special to CNN
(CNN)–In high school, I was a Christian know-it-all.
My nickname was "God boy," and I was known for regularly preaching at my friends about social issues of the day. I dismissed their objections - and accusations of homophobia - as intolerance for my faith.
"I'm just telling you what God's Word says," I'd argue.
Years later I realized my mistake. What my peers most objected to wasn't my beliefs - it was my condescending attitude. I debated and preached when I should have listened. I thought that stating my position loudly and unyieldingly was a sign of strength. In the process, I alienated my friends.
I'm still an evangelical Christian, but one thing is now crystal clear to me. American evangelicals' bad reputation isn't just because of what we believe. It's mostly because of how we behave.
May 10th, 2013
10:42 PM ET
By Tom Watkins, CNN
(CNN)–The lead singer of the metal band As I Lay Dying has been arrested and charged with seeking to have his wife killed, the San Diego County Sheriff's Department said.
Authorities said Tuesday that Tim Lambesis tried to contract an undercover detective posing as a killer for hire to murder his estranged wife, who lives in Encinitas, California.
Arraignment was set for Thursday afternoon at North Division Court in Vista.
The department said it learned on May 2 that Lambesis, 32, had asked someone to carry out the killing and an investigation was initiated.
The investigation culminated Tuesday afternoon, "when Lambesis solicited an undercover detective to kill his wife," it said. He was arrested without incident at a business in Oceanside and taken to the Encinitas Station and booked into the Vista Detention Facility.
Last September, Meggan Lambesis filed with San Diego Superior Court to have the marriage dissolved.FULL STORY
May 10th, 2013
04:09 PM ET
By Tricia Escobedo, CNN
(CNN) – A nun and two peace activists could spend the rest of their lives in federal prison after being convicted of breaching one of the nation's most secure nuclear facilities.
After two days of testimony, a federal jury in Knoxville, Tennessee, found Sister Megan Rice, 83; Greg Boertje-Obed, 57; and Michael Walli, 63, guilty of destroying U.S. government property and depredation against federal property exceeding $1,000.
That could mean up to 30 years in prison, according to WATE, CNN's affiliate in Knoxville.
The three are scheduled to be sentenced on September 23.
When the guilty verdict was read Wednesday evening, the three defendants appeared content, even singing along with protest hymns before they were taken into custody, according to WATE.FULL STORY
May 6th, 2013
03:48 PM ET
(CNN)–Ibrahim Rahim, the Imam of Yusuf Mosque in Massachusetts, says Tsarnaev doesn't deserve to be buried in a holy place.
May 1st, 2013
10:58 AM ET
By Kevin Liptak, CNN
(CNN)–After weathering a political and personal scandal that made her the subject of glaring media scrutiny, Paula Broadwell says she's ready to move forward.
The former Army reservist who became romantically involved with Gen. David Petraeus while penning his biography, and was later accused of sending threatening e-mails to another woman, Broadwell told a local television station in Charlotte she's returning to the faith-based environment of her childhood.
"I grew up in a strong faith-based family," Broadwell told News 14 Carolina-Charlotte. "I think I have selected to return to those roots for strength, for my family, for myself and to protect our children and to forgive others and move on and face forward."
She was speaking after attending a YMCA-sponsored prayer breakfast in Charlotte, which she said had "touched her heart."
"I've made some mistakes in the past but I'm trying to look forward with my family," she said.FULL STORY
April 25th, 2013
05:26 PM ET
By Michael Martinez and Hamdi Alkhshali , CNN
(CNN) – Both sides in Syria's civil war were in rare agreement Wednesday: The minaret at a 12th-century mosque in Aleppo has been obliterated.
Unclear, however, was who destroyed the tower at the Great Umayyad Mosque, which has witnessed the march of nine centuries. It was just last month that a United Nations official expressed concern about the two-year war possibly damaging the mosque, a World Heritage site.
An opposition group blamed the government.
"Regime forces have committed today a new crime against human and cultural heritage by targeting the minaret of the mosque and completely destroying it," the Local Coordination Committees said. The group released a photograph of the mosque without its signature minaret, apparently reduced to rubble.
The Syrian Coalition also blamed President Bashar al-Assad's regime.FULL STORY
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 and frequent posts from religion scholar and author Stephen Prothero.