December 13th, 2012
05:14 PM ET
Editor’s note: Sister Simone Campbell is Executive Director of the Catholic social justice lobby NETWORK and leader of the “Nuns on the Bus.”
By Simone Campbell, Special to CNN
(CNN) - The debate raging in Congress over the fate of our federal budget reminds me of the great judgment of Solomon. Here we are, sharp sword overhead, poised to cut the baby in half, just waiting for the voice of reason and a willingness to sacrifice.
Instead, we’re confronted with arguments framed as a hard, false choice between sound economic policies and social programs, between fiscal realities and compassionate acts. It’s time to stay the sword.
The truth is, at some point in life and regardless of income, virtually every American will benefit in some way from a social safety-net program, whether through a social security check, an unemployment benefit or a school lunch. Programs like these are called safety nets for a reason – yank them away and people get hurt, today more than ever.
October 4th, 2012
10:20 AM ET
By Jessica Ravitz, CNN
Decades before atheist scientist and author Richard Dawkins called God a "delusion," one world-renowned physicist - Albert Einstein - was weighing in on faith matters with his own strong words.
“The word God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honorable, but still primitive legends,” Einstein wrote in German in a 1954 letter that will be auctioned on eBay later this month. "No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this.”
Dubbed Einstein’s “God Letter” by the Los Angeles-based auction agency that's posting it online, the original document will be up for grabs starting Monday. The opening bid: $3 million.
April 30th, 2012
12:24 PM ET
By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor
(CNN) - Columnist and gay-rights advocate Dan Savage is standing by his comment that “we can learn to ignore the bulls**t in the Bible about gay people” at a recent conference for high school students, a line that prompted some to walk out and spurred intense online debate.
In a blog post on Sunday, Savage wrote that his remark at a conference for the Journalism Education Association and the National Scholastic Press Association was "being spun as an attack on Christianity. Which is bullshhh… which is untrue.”
“I was not attacking the faith in which I was raised," Savage wrote. "I was attacking the argument that gay people must be discriminated against — and anti-bullying programs that address anti-gay bullying should be blocked (or exceptions should be made for bullying 'motivated by faith') — because it says right there in the Bible that being gay is wrong.”
October 1st, 2011
10:00 PM ET
By John Blake, CNN
(CNN) – Bishop Harry Jackson is a former college middle linebacker who can still hit hard.
He once described same-sex marriage as a satanic plot to destroy the family, called on Republicans to get “political Viagra” and said African-Americans needed to abandon what he called the Gospel of Victimization.
Jackson is not shy about stirring up controversy, but he stops short when it comes to preaching about greed. The Maryland bishop said he encourages his congregation to get through the Great Recession by saving and sharing. But he doesn’t want to alienate well-off members by talking about what’s behind the nation’s economic woes.
"I've got to watch it," said Jackson, pastor at Hope Christian Church in Beltsville, Maryland. "I could get into some big teaching on greed, but the reality is that a lot of that teaching may wind up creating anti-economic-growth and anti-capitalism concepts (in people’s minds). ... I always talk about personal responsibility so we don't get into the blame game."
The Great Recession is more than an economic crisis. It has become a spiritual dilemma for some of the nation’s pastors and their parishioners, religious leaders say.
March 28th, 2011
01:47 PM ET
By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor
Amid a delicate dance to cut the budget in Congress, agitated religious leaders in Washington said Monday that the cuts being proposed are too deep.
Food aid for people at home and abroad, mosquito nets, and Head Start preschool programs are all on the chopping block. That, many religious leaders say, has crossed a moral line. In response, they have begun a fast - a hunger strike.
February 17th, 2011
06:00 AM ET
By Eric Marrapodi, Co-Editor CNN Belief Blog
Manny Pacquiao punches people in the face for a living.
He is pound for pound the greatest boxer in the world. An eight-time world champion, the 147-pound Filipino fighter has obliterated his way through weight classes on his way to becoming a national hero in the Philippines and an international superstar.
The southpaw has crushing punching power, and his team has worked hard to develop a right as devastating as his left. But Pacquiao is packing a secret weapon when he walks into the ring - a deep abiding faith.
"The most important thing is to believe in God," Pacquiao said during a recent train trip to Washington, D.C. With his wife by his side and his team taking up the entire private train car, Pacquiao spoke to CNN about his faith, politics and his upcoming fight.
January 6th, 2011
01:37 PM ET
It’s the urban drama most of us have been forced to play. A panhandler stands outside your car window, invoking God and asking for help. What do you do?
For many, the answer is nothing, Keep the windows rolled up and drive straight ahead. Homeless people pleading for help are now so numerous that they’ve become what one pastor called “visual white noise” in our contemporary landscape.
Five weeks ago, though, Doral Chenoweth III, made another decision. He stopped for Ted Williams, a man we now know as “the homeless guy with the golden voice.”
We know what’s happened to Williams: overnight fame, job offers. But what about Chenoweth? What made him stop for Williams? It turns out Chenoweth has a story of his own, and it’s rooted in his faith.
December 23rd, 2010
07:00 AM ET
By Katie Glaeser, CNN
“Christians don’t deserve a monopoly on holiday cheer," reads a simple yet loaded statement on the American Atheists’ website.
But how could Christians monopolize a holiday that is based on their beliefs?
It turns out that traditions associated with Christmas have morphed into social norms adopted even among nonbelievers.
December 22nd, 2010
07:00 AM ET
Singer Matthew West, whose "The Story of Your Life" album was compiled from letters written by his fans, will close the year by performing a benefit concert for St. Jude's hospital.
The concert is in memory of Dax Locke, who inspired a town to decorate for Christmas two months early, fearing he would not live until December. He did, but 2-year-old Dax died from acute myeloid leukemia five days after Christmas.
West wrote the songs for "Story" from 10,000 letters sent in by people who heard about his project, and he wrote a tune inspired by Dax's story after receiving three e-mails about him (but didn't include the song on the album).
The Dax-inspired song, "One Last Christmas," is now a video on his West's website, where for a donation to St. Jude's, you can download it.
West has also posted the video to YouTube where it has received more than 550,000 views. Be warned, watch the video with a few tissues.
The benefit concert will be held in Dax's hometown - Washington, Illinois - on December 30. West and the Locke family are trying to raise $1.6 million for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, where Dax was treated.
December 21st, 2010
11:26 AM ET
Sixteen-year-old Valery Bianco and his 13-year-old sister Marina Bianco take extra care in preparing and wrapping their shoe box gifts for "Operation Christmas Child."
They know firsthand what these gifts could mean to a child.
"I was almost 10 when I received my shoe box, and it was touching to receive a gift as an orphan, someone people don't care about," Valery says.
Those shoe boxes were the first gifts that Valery and Marina received during their life at a Russian orphanage.
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