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
April 28th, 2013
06:00 AM ET
By John Blake, CNN
(CNN) – An angry outburst at a mosque. The posting of a suspicious YouTube video. A friendship with a shadowy imam.
Those were just some of the signs that Tamerlan Tsarnaev, accused of masterminding the Boston Marathon bombings, had adopted a virulent strain of Islam that led to the deaths of four people and injury of more than 260.
But how else can you tell that someone’s religious beliefs have crossed the line? The answer may not be as simple you think, according to scholars who study all brands of religious extremism. The line between good and evil religion is thin, they say, and it’s easy to make self-righteous assumptions.
“When it’s something we like, we say it’s commitment to an idea; when it’s something we don’t like, we say it’s blind obedience,” said Douglas Jacobsen, a theology professor at Messiah College in Pennsylvania.
April 13th, 2013
10:00 PM ET
By Alan Duke, CNN
Los Angeles (CNN) - When a film's credits list "prayer coordinator" before the hair/makeup and wardrobe teams, you might guess it is a faith-based production.
"Not Today," which premieres on 50 screens in 20 U.S. cities this weekend, was not funded by Hollywood investors, but with $1.6 million from the collection plate at Friends Church in Yorba Linda, California.
Still, the church couldn't avoid the controversies that seem routine in Hollywood productions — including a lawsuit over pay.
The idea for the film began during a trip to India where the church began building schools for the Dalit class - considered the lowest in India's caste system - in 2002. It's a project that fits Friends Church's Quaker tradition, said Creative Arts Pastor Brent Martz. President Richard Nixon's parents worshiped at the church, which celebrated its 100th anniversary last year.
"Our hearts were totally ripped open for the Dalit people," Martz said. Social rules and poverty make their children vulnerable to human-trafficking in labor and sex.
April 4th, 2013
02:06 PM ET
By Eric Marrapodi and John Blake, CNN
(CNN)– Politicians often declare that the U.S. is a Christian nation, but a group of representatives in North Carolina wants to add a new wrinkle to that argument.
They want North Carolina to be able to make its own laws establishing religion.
Two Republican representatives in North Carolina filed a resolution Monday that would permit the state to declare Christianity its official religion and reject any federal laws or court rulings regarding how the state addresses the establishment of religion.
Critics say the resolution violates the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment guarantee that government will not prefer one religion over another. But a supporter of the resolution said it is about protecting another freedom.
February 18th, 2013
09:55 AM ET
(CNN)–Pope Benedict XVI's resignation brings calls for his prosecution. CNN's Nic Robertson investigates the claims.
January 16th, 2013
12:07 AM ET
CNN's Dan Rivers reports on a big legal victory over a small cross.
January 15th, 2013
05:39 AM ET
By Laura Smith-Spark and Richard Allen Greene, CNN
London (CNN) - A British Christian woman suffered religious discrimination when British Airways told her not to wear a visible cross over her uniform, a top European court ruled Tuesday.
However, three other British Christians lost related religious discrimination claims at the European Court of Human Rights.
British Airways violated the article of the European Convention on Human Rights that guarantees freedom of religion when it stopped employee Nadie Eweida wearing her cross openly, the court said.
Eweida said she experienced discrimination from 2006 to 2007, when she started wearing the cross visibly and was transferred to another job. The airline has since changed its policy on uniforms to allow employees to wear religious or charity symbols.FULL STORY
January 11th, 2013
03:40 PM ET
By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Editor
Washington (CNN) - By Friday, Hobby Lobby would have racked up $14.3 million in fines from the Internal Revenue Service for bucking Obamacare. But in keeping with the great American tax tradition, they may have found a loophole.
The company is facing $1.3 million a day in fines for each day it chooses not to comply with a piece of the Affordable Care Act that was set to trigger for them on January 1. The craft store chain announced in December that, because of religious objections, they would face the fines for not providing certain types of birth control through their company health insurance.
December 27th, 2012
07:52 AM ET
By the CNN Wire Staff
(CNN) – Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor on Wednesday turned down a request that she block part of Obamacare that would require companies' health plans to provide for coverage of certain contraceptives, such as the morning-after pill.
They said they would be required "to provide insurance coverage for certain drugs and devices that the applicants believe can cause abortions," which would be against their religious beliefs, Sotomayor wrote in her opinion.
December 11th, 2012
01:13 AM ET
By Joe Sutton, CNN
(CNN) - A federal judge ruled that North Carolina's new "Choose Life" license plates are unconstitutional because the state does not offer a pro-choice alternative.
"The State's offering a Choose Life license plate in the absence of a pro-choice alternative constitutes viewpoint discrimination in violation of the First Amendment," U.S. District Court Judge James Fox wrote in the ruling Friday.
The ruling was praised by the American Civil Liberties Union, which had filed a lawsuit in 2011 to stop the specialty plates.
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.