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September 10th, 2014
11:45 AM ET

How Christians should respond to domestic violence

Opinion by Russell D. Moore, special to CNN

(CNN) – The country collectively winced as we watched an NFL running back punch his fiancee in the face on an elevator, captured by security video.

The horror in the country crossed all the usual ideological and political divisions. Consciences intuitively knew this was wrong and shocking.

The video brought to light for many Americans what every church and religious institution in America must deal with on an ongoing basis: violence against women.

As a Christian, I believe it’s important to see this issue through the dual lenses of both the responsibility of the state and of the church.

The state, and the larger culture, has a responsibility to work against such violence. The Scripture says that the state is delegated a “sword” of justice to be used against “evildoers” (Roman 13:4). That clearly applies in these horrifying cases.

Often, men who abuse their wives or girlfriends will seek to hide under the cover of therapeutic language, as they seek to “deal” with their “issues.”

There is no question that a man who would abuse a woman is socially and psychologically twisted, but we should not allow this to in any way ameliorate the moral and public evil involved in these cases.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Crime • Ethics • gender issues • Opinion • Sports • Violence • Women

May 1st, 2014
09:15 AM ET

Why Christians should support the death penalty

Opinion by R. Albert Mohler Jr., Special to CNN

(CNN) - The death penalty has been part of human society for millennia, understood to be the ultimate punishment for the most serious crimes.

But, should Christians support the death penalty now, especially in light of the controversial execution Tuesday in Oklahoma?

This is not an easy yes or no question.

On the one hand, the Bible clearly calls for capital punishment in the case of intentional murder.

In Genesis 9:6, God told Noah that the penalty for intentional murder should be death: “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image.”

The death penalty was explicitly grounded in the fact that God made every individual human being in his own image, and thus an act of intentional murder is an assault upon human dignity and the very image of God.

In the simplest form, the Bible condemns murder and calls for the death of the murderer. The one who intentionally takes life by murder forfeits the right to his own life.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Bible • Christianity • Courts • Crime • Death • Discrimination • Ethics • Opinion • Violence

April 14th, 2014
06:06 PM ET

The accused Kansas killer's neo-pagan religion

By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

(CNN) - Frazier Glenn Cross is a white supremacist, an avowed anti-Semite and an accused killer. But he is not, as many think, a Christian.

Cross, who also goes by the name Glenn Miller, is accused of killing three people - all Christians - on Sunday at Jewish institutions in Overland Park, Kansas.

Authorities are weighing whether to file hate-crime charges against Cross, who is suspected of targeting Jews.

The 73-year-old has espoused anti-Semitism for decades. He also founded racist groups like a branch of the Ku Klux Klan and the White Patriot Party, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Both groups have deep ties to Christian white supremacists.

But according to Cross' 1999 biography, he is an adherent of Odinism, a neo-pagan religion that experts say has emerged as one the most vicious strains in the white supremacist movement.

"The faith’s obsession with genetic purity, racial supremacy and conquering supposedly lesser peoples is a recipe for violence," said Josh Glasstetter, campaign director for the Southern Poverty Law Center.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog Editor

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Crime • Discrimination • Neo-Nazi • Neopaganism • Prejudice • Religious violence • Violence

Rwanda 20 years later
April 13th, 2014
07:25 AM ET

Forgiving the unforgivable in Rwanda

By Tim Townsend, special to CNN

(CNN) - When the killing began in earnest, Steven Gahigi fled his home in the Bugesera district of Rwanda to neighboring Burundi.

By the time he returned the next year, 52 members of his family were dead. Most of them, including his sister, were slaughtered in the first week of the 20th century’s final genocide.

This week, Rwanda began commemorating the 20 years that have passed since the mass murder of Tutsis and moderate Hutus, which continued for 100 days and left at least 800,000 dead.

Gathering in a packed soccer stadium in Kigali, Rwandans re-enacted the horrific events of 1994. President Paul Kagame said his country had “a reason to celebrate the normal moments of life, that are easy for others to take for granted."

When Gahigi returned to Rwanda after the genocide, he had nothing: no family, no home. Eventually, he moved past his anger and entered a Christian seminary.

In 1999, he began visiting Rilima Prison in Bugesera, the new home to thousands of the génocidaires, the men who wielded the machetes. In Rilima he met the band of 15 who killed his sister.

At first, the prisoners thought he had been sent by the government – a spy in a clerical collar – to investigate their crimes. Even when they were satisfied that Gahigi wasn’t a spy, they were skeptical of his motives. Why would this man come to their prison to preach when he knew what they had done?

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Africa • Christianity • Crime • Death • Discrimination • Pastors • Prejudice • Rwanda • Violence

February 17th, 2014
06:41 PM ET

Satanists: Accused Craigslist killer not one of us

By Daniel Burke, Belief Blog Co-editor

(CNN) -  She's not one of us.

That's what Satanists are saying about accused "Craigslist killer" Miranda Barbour.

The 19-year-old told The Daily Item, a Pennsylvania newspaper, that she joined a satanic cult in Alaska when she was 13 and participated in several murders.

Barbour, who has been charged with one slaying in 2013, told the newspaper that she has been involved in  at least 22 killings.

But authorities haven't corroborated her claims, and top Satanists say they have no ties to Barbour or her husband, Elytte Barbour, who is also charged in the 2013 killing of 42-year-old Troy LaFerrara. Police say LaFerrara responded to a "companionship" ad placed by Miranda Barbour on Craigslist.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog Editor

Filed under: Crime • Cults • Satanism

Prosecutor: Pope faces threat from the mafia
Pope Francis at a ceremony in Rome, shortly his election as pontiff in March.
November 14th, 2013
02:59 PM ET

Prosecutor: Pope faces threat from the mafia

By Daniel Burke and Livia Borghese, CNN

ROME (CNN) - Pope Francis' crusade against corruption in the Catholic Church, including an overhaul of the scandal-scarred Vatican Bank, has put the new pontiff in the Italian mafia's crosshairs, according to two organized crime experts.

"The strong will of Pope Francis, aiming to disrupt the gangrene power centers, puts him at risk. He disturbs the mafia very much," Nicola Gratteri, a top anti-mafia prosecutor in Italy, told CNN on Thursday.

"I don't have precise information about a plan of the mafia against Pope Francis," Gratteri continued. "But if I did, I wouldn't say."

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog Editor

Filed under: Catholic Church • Crime • Leaders • Money & Faith • Pope Francis

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 Editor

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

Ex-pope breaks silence, denies cover up
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, left, greets Pope Francis during a March meeting at the Vatican gardens.
September 24th, 2013
02:05 PM ET

Ex-pope breaks silence, denies cover up

By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Co-editor

(CNN) - Retired Pope Benedict XVI says he never tried to cover up the sexual abuse of minors by Catholic priests, breaking his post-retirement silence to address one of the greatest threats to his legacy as a church leader.

In a lengthy letter published in La Repubblica, an Italian newspaper, the former pope answered theological and moral arguments from Piergiorgio Odifreddi, an Italian atheist and mathematician who had written about Benedict in 2011.

Earlier this month, La Repubblica also published a letter to its atheist editor from Pope Francis, Benedict's successor.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog Editor

Filed under: Catholic Church • Crime • Media • Pope Benedict XVI • Pope Francis • Rape • Sex abuse • Vatican

Athletes charged with murder
August 7th, 2013
02:58 PM ET

The seven deadly sins of sports

Opinion by Larry Alex Taunton, special to CNN

(CNN) - Being a sports fan these days almost requires a law degree. What with all the legal troubles of athletes, who can keep up?

Lawyers certainly have the edge in the fantasy leagues. The rest of us keep one on retainer.

Still, even they might have some difficulty predicting outcomes. Will the Yankees' Alex Rodriguez actually be suspended? Will Riley Cooper be cut from the Philadelphia Eagles? Will Johnny Manziel lose his NCAA eligibility?

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Celebrity • Crime • Opinion • Sports • United States

White churches uncommonly quiet after Zimmerman verdict
The Rev. Anthony Evans of the National Black Church Initiative leads a demonstration outside the Department of Justice.
July 20th, 2013
08:27 AM ET

White churches uncommonly quiet after Zimmerman verdict

By Jeffrey Weiss, special to CNN

(CNN) Even before the jury read their verdict acquitting George Zimmerman in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, a number of black religious leaders had responses at the ready.

The voices of white pastors and predominantly white churches and religious groups? Much harder to find.

Nearly a week later, some denominations that often weigh in on matters of national policy have yet to go on the public record. It's particularly notable in the leadership of the Catholic Church, the country's largest religious body.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Black issues • Catholic Church • Christianity • Church • Crime • Discrimination • Leaders • Media • Politics • Prejudice • Race • Violence • Weapons

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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 with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.

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