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My Take: Gays are coming out on TV. Christians are, too
Actor Samuel Larsen, second from left, on "The Glee Project."
May 11th, 2012
08:54 AM ET

My Take: Gays are coming out on TV. Christians are, too

Editor's Note: Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion scholar and author of "God is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions that Run the World," is a regular CNN Belief Blog contributor.

By Stephen Prothero, Special to CNN

The New York Times reports this week that gays and lesbians are now commonplace on hit television shows. But Christians are coming out of the closet and onto our television sets, too.

“Glee” may feature a gay couple (Kurt and Blaine), a lesbian couple (Santana and Brittany), and a transgender character (Unique), but it also includes the God Squad, a group of Christians that meet in school and struggle with the demands of their faith.

On the first season of “The Glee Project,” a reality show that trolls for talent to feature on “Glee,” actor Samuel Larsen won a seven-episode role in part because of a tattoo on his chest quoting from Psalm 18 (“I will love thee O Lord my strength”). Larsen, who also sports long dreadlocks, obviously has that elusive “it” factor, but one reason he won "The Glee Project" was that "Glee" executive producer Ryan Murphy wanted to feature a Christian character on the show.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: Bible • Christianity • Entertainment • Homosexuality • Sexuality • Teens • United States

Donald Miller’s ‘Blue Like Jazz’ film set to open
Actor Marshall Allman, who plays Don Miller in “Blue Like Jazz” film, with actress, Claire Holt, who plays “Penny.”
March 9th, 2012
05:00 AM ET

Donald Miller’s ‘Blue Like Jazz’ film set to open

By John Blake, CNN

Raw, gritty, with some foul language - not the typical description of a Christian film. Yet that’s how some are describing the upcoming movie  “Blue Like Jazz.”

The film, based on a bestselling coming-of-age Christian memoir of the same name, is scheduled to premiere Saturday at the South by Southwest Film Festival in Austin, Texas.

“Blue Like Jazz” follows a pious, 19-year-old sophomore at a Texas college who decides to flee his conservative religious upbringing by transferring to one of the most liberal college campuses in America.

FULL POST

- CNN Writer

Filed under: Belief • Bible • Books • Christianity • Culture wars • Entertainment • Faith • Schools • Uncategorized

February 18th, 2012
05:38 PM ET

My Take: Houston funeral brings world inside black church

Editor's Note: Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion scholar and author of "God is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions that Run the World," is a regular CNN Belief Blog contributor.

By Stephen Prothero, Special to CNN

Whitney Houston gave a lot of gifts to the world. She gave us the best rendition ever of "The Star-Spangled Banner." She gave us “I Will Always Love You.”

But Saturday at New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, New Jersey, where as a girl she sang in the choir, she gave us a church service — a chance for people of all races to see what church looks like inside the community that gave Houston (and us) her voice.

“There are more stars here than the Grammys,” said Houston’s music director, Rickey Minor, and the service did feature pop star Stevie Wonder and music mogul Clive Davis, among others. But so much of popular music started in the black church, and today the black church talked back.

CNN's Belief Blog – all the faith angles to the day's top stories

In other words, this was an unapologetically Christian service, replete with references to salvation and “amazing grace,” where even the pop stars were transformed into gospel singers. People crossed themselves. They raised their hands to heaven. And the congregation kept shouting back: “Yes!” and “That’s it!” and “Praise the Lord!”

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: Celebrity • Christianity • Church • Death • Entertainment • Faith • Houses of worship • Inspiration • Uncategorized

In outrage over Lowe's controversy, moderation is drowned out
December 13th, 2011
09:02 PM ET

In outrage over Lowe's controversy, moderation is drowned out

By Dan Merica, CNN

Washington (CNN) – Lowe's knows that it opened Pandora's box when the company "managed to step into a hotly contested debate" by pulling its advertising from the reality TV show "All-American Muslim."

"Lowe's has received a significant amount of communication on this program, from every perspective possible," it said in a statement. "Individuals and groups have strong political and societal views on this topic, and this program became a lightning rod for many of those views."

But "communication to the company" was far from the start of it. Almost anyone with an opinion, from bloggers to commentators and Twitters users, aired diverging views. And though the viewpoints getting the most coverage were from those with the biggest platforms, there is growing sentiment online that what Lowe's did was wrong but allowable.

FULL POST

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Entertainment • Islam

Lowe's pulls ads from 'All-American Muslim' after 'ordinary' portrayal protested
Samira Amen, who's featured in "All-American Muslim."
December 10th, 2011
09:10 PM ET

Lowe's pulls ads from 'All-American Muslim' after 'ordinary' portrayal protested

By James Hibberd, Entertainment Weekly

(Entertainment Weekly) – A TLC reality show offering a positive portrayal of Muslim life has come under protest and at least one advertiser has pulled its support.

Hardware store giant Lowe’s has yanked ads from the series after the Florida Family Association encouraged members to email the program’s advertisers.

“The show profiles only Muslims that appear to be ordinary folks while excluding many Islamic believers whose agenda poses a clear and present danger to liberties and traditional values that the majority of Americans cherish,” the group said about the show, a docu-soap chronicling everyday Muslim families in Dearborn, Michigan that debuted last month. “Clearly this program is attempting to manipulate Americans into ignoring the threat of jihad and to influence them to believe that being concerned about the jihad threat would somehow victimize these nice people in this show.”

FULL STORY
- Dan Merica

Filed under: Entertainment • Muslim

The Mormon group – whether they like it or not
Vocal Point performs on NBC's the Sing Off with host Nick Lachey.
December 8th, 2011
01:33 PM ET

The Mormon group – whether they like it or not

By Dan Merica, CNN

(CNN) – When Shane Wright met with members of Vocal Point, a Brigham Young University a cappella group that was considering competing on NBC's singing show "The Sing Off," the main question he had for the nine male students had nothing to do with their singing talent.

Wright, the artist manager at BYU, wanted to know if the team was prepared to not only represent themselves and their school but to be viewed through the audience's understanding of Mormonism.

"I went around the room and asked the guys, how would you handle this or that type of question or situation," Wright said. "In our meeting we discussed several scenarios. I wanted to get them thinking about various situations before they were put in the fire."

FULL POST

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Entertainment • Mormonism

August 31st, 2011
07:42 PM ET

Headgear ban sparks melee between police, Muslim park patrons

From Kiran Khalid CNN

Rye, New York (CNN) -What was meant to be a celebration marking the end of Ramadan turned into a melee at an amusement park on Tuesday when a group of Muslim women were told they weren't allowed on certain rides with their headscarves.

Rye Playland was full of visitors celebrating Eid al-Fitr when the festive mood turned angry. Westchester County Police said the women wearing the hijab, a traditional Muslim headscarf, became argumentative when park employees enforced the no-headgear policy and men sprang to their defense.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Eid al-Fitr • Entertainment • Holidays • Islam • New York • Ramadan • United States

Rose McGowan: How she survived, escaped a cult
Rose McGowan grew up in the Italian countryside, where her parent were members of the local branch of the Children of God.
August 25th, 2011
07:53 PM ET

Rose McGowan: How she survived, escaped a cult

By Blaine Zuckerman, PEOPLE.com

(PEOPLE.com) - Rose McGowan's first nine years were anything but traditional. They were spent in the Children of God sect, a group that extolled the virtues of free love and prepared for the second coming of Jesus.

Although it proved a harrowing experience - she fled with her family, she says, once the cult began advocating child-adult sexual relations - as the setting at first "was really idyllic," remembers the actress, 38, who rose to fame on TV's Charmed and now stars in Conan the Barbarian 3D.

"I grew up in pastoral settings" - specifically, the Italian countryside, where her parent were members of the local branch of the Children of God. But McGowan, who was born in Florence, knew instinctively that she didn't belong in such a place.

Read the full story here.
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Cults • Entertainment

Evangelist produces ‘Real Housewives of the Bible’ DVD
July 5th, 2011
10:16 AM ET

Evangelist produces ‘Real Housewives of the Bible’ DVD

By Liane Membis, CNN

There’s a new set of housewives on the block.

These women aren’t whining about fashion faux pas and socialite misgivings. Their stories are cast somewhere between the books of Genesis and Revelation.

Ty Adams, a web-based evangelist and author, is producing “The Real Housewives of the Bible,” a two-part DVD series that tracks six women dealing with the ups and downs of marriage as they strive to be good wives.

FULL POST

- Liane Membis

Filed under: Bible • Culture & Science • Entertainment

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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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