By Jeffrey Weiss, special to CNN
(CNN) – Nelson Mandela belongs to the ages whether he lives another hour, day or decade.
But in what may well be his final days, he’s focusing attention on a modern and yet very old question: When medical treatment can extend life interminably, what's the right thing to ask of doctors – or of the Almighty?
Few outside Mandela’s inner circle know the South African icon’s exact condition and treatment. Family members said last week that he had stopped speaking but was responding to voices. Officials have said he’s battling a lung infection, but they haven’t released much information beyond that.
What we do know is how Mandela’s countrymen have responded to what could be his last illness. More often than not, that response has included public prayer, vigils and hymns.
By Sarah Hoye, CNN
Philadelphia (CNN)–When Brandon Schaible got a rash, his parents prayed.
When the 7-month-old became irritable with diarrhea and lost his appetite, his parents, Catherine and Herbert Schaible, prayed again.
When Brandon had trouble breathing and gasped for air, his parents called a pastor - this, in spite of the fact that a judge had ordered them to call a doctor.
Brandon Schaible died on April 18 from bacterial pneumonia, dehydration and strep, according to the district attorney’s office – all treatable with antibiotics.
On Wednesday his parents were charged with third-degree murder.
The Schaibles are lifelong members of the First Century Gospel Church in Philadelphia, one of several religious groups in the U.S. that relies on faith, and eschews most medical care.
Editor's note: Dagfinn Høybråten is a vice president of the Norwegian Parliament and chairman of the GAVI Alliance Board. GAVI is a public-private partnership that works with governments, vaccine producers, faith-based organizations and others to expand access to vaccines and immunization. Since its launch in 2000, GAVI has helped immunize 370 million children in the poorest countries.
By Dagfinn Høybråten, Special to CNN
Despite their political, religious and ethnic differences, leaders from around the world are coming together for today's National Prayer Breakfast in Washington. As they do, it is worth noting that faith and science are also coming together around the world to promote healing and equality in the form of access to vaccines.
Vaccines are a triumph of science due to their incredible capacity to save lives and protect health. Yet vaccines reach only four out of five children who need them. To reach the fifth child, science has found an important partner in the faith community, which helps bring vaccines to the most remote areas and the children who need them most. FULL POST
By CNN Staff
(CNN) - A Catholic hospital in hot water for claiming in a Colorado court that a fetus is not a person backtracked on Monday, saying it was "morally wrong" to make the argument while defending itself in a wrongful death lawsuit.
The flip-flop concerns the case of Lori Stodghill. She was 28 weeks pregnant with twins when she went to the emergency room of St. Thomas More Hospital in Canon City, Colorado, vomiting and short of breath.
She went into cardiac arrest in the lobby and died. That was New Year's Day 2006.
By Ben Brumfield and Kyung Lah, CNN
Canon City, Colorado (CNN) - Life begins at conception, according to the Catholic Church, but in a wrongful death suit in Colorado, a Catholic health care company has argued just the opposite.
A fetus is not legally a person until it is born, the hospital's lawyers have claimed in its defense. And now it may be up to the state's Supreme Court to decide.
By Bill Mears, CNN
(CNN)– The billionaire founder of Domino's Pizza has won a temporary court victory, with a federal judge blocking enforcement of part of the health care reform bill requiring most employers to provide a range of contraception and reproductive health services.
Some business owners and their staff see that as a violation of their religious rights.
Federal Judge Lawrence Zatkoff issued his order late Sunday, saying Thomas Monaghan had "shown that abiding by the mandate will substantially burden his exercise of religion."
"The (federal) government has failed to satisfy its burden of showing that its actions were narrowly tailored to serve a compelling interest," said Zatkoff, a 1986 Reagan appointee. "Therefore, the court finds that plaintiffs have established at least some likelihood of succeeding on the merits" of their claim.
By Jen Christensen, CNN
Atlanta (CNN) – A young girl bravely stood to ask the Dalai Lama's doctor a question, and he gave her an unusual answer.
Dr. Tsewang Tamdin, a world-renowned expert in Tibetan medicine, visited Emory University in Atlanta on Monday as part of his effort to reach more American medical practitioners. He wants to develop collaborative projects between the Tibetan medicine system, which is more than 2,500 years old, and Western medicine.
The little girl told Tamdin she suffered from asthma. She wanted to know if there was anything in Tibetan medicine that could help her get better.
Tamdin, who spoke through a translator for the hourlong lecture, immediately switched to English. In a gentle, almost too-soft tone, he explained what might help.
(CNN)–Author Deepak Chopra shares thoughts on God, existence and faith from his new book "God: A Story of Revelation."
By Eric Marrapodi, CNN's Belief Blog Co-Editor
(CNN)–Wheaton College, the most prominent evangelical higher education institution in the United States, has filed a lawsuit against the Obama administration over a mandate to provide contraceptive coverage.
The Illinois school joins Catholic counterparts Catholic University and the University of Notre Dame in filing suits to stop a Health and Human Services mandate to provide birth control coverage to their employees.
The move is significant because the new evangelical opposition to the policy—coming not just from Catholic institutions - could have election-year political fallout.
The HHS mandate requires employers to provide free contraception coverage to their employees. Although the plan exempted churches, other religiously affiliated employers, including colleges and hospitals, were not exempt.
In the face of that opposition, the Department of Health and Human Services tweaked its original rule in February to require health insurers, not employers, to cover the cost of contraception coverage, reasoning that would prevent religious groups from having to finance such coverage.
By John Blake, CNN
(CNN) – When Wendell Potter first saw them, he froze.
“It felt like touching an electrical fence,” he says. “I remember tearing up and thinking, how could this be real.”
Thousands of them had lined up under a cloudy sky in an open field. Many had camped out the night before. When their turns came, doctors treated them in animal stalls and on gurneys placed on rain-soaked sidewalks.
They were Americans who needed basic medical care. Potter had driven to the Wise County Fairgrounds in Virginia in July 2007 after reading that a group called Remote Area Medical, which flew American doctors to remote Third World villages, was hosting a free outdoor clinic.
Potter, a Cigna health care executive who ate from gold-rimmed silverware in corporate jets, says that morning was his “Road to Damascus” experience.
“It looked like a refugee camp,” Potter says. “It just hit me like a bolt of lightning. What I was doing for a living was making it necessary for people to resort to getting care in animal stalls.”
The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision Thursday on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act is a colossal legal and political issue. For Potter, though, the issue became a crisis of faith.
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.