April 26th, 2013
08:20 AM ET
By Dan Merica, CNN
Washington (CNN) – The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said it was "satisfied" with the Boy Scouts of America’s move to consider no longer denying membership to youth on the basis of sexual orientation.
In a statement Thursday, the Mormon church called the issue “complex and challenging” and said it believed the Boy Scouts were making “a thoughtful, good-faith effort” to address the issue.
“We are grateful to BSA for their careful consideration of these issues," the statement said. “We appreciate the positive things contained in this current proposal that will help build and strengthen the moral character and leadership skills of youth as we work together in the future.”
The Boy Scouts of America said last week it would consider a proposal that would no longer deny membership to youth on the basis of sexual orientation but would maintain its ban on openly gay adult leaders. The organization's executive committee made the proposal.
April 23rd, 2013
08:22 AM ET
(CNN)–CNN's Brian Todd visit's the Tsarnaev brothers' mosque to see if the members noticed any red flags around the suspects.
April 21st, 2013
01:43 PM ET
By David Ariosto and Moni Basu, CNN
Boston (CNN) – On this brisk April morning in Boston's South End, worshipers filled New England's largest Roman Catholic church. It was a time to pray - and reflect on the torrent of violence this city has seen.
Last Sunday, a special blessing was said here for the runners in the Boston Marathon. Now, there were people sitting on the wooden pews who might have witnessed the tragedy. They were all scarred inside.
Almost a week has passed since bombs made from pressure cookers blew up near the finish line of the race. Three people died, and more than 170 were wounded. Many remain in hospitals.
April 20th, 2013
07:39 PM ET
By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Editor
Washington (CNN) - Muslim leaders in Boston and elsewhere have distanced themselves from the suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing, condemning the deadly terror attack and saying they feared reprisals against their communities.
"I don't care who or what these criminals claim to be, but I can never recognize these criminals as part of my city or my faith community," said Yusufi Vali, executive director for the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center, the largest mosque in the Boston area.
"All of us Bostonians want these criminals to be brought to justice immediately. I am infuriated at the criminals of these bombings for trying to rip our city apart. We will remain united and not let them change who we are as Bostonians." FULL POST
April 20th, 2013
03:45 PM ET
By Tim Lister and Paul Cruickshank, CNN
(CNN)–Tamerlan Tsarnaev appears to have become increasingly religious in the last three or four years, according to an analysis of his social media posts and the accounts of family members. But there is so far no evidence of active association with international jihadist groups.
In August 2012, soon after returning from a long visit to Russia, he created a YouTube channel with links to a number of videos. Some include sermons or interviews with radical preachers. Two videos under a category labeled "Terrorists" were deleted. It's not clear when or by whom.
Tsarnaev's YouTube channel had the address "muazseyfullah," which happen to be the names of two prominent militant leaders among Islamist groups in Russia's north Caucasus, an area that includes Chechnya and Dagestan. Seyfullah also translates as "sword of Allah."
It is possible that the account he created has at some point been interfered with, but there is no such obvious sign.
One video talks about his beliefs, prayers and ablutions as a good Muslim. He speaks about leading a meaningful life; almost the very last word is "peace." Another video is in praise of Muslim women who pray and dress conservatively.FULL STORY
April 18th, 2013
02:27 PM ET
By Thom Patterson, Michael Pearson and Faith Karimi, CNN
(CNN) – President Obama brought a mixture of reassurance and defiance to Boston on Thursday to help heal a city hit hard by terrorist bombs.
"Every one of us stands with you," the president said at an interfaith service inside the Cathedral of the Holy Cross. "Boston may be your hometown - but we claim it, too. ... For millions of us what happened on Monday is personal."
Then Obama's tone took a more defiant turn toward those who planted the two bombs that exploded near the Boston Marathon's finish line Monday. "Yes, we will find you. And yes, you will face justice," Obama said. "We will hold you accountable."
Calling the event a chance to "mourn and measure our loss," the president also reaffirmed that Boston's spirit remains "undaunted and the spirit of this country shall remain undimmed." He looked ahead to next year's race, defiantly predicting that "the world will return to this great American city to run even harder and to cheer even louder for the 118th Boston Marathon. Bet on it."FULL STORY
April 16th, 2013
01:28 PM ET
Editor's note: Danielle Elizabeth Tumminio is an ordained Episcopal Church priest and author of "God and Harry Potter at Yale: Teaching Faith and Fantasy Fiction in an Ivy League Classroom."
By Danielle Elizabeth Tumminio, Special to CNN
Boston (CNN) — At 4 a.m. on Patriot’s Day, I huddled in the cold and dark on the Lexington town green that’s across from the church where I work as a priest, awaiting the reenactment of the first battle of the American Revolution.
As the sun rose, a small group of haggard colonists assembled. None were in military uniform; they seemed to have difficulty forming a straight line. And when the British marched towards them with their elegant uniforms and disciplined formation, they outnumbered the colonists more than 2-1.
It looked to be a slaughter.
As the “shot heard 'round the world” fired, the colonists scrambled, some dying in the skirmish and others retreating, running away to safety.
To the casual observer like myself, it looked like defeat — defeat of their hopes for freedom, liberty and democracy; defeat of goodness and light. But that defeat turned out to be the call that brought out reservists from all over the Boston area. Ordinary colonists left their homes to hide behind trees with their weapons, haunting the British as they marched back to Boston. The efforts of those ordinary men and women eventually led to victory for our country and the ideals it sought — and continues to seek—to embody.
Less than 12 hours after I attended the reenactment, I heard a different “shot heard 'round the world,” this time a few miles from my home where I was working. The Boston Marathon bombing shook me, as it shook many of my fellow Bostonians. It was a reminder that our world carries hazards and injustice. FULL POST
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 13th, 2013
07:39 AM ET
By Hada Messia and Laura Smith-Spark, CNN
Rome (CNN) – Pope Francis has appointed a group of eight cardinals from around the world to look into ways of reforming the Catholic Church, the Vatican said Saturday.
The group, which includes U.S. Cardinal Sean O'Malley from Boston, will examine ways to revise the Vatican constitution, Pastor Bonus, which sets the rules for running the Roman Curia, or church hierarchy.
The cardinals - who come from North America, Latin America, Africa, Asia and Europe - will first meet in October, the Vatican said.
The move follows on from suggestions made during the General Congregations, a series of meetings that brought together all the cardinals last month before they elected Francis as pope, the Vatican said.FULL STORY
April 12th, 2013
04:00 PM ET
By Kelly Murray, CNN
Editor's note: The Science Seat is a feature in which our sister blog CNN Light Years sits down with movers and shakers from different areas of scientific exploration. This is the eighth installment.
De Waal recently published a book called "The Bonobo and the Atheist: In Search of Humanism Among the Primates," which synthesizes evidence that there are biological roots in human fairness, and explores what that means for the role of religion in human societies.FULL STORY
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.