March 25th, 2013
11:00 PM ET
By Dan Merica, CNN
Washington (CNN) - As the Supreme Court considers two major same-sex marriage cases that could change marriage in the United States, religious leaders on both sides of the debate believe they are on God's side of the contentious issue.
In the months leading up to this week's Supreme Court hearings, religious leaders from across the country have held prayer vigils and rallies for their respective causes.
At each event, even those with diametrically opposed views, leaders cite biblical principles as the foundation for their beliefs.
"I believe I am on God's side," Dr. Richard Land, president of The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission and and opponent of same-sex marriage, told CNN. "I have no question in what God says marriage is."
"I do think we are on God's side because my idea of God is someone that is loving," said the Rev. Gary Hall, dean of the Washington National Cathedral and a proponent of same-sex marriage. "My understanding is that kind of God that loves everyone and wants everyone to live a joyful life."
March 25th, 2013
10:10 AM ET
Editor's note: Marc D. Stern is the general counsel of the American Jewish Committee and a contributor to the book, "Same-Sex Marriage and Religious Liberty."
By Marc D. Stern, Special to CNN
(CNN) – It was inevitable that the debate over same-sex marriage would have a strong religious component. This is partly because it involves such questions as the interpretation of biblical passages that, on their face, condemn homosexuality as a sin. But it also involves squaring the authority of ancient texts with modern theological understanding and developments in biology. And of course, the importance of love and human autonomy as religious values should be considered.
Those issues surfaced in the various briefs filed in the Supreme Court, some of which are written as if the court must inevitably choose one religious point of view as the winner and the other as the loser. This is a false choice. The Court can make all winners, or at least avoid allowing one side to suppress the other's deepest beliefs.
The U.S. Supreme Court has not been asked - nor could it possibly answer - the question of what God or the Bible thinks about same-sex marriage. Religious groups are divided on that question, some supporting and others opposing same-sex marriage. And even if the religious viewpoint were clear, it should play no direct role in deciding whether the Constitution requires the states or the federal government to recognize same-sex marriage. Our government should not act to further one or another religious view of contested moral issues.FULL STORY
January 13th, 2013
10:11 AM ET
CNN's Randi Kaye talks to the Very Rev. Gary Hall, dean of the Washington National Cathedral, about the national church's decision to host same-sex weddings.
January 9th, 2013
02:46 AM ET
By Ben Brumfield, CNN
(CNN)— When laws went into effect in three states for same-sex couples to marry, many were quick to line up at their city halls to exchange vows. Now they may do so in one of the nation's most prominent churches - the Washington National Cathedral.
Most Americans know the house of God, also called the Cathedral Church of St. Peter and St. Paul, as a place where sacred rites are carried out on behalf of the nation. It has been host to the funerals of numerous presidents and of inaugural prayer services for four presidents, including Barack Obama.
But it is also an active house of worship in the Episcopalian Church, said the Cathedral's dean, Gary Hall. The denomination has developed a blessing rite that mirrors current wedding ceremonies for heterosexual couples and allows each bishop to decide to allow same-sex marriages in their churches or not.
November 28th, 2012
05:49 AM ET
American evangelical Christian pastor Rick Warren discusses homosexuality and gay marriage with CNN's Piers Morgan.
October 21st, 2012
06:59 AM ET
By John Blake, CNN
President Barack Obama was sharing a pulpit one day with a conservative Christian leader when a revealing exchange took place.
Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback, a conservative Christian who has taken public stands against abortion and same-sex marriage, had joined Obama for an AIDS summit. They were speaking before a conservative megachurch filled with white evangelicals.
When Brownback rose to speak, he joked that he had joined Obama earlier at an NAACP meeting where Obama was treated like Elvis and he was virtually ignored. Turning to Obama, a smiling Brownback said, “Welcome to my house!”
The audience exploded with laughter and applause. Obama rose, walked before the congregation and then declared:
“There is one thing I have to say, Sam. This is my house, too. This is God’s house.”
Historians may remember Obama as the nation’s first black president, but he’s also a religious pioneer. He’s not only changed people’s perception of who can be president, some scholars and pastors say, but he’s also expanding the definition of who can be a Christian by challenging the religious right’s domination of the national stage.
August 3rd, 2012
08:41 AM ET
By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor
(CNN) – The website for the WinShape Foundation, a group started by Chick-fil-A founder Truett Cathy that’s financed almost entirely by Chick-fil-A profits, doesn’t look like a battlefield in the culture war.
The site features warm and fuzzy snapshots of winding country roads and rustic cabins along with links to a cornucopia of social welfare programs the foundation funds – from foster homes to kids’ camps to college scholarships – that would seem to be the furthest thing from controversial.
The foundation's “simple but profound goal” is also hard to take issue with: “Help ‘shape winners.’ ”
But gay rights groups are incensed about the chain’s financial support for what they say are anti-gay groups. WinShape-backed groups deny that accusation, while WinShape stresses its activities are almost entirely aimed at youth and families, as opposed to conservative advocacy.
August 2nd, 2012
11:30 AM ET
Chick-fil-A says it set a sales record on Wednesday, the day that supporters rallied around the fast-food chain amid a debate over its president's opposition to same-sex marriage.
The chain said it won't release sales numbers, but "we can confirm reports that it was a record-setting day," said Steve Robinson, Chick-fil-A's executive vice president of marketing.
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee had called on people to buy food at the chain on Wednesday, which he dubbed "Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day," after a backlash against the company and their president.FULL STORY
August 1st, 2012
06:12 PM ET
By the CNN Wire Staff
(CNN) - Throngs of people weighed in on the Chick-fil-A debate at stores across the United States on Wednesday, buying chicken sandwiches to show their support for the restaurant chain and its president's opposition to same-sex marriage.
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee dubbed it "Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day."
He called for a vocal response to the backlash against the fast food restaurants and their president.
The controversy came about after an interview with the fast food restaurant chain's president and COO, Dan Cathy, appeared in The Baptist Press on July 16 and he weighed in with his views on family.
"We are very much supportive of the family - the biblical definition of the family unit," Cathy said. "We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that."
On a Facebook page Huckabee created announcing the event, more than 620,000 people said they would participate.
"The goal is simple: Let's affirm a business that operates on Christian principles and whose executives are willing to take a stand for the Godly values we espouse by simply showing up and eating at Chick Fil-A on Wednesday, August 1," wrote Huckabee, a former pastor.FULL STORY
July 27th, 2012
06:53 PM ET
By Sarah Aarthun, CNN
Atlanta (CNN) - Ordering lunch just got a lot more complicated than deciding how to answer, "Do you want fries with that?"
Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy sparked reactions that were swift and strong after he weighed in on same-sex marriage by saying his company backs the traditional family unit.
Politicians from Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel to former GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum spoke up. Supporters and opponents of same-sex marriage protested. And suddenly, the type of fast-food bag you carry could reveal your views on a hot-button social issue that has split the country.
Some proponents of same-sex marriage have decried Cathy's comments and called for a boycott of the chain, which had annual sales of more than $4.1 billion last year and has more than 1,615 locations in 39 states and Washington, D.C., with the strongest concentration in the Southeast.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.