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.
September 14th, 2012
03:14 PM ET
By Dan Merica, CNN
Washington (CNN) – At campaign events these days, Mitt Romney often says that if he is elected president, he will emphasize the role of God in American society and will not “take God out of the public square.”
That kind of rhetoric is a departure from earlier less God-focused versions of the Republican candidate’s stump speech and his early apprehension with discussing his Mormon faith.
According to Mark DeMoss, Romney’s adviser to the evangelical community, such lines are designed to create a contrast with a Democratic Party that had to fight to get God into its platform at its recent convention.
“I will not take God out of my heart, I will not take God out of the public square, and I will not take it out of the platform of my party,” Romney has been saying in his stump speech since the Democratic platform fight this month.
September 6th, 2012
03:24 PM ET
By Dan Merica, CNN
Washington (CNN) – This convention season has not been good for atheists.
The word "God" was reinserted in the Democratic platform after it had been removed. A plan to raise atheist billboards in the convention cities was stymied by opponents. And though there were preachers and rabbis and other religious leaders opening and closing each day of each convention, there wasn’t an avowed atheist talking up unbelief on either convention’s speaking list.
The political lockout has left many nonbelievers asking, “What political party represents me?”
September 4th, 2012
05:22 PM ET
By Kevin Liptak, CNN
(CNN) – Democrats omitted the word "God" from their 2012 platform, a change from the party's 2008 document and a noticeable split from Republicans, who mention God ten times in their official party stance.
In 2008, Democrats wrote, "We need a government that stands up for the hopes, values, and interests of working people, and gives everyone willing to work hard the chance to make the most of their God-given potential."
The paragraph extolling the value of hard work in 2012 reads, "We gather to reclaim the basic bargain that built the largest middle class and the most prosperous nation on Earth-the simple principle that in America, hard work should pay off, responsibility should be rewarded, and each one of us should be able to go as far as our talent and drive take us."FULL STORY
August 11th, 2012
11:00 PM ET
Editor's Note: Joseph Loconte, Ph.D., is an associate professor of history at the King’s College in New York City and the author of The Searchers: A Quest for Faith in the Valley of Doubt.
By Joseph Loconte, Special to CNN
(CNN) The ancient Greeks, especially the frugal Spartans, would probably balk at the commercialism that saturates our modern Olympic Games. And it’s doubtful that either badminton or beach volleyball would satisfy their appetite for blood-and-guts competition.
Yet we share something with the Greeks every time we assemble for this great athletic contest: a desire to transcend the politics of the moment and reach beyond the ordinary limits of human achievement. That desire has been on full display during the London Summer Games.
Begun in 776 BC, the Olympic Games soon became so important to Greek life that conflicts between participating Greek city-states, which were constantly squabbling with one another, would be suspended until after the games. The great historian Thucydides described one such scene in his classic history of the Peloponnesian War.
August 4th, 2012
10:00 PM ET
Editor’s note: Timothy Keller is senior pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York and author of The New York Times best-selling book "The Reason for God." His book for church leaders, "Center Church," will be published in September.
(CNN)–When I was diagnosed with cancer, the question “Why me?” was a natural one.
Later, when I survived but others with the same kind of cancer died, I also had to ask, “Why me?”
Suffering and death seem random, senseless.
The recent Aurora, Colorado, shootings — in which some people were spared and others lost — is the latest, vivid example of this, but there are plenty of others every day: from casualties in the Syria uprising to victims of accidents on American roads. Tsunamis, tornadoes, household accidents - the list is long.
July 30th, 2012
10:09 AM ET
Read a Colorado pastor's take on reconciling the Aurora tragedy with belief in an all-powerful God.
Read regular Belief Blog contributor Stephen Prothero's analysis of the 7 ways CNN.com readers answered the question "Where was God in Aurora?"
July 28th, 2012
10:00 PM ET
Editor’s note: Rob Brendle is the founding pastor of Denver United Church, a former associate pastor at New Life Church in Colorado Springs, and the author of "In the Meantime: The Practice of Proactive Waiting."
By Rob Brendle, Special to CNN
I held her hand as she died.
Her family had come to a church where I was pastoring that morning, a routine Sunday. A thousand things would never have crossed their minds as they drove through Colorado Springs toward New Life Church’s enormous concrete worship center - including the prospect of being assaulted in their minivan by a young man with a high-powered rifle.
Later that day, we were all at a local hospital. The girl whose hand I held, Rachel, had already lost a sister at the scene. Her father was down the hall in critical condition and her mother was coming undone in the waiting room, but she didn’t know any of it. Rachel lay unconscious for a couple of hours more in the ICU.
July 26th, 2012
02:49 PM ET
Editor's Note: Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion scholar and author of "The American Bible: How Our Words Unite, Divide, and Define a Nation," is a regular CNN Belief Blog contributor.
By Stephen Prothero, Special to CNN
Over the last few days, CNN’s Belief Blog has received more than 10,000 responses to its question, “Where was God in Aurora?”
The underlying concern here has vexed theologians for centuries: How can evil happen in a world that is lorded over by a good and all-powerful God? As CNN's readers struggled to make sense of God's presence (or absence) in the Aurora, Colorado, massacre, I counted seven different answers to this question:
1. There is no God.
Self-professed atheists may make up only 2% of the U.S. population, but they are extraordinarily active online, and on CNN's Belief Blog. A commenter who identified as Jason spoke for them when he wrote, “Where was God? He was where he has always been. Nowhere because God does not exist.” Bob Dobbs agreed: “God is imaginary. The question is moot.”
July 24th, 2012
02:13 PM ET
By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor
(CNN) – Where was God in Aurora?
It’s a fresh take on an age-old question: Why does God allow suffering, natural disasters or – if you believe in it – evil?
We put the question to Twitter on Tuesday and got some starkly different responses.
“In short, God was in complete control, exercising His will,” wrote @PastorRileyF, who leads a church in Bethune, Colorado.
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.