Opinion by Lisa Sharon Harper, Special to CNN
Ferguson, Missouri (CNN) – It seems every few months for the past few decades we witness fresh protests to push a prosecutor to indict the killer of a black man – especially if that killer is white.
In fact, these protests have become commonplace, even expected, as if protesters are stock characters in a national theatrical classic, revived in cities across the country every year.
When Michael Brown was shot by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson on August 9, it looked like Ferguson, Missouri, was going to serve as just one more stop on the national tour of this classic drama. But it didn’t.
We have seen the officer, security guard or vigilante assailant – protected from arrest and whisked out of the reach of the angry black people. We have seen indictments await grand jury approval. We have seen prosecutors bungle trials.
But when was the last time we saw the local police department turn on the crowd with the militarized force and vitriol demonstrated by Ferguson’s finest?
When was the last time that we saw a prosecutor and governor play political games to avoid a recusal?
(CNN) - A shooting at a Catholic church in Phoenix left one priest dead and another one in critical condition, authorities said early Thursday.
A 911 call came in about 9 p.m. Wednesday local time from the Mother of Mercy Mission Catholic Church, said Sgt. Steve Martos of the Phoenix Police Department.
One of the victims made the call about the attack, which Martos described as a burglary.
The Rev. Kenneth Walker, who was killed on Thursday, and the Rev. Joseph Terra, who remains in critical condition, both belonged to the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter, a Catholic community founded in 1988 that trains priests and celebrates the traditional Latin Mass.
In a statement, the fraternity said:
By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor
Lake Forest, California (CNN) — In his first interview since his son's suicide in April, famed pastor Rick Warren told CNN that he knew his son, Matthew, had bought a gun, dismissed rumors that Matthew was gay and said he doesn't blame God for the tragedy.
"I have cried every single day since Matthew died," Warren said Tuesday in an exclusive interview with CNN.
"But that - that's actually a good thing. Grief is a good thing. It's the way we get through the transitions of life."
Rick Warren and his wife, Kay, founded Saddleback Church in Southern California in 1980, growing it from a small congregation to a multisite megachurch with some 20,000 weekly worshippers.
Warren is also author of the spiritual self-help guide “The Purpose Driven Life,” one of the best-selling books of all time, with more 36 million copies sold.
But even as the Warrens grew in prominence - attending conferences with presidents and prime ministers - their son Matthew struggled with borderline personality disorder and deep depression, they said during an interview with CNN’s Piers Morgan.
By Adam Aigner-Treworgy, CNN
(CNN) - During a more than two-hour meeting at the White House on Monday, Vice President Joe Biden asked leaders from across the faith community to keep up pressure on lawmakers to support compromise background check legislation even as Congress begins to shift its focus to immigration reform, according to several attendees who spoke to CNN.
Biden urged the roughly 20 faith leaders in attendance not to be discouraged by recent legislative failures, and instead assured them that the White House had not given up.
"Even though he suffered a defeat, he didn't sound defeated," said pastor Michael McBride of the PICO National Network. "And we need that kind of hope from the bully pulpit of the White House."
In the run-up to last month's Senate vote, religious organizations from across the denominational spectrum pressured members of Congress to vote for background check legislation.
Without mentioning the names of any lawmakers, Biden acknowledged the effectiveness of such lobbying efforts and asked those in attendance to continue to target those whose opinions can be swayed.
By Dan Merica, CNN
Washington (CNN) – The bipartisan gun control agreement reached by Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin and Republican Sen. Pat Toomey on Wednesday does not go far enough in the eyes of multiple clergy members from Newtown, Connecticut.
In interviews with CNN, religious leaders from Newtown, the site of last year’s school shooting where 20 children and six adults were killed, said that a recent gun control agreement does not do enough to fight gun violence, leading one rabbi to doubt whether Congress was actually working for the American people.
“Who are they compromising with?” said Rabbi Shaul Praver of the Congregation Adath Israel in Newtown. “Ninety percent of the country, 92% really, want the universal background checks. That is it, straight up, no exceptions. That is what the people want.”
Praver continued: “If there are so many people saying, ‘We want you to do this’ and it is not being done, then we are not being represented. I think we have a really big problem. It is called corruption and it is really a problem. You have elected officials who come here to do, you know, serve the NRA and not their constituents that elected them. I think they are out of touch.”
Editor's note: Jeanne Bishop is the sister of Nancy Bishop Langert, who, along with her husband and their unborn child, was shot to death by a juvenile. Since the murder of her family members, Jeanne Bishop has been an advocate for gun violence prevention, forgiveness and abolition of the death penalty. She is a criminal defense attorney in Chicago.
By Jeanne Bishop, Special to CNN
(CNN) - I have been paying close attention to the changes coming since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down any mandatory life sentences for juveniles who kill. A teenager killed my sister.
He killed her dream, too. She wanted to be a mom.
My sister Nancy married young. She was overjoyed when she got pregnant at age 25.
That dream died three months later, when she and her husband walked through the front door of their home and found their killer waiting for them.
He was a 16-year-old with a history of violence. He wanted to see what it was like to kill someone. He found out when he broke in and shot Nancy, Richard and their unborn baby and left them to die on a cold basement floor.
When the killer was arrested, details emerged that turned my stomach. He had joked about murdering my family members, even attended their funeral.
When he was convicted of the murders, he was remorseless. When he was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole, I was glad.
After sentencing, my mother turned to me in the courtroom and said, “We’ll never see him again.” I was glad of that, too. I wanted to wipe him off my hands like dirt.
I never spoke his name. I wanted his name to die and Nancy’s to live.
By Kevin Bohn, CNN Senior Producer
Washington (CNN) – Vice President Joe Biden and officials on his gun violence committee held an unannounced meeting Wednesday evening with a group of 12 national faith leaders.
One theme brought up by several participants was the "moral tragedy" reflected in the gun violence the nation has seen over the past several months.
Editor’s note: Daniel Darling is a pastor, author and speaker in the Chicago area. His latest book is "Real: Owning Your Christian Faith." He tweets at @dandarling.
By Daniel Darling, Special to CNN
(CNN) – The Bible doesn’t clearly express an opinion on the possession of guns, but many evangelicals defend the unlimited distribution of firearms with the same fervor that they defend biblical orthodoxy. According to a recent Public Religion Research Institute survey, 8% of white evangelical Protestants favor tighter gun laws.
But in the wake of yet another deadly school shooting, it’s time for evangelicals to contribute to the national discussion beyond: “It’s not guns that kill people, it’s people that kill people.”
In fairness to gun enthusiasts, no reasonable observer could pin the blame for the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting solely on the lack of effective gun laws. Even President Barack Obama and other influential voices have called for a balanced approach that looks not only at guns but also at mental illness, violent video games and a culture of fatherlessness that produces young troubled men. And the research about the effectiveness of gun controls laws seems mixed at best.
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.