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November 12th, 2012
02:03 PM ET

First Hindu elected to Congress

By Dana Davidsen, CNN

(CNN) - In an election that broke boundaries, Hawaii elected the nation's first practicing Hindu to the U.S. House of Representatives.

Congresswoman-elect Tulsi Gabbard, who will represent the state's second district, told CNN Monday that her election "shows the respect, diversity and love and aloha that people have in Hawaii that would allow for something like this to happen."

The 31-year-old Democrat said she will take her oath of office on the Hindu religious text Bhagavad Gita in January.

"I think it's a perfect time and a great time for Congress to start moving toward this representation on diversity and really this common ideal that regardless of what our differences might be, we all need to come together now to do what's best for the people," Gabbard said.

FULL STORY
- Dan Merica

Filed under: 2012 Election • Hinduism • Politics

My Take: 7 Ways religious diversity played in the election
November 9th, 2012
05:00 AM ET

My Take: 7 Ways religious diversity played in the election

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

“It’s demography, stupid!” is the new mantra for analyzing the 2012 election, in which African Americans, Asian Americans and Latinos cast their votes in overwhelming numbers for President Obama.

But religious diversity was another key theme. How so? Let me count the ways.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: 2012 Election • Atheism • Barack Obama • Buddhism • Church and state • Hinduism • Judaism • Mitt Romney • My Take • Politics • Polls • Uncategorized • United States

Diwali: One festival, many customs
Diwali is not only celebrated by Hindus, it is also an occasion for celebration by Jains and Sikhs (pictured). The Sikhs celebrate Diwali to mark the return of the Sixth Guru, Guru Hargobind Ji, who was freed from imprisonment and also managed to release 52 political prisoners at the same time from Gwalior fort by Mughal Emperor Jahangir in 1619.
November 6th, 2012
05:21 AM ET

Diwali: One festival, many customs

By Naomi Canton, for CNN

(CNN) - Diwali is one of the most important Hindu festivals in India - but the colorful customs and meanings associated with it can vary dramatically depending on whether you reside in the countryside or the city.

On the streets of densely populated conurbations like Mumbai, Diwali - popularly known as the Festival of Lights - is often a raucous affair, marked by a cacophony of firecrackers on the streets and a flourish of ceremonial gambling in the home. The wealthier urban dwellers splurge on gold, jewelry, clothes and expensive gifts such as electronics, which they buy for themselves and their loved ones.

FULL STORY
- A. Hawkins

Filed under: Hinduism • India • Sikh

Sculpting gods from clay
October 15th, 2012
04:15 PM ET

Sculpting gods from clay

(CNN)–For centuries, artisans have been crafting statues of Hindu deities on the banks of the Hooghly River in Kolkata, India.

Italian photographer Albertina d'Urso recently visited the historic Kumartuli district in the West Bengal capital.

"I think they enjoy their work because they know the idols they create will be enjoyed by others, but most of all because it is creative and handmade work," she said. "It would not be the same if it was a modern factory."

Read the full story from CNN Photos.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Culture & Science • Faith Now • Hinduism

September 1st, 2012
11:08 AM ET

My Take: Give me Bali's empty chair over Eastwood's

An empty chair in Bali.

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

When I went to Bali a few years ago, I didn’t go, like most tourists, for the beaches or, like Elizabeth Gilbert, for love. I went for the religion. I wanted to learn something about the unique brand of Hinduism practiced there.

Balinese Hinduism differs from Indian Hinduism in many ways. For example, in Balinese temples there are often no images of God. But for me the most arresting religious image I encountered was the empty chair.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: 2012 Election • Church and state • Hinduism • Mitt Romney • My Take • Politics • United States

My Take: Asian immigration is making U.S. less religious
A Pew report finds that there are now more Asian immigrants arriving in the U.S. each year than there are Latino immigrants.
June 20th, 2012
04:17 PM ET

My Take: Asian immigration is making U.S. less religious

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

When I first started studying Asian religions in the United States in graduate school, I assumed that the story of Asian immigration was a story of the arrival and adaptation of Hinduism, Buddhism and other Asian religions.

And so it is. But the broader story is much more complicated and intriguing.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: Asia • Atheism • Belief • Buddhism • Christianity • Hinduism • Immigration • My Take • Polls • United States

15 faith-based predictions for 2012
January 1st, 2012
03:00 PM ET

15 faith-based predictions for 2012

To ring in the New Year, CNN's Belief Blog asked experts in religion, faith leaders, and a secular humanist about how the forces of faith and faithlessness will shape the world in 2012.

Here's what they told us:

1. The Republican Party will tap Mitt Romney as its presidential nominee, and America will finally have its "Mormon moment." As evangelicals try to figure out whether they can support a president who practices Mormonism, the rest of us will try to figure out whether Mormonism is a cult, a form of Christianity, or something in between. Meanwhile, visitors to Marriott hotels will finally crack open some of those nightstand copies of The Book of Mormon.
Stephen Prothero, Boston University religion professor and regular CNN Belief Blog contributor

2. Despite all of the lessons that could have been learned from Y2K and Harold Camping, people will still rally around the idea that apocalyptic events are on the calendar for 2012. Some will turn to the end-date of the 5125-year-long cycle in the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar (closely associated with the Maya civilization) and a handful of folks believe cataclysmic events are awaiting on December 21, 2012. But the dates with will pass with little fanfare — except for those profiting from the sale of gold coins, generators, and dried food that you'd probably rather want to die than eat.
Margaret Feinberg, author of "Hungry for God"

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Atheism • Christianity • Hinduism • Islam

Russian court rejects petition to ban Hindu scripture
Activists of the right-wing Hindu organization Shiv Sena burn a Russian flag in India on December 26, 2011.
December 29th, 2011
11:05 AM ET

Russian court rejects petition to ban Hindu scripture

By Moni Basu, CNN

(CNN) – A Russian court has rejected a petition that sought to ban a Russian translation of the Bhagavad Gita, one of Hinduism's most important texts.

Hindus around the world expressed outrage after prosecutors in the Siberian city of Tomsk said the scripture promoted extremism and social discord.

The billion-plus adherents of Hinduism consider the 700-verse Gita, written as a message from God taught by Lord Krishna, as sacred.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Books • Courts • Faith Now • Hinduism

Christmas and other faiths
December 24th, 2011
10:00 PM ET

'What's Christmas without chopsticks?' How other faiths celebrate December 25th

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

(CNN) -
Two days before Christmas, Imam Mohamed Magid, the executive director at the All Dulles Area Muslim Society, preached about Jesus at Friday prayers.

"We live in a country with a majority of Christians, where Christmas is a major holiday... It's a reminder we do believe in Jesus. Jesus' position in Islam is one of the highest prophets in Islam," Magid said, adding that Muslims view Jesus as a prophet on par with Abraham, Moses, Noah and Mohammad.

Often when he says the name of Mohammad or Jesus in conversation, Magid adds the Islamic honorific "Peace be upon him" after his name.

"Jesus is a unifying figure, unifying Muslims and Christians," he said. The Quran, the Islamic scriptures, makes specific mention of Jesus and of his mother Mary. "It's very interesting that there are many places where the prophet (Mohammad) is quoting Jesus."

Christmas has a way of bleeding into other faiths in America.  The Christian holiday celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ in a manger in Bethlehem 2000 some odd years ago is ubiquitous across the country, even if the American tradition has leaned away from the sacred and toward the secular.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Belief • Buddhism • Christianity • Christmas • Faith Now • Hinduism • Islam

December 22nd, 2011
11:09 PM ET

India's ruling party woos Muslim voters with quota

By Moni Basu

(CNN) - India approved quotas for minority groups Thursday in a move that was widely seen as the ruling party's attempt to woo Muslim voters in a key state.

The federal cabinet set aside a 4.5% minority quota in jobs and education within an existing 27 percent quota for what are known as Other Backward Classes, traditionally the lowest rungs of the Hindu caste system otherwise known as Dalits.

The Indian constitution prohibits privileges based on religion but Thursday's decision would allow economically and socially disadvantaged minorities - Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, Buddhists and Zoroastrians - to be included in affirmative action programs.

FULL STORY
- Dan Merica

Filed under: Asia • Hinduism • India • Muslim • Politics

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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.

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