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How evangelicals won a war and lost a generation
Are church teachings on homosexuality driving millennials away from faith?
March 31st, 2014
02:18 PM ET

How evangelicals won a war and lost a generation

Opinion by Rachel Held Evans, special to CNN

(CNN) - On March 24, World Vision announced that the U.S. branch of the popular humanitarian organization would no longer discriminate against employees in same-sex marriages.

It was a decision that surprised many but one that made sense, given the organization’s ecumenical nature.

But on March 26, World Vision President Richard Stearns reversed the decision, stating, “our board acknowledged that the policy change we made was a mistake.”

Supporters helped the aid group “see that with more clarity,” Stearns added, “and we’re asking you to forgive us for that mistake.”

So what happened within those 48 hours to cause such a sudden reversal?

The Evangelical Machine kicked into gear.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Bible • Christianity • Culture wars • Discrimination • Ethics • evangelicals • Faith Now • Gay marriage • Gay rights • Homosexuality • Opinion • Same-sex marriage

Pastor Fred Phelps
March 20th, 2014
07:12 PM ET

Should we celebrate Fred Phelps' death?

By Jessica Ravitz, CNN

(CNN) - He was a preacher best known for his virulent anti-gay rhetoric, the force behind placards that read “God Hates Fags.” He taught that natural disasters and man-made horrors like the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting were God’s punishment for acceptance of homosexuality.

He believed gays and lesbians should be put to death.

On Thursday, the world learned that Fred Phelps, founding pastor of the small but infamous Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas, was dead.

The news unleashed a firestorm of online chatter. In less than an hour after CNN posted an article announcing his death, more than 3,000 readers had weighed in with comments. By the end of the business day, that number exceeded 11,000.

FULL POST

- CNN Writer/Producer

Filed under: Christianity • Discrimination • Gay rights • Homosexuality • Westboro Bapitst Church

Bishop: Pope was 'on a high' during gay remarks
Cardinal Timothy Dolan in Rome before the conclave in Rome that elected Pope Francis.
July 31st, 2013
05:53 PM ET

Bishop: Pope was 'on a high' during gay remarks

By Daniel Burke, CNN

(CNN) - The nation's leading Roman Catholic archbishop said Wednesday that Pope Francis was "on a high" from his first international trip as pontiff when he said "Who am I to judge?" gays and lesbians.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, who traveled last week to Brazil with the pope for World Youth Day, said the massive turnout - estimates ran as high as 3 million - and ecstatic crowds likely gave Francis hope that he would "revive the church on his home continent of Latin America."

Francis was the archbishop of Buenos Aires in Argentina from 1998 until his papal election in March.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Catholic Church • Gay rights • Homosexuality • Pope Francis

July 29th, 2013
06:39 PM ET

Gay Catholic priest: Pope's words an 'invitation'

Opinion by the Rev. Gary M. Meier, Special to CNN

(CNN) - The question of today has been: What's my reaction to the pope’s statement regarding not judging gay priests?

The answer: Cautiously optimistic.

Optimistic because today’s statement comes after years of anti-gay rhetoric from the Catholic Church. In so many ways it is a breath of fresh air.

Someone from the church hierarchy has finally said something about homosexuality that isn’t hostile, harmful, and anti-gay – and it was the pope!

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Catholic Church • Christianity • Church • Faith Now • Gay rights • Homosexuality • Opinion • Pope Francis • United States

The quotable pope: Francis fuels debate
July 29th, 2013
06:30 PM ET

Pope quotes take flight on social media

By Kyle Almond, CNN

(CNN) – Perhaps it's fitting that the pope's first news conference was held onboard an airplane. Since Monday morning his comments have soared around the globe at high speed.

His remarks on homosexuality filled many Catholics with hope, especially those longing for the church to accept gays and lesbians more openly.

But they also discouraged others, including those who believe the Catholic Church should ordain women. 

Some social media commenters said they were just plain confused.

The pope was flying back from a weeklong visit to Brazil, his first international trip as pontiff, when he talked to reporters about a wide range of controversial topics.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Catholic Church • Gay rights • Homosexuality • Pope Francis • Women's issues

July 29th, 2013
12:21 PM ET

Pope on gays: A shift in tone, not substance

By John L. Allen Jr., CNN

(CNN) – Reaction to Pope Francis’ comments about not judging gays has broken along two lines: Either this is a groundbreaking reversal by the head of the Catholic Church, or it’s basically just a guy talking on a plane.

The truth is, it’s neither. What it really amounts to is a significant shift in tone, though not in substance.

Francis made the remark in the course of a free-wheeling, unscripted press conference at the end of his July 22-28 trip to Brazil for the Church’s “World Youth Day.”

Among a wide variety of other points, he was asked about a so-called “gay lobby” in the Vatican.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Catholic Church • Faith Now • Gay marriage • Gay rights • Homosexuality • Pope Francis

Conservatives brace for `marriage revolution'
Conservative Christians say their churches have been unprepared for cultural shifts on same-sex marriage.
June 28th, 2013
06:19 PM ET

Conservatives brace for `marriage revolution'

By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

(CNN) – With its ivy-covered entrance and Teddy Bear bouquets, Arlene’s Flowers seems an unlikely spot to trigger a culture-war skirmish.

Until recently, the Richland, Washington, shop was better known for its artistic arrangements than its stance on same-sex marriage.

But in March, Barronelle Stutzman, the shop’s 68-year-old proprietress, refused to provide wedding flowers for a longtime customer who was marrying his partner. Washington state legalized same-sex marriage in December.

An ardent evangelical, Stutzman said she agonized over the decision but couldn’t support a wedding that her faith forbids.

“I was not discriminating at all,” she said. “I never told him he couldn’t get married. I gave him recommendations for other flower shops.”

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Baptist • Belief • Christianity • Church • Culture wars • Discrimination • Evangelical • Faith • Faith Now • Gay marriage • Gay rights • Homosexuality • Politics • Religious liberty • Same-sex marriage

June 26th, 2013
11:53 AM ET

`Jesus wept' or tears of joy? Faithful react to gay marriage rulings

By Daniel Burke, CNN

(CNN) As news broke of the big Supreme Court rulings on gay marriage, religious leaders took to Twitter to express joyous praise or strong condemnation.


- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Belief • Church • Culture wars • Faith Now • Gay marriage • Gay rights • Homosexuality • Politics

June 20th, 2013
10:22 AM ET

Exodus apologizes to gay community, shuts down 'cure' ministry

(CNN) – After 37 years, Exodus International, an organization whose mission was to "help" gay Christians become straight, is shutting down. But not before issuing an apology.

"We're not negating the ways God used Exodus to positively affect thousands of people, but a new generation of Christians is looking for change - and they want to be heard," Tony Moore, an Exodus board member, said Wednesday.

The announcement comes less than a day after Exodus issued a wide-ranging apology to the gay community for "years of undue judgment by the organization and the Christian Church as a whole," a statement from the group says.

"Exodus is an institution in the conservative Christian world, but we've ceased to be a living, breathing organism," said Alan Chambers, the president of Exodus. "For quite some time, we've been imprisoned in a worldview that's neither honoring toward our fellow human beings, nor biblical."

Chambers, who has a wife and children and previously identified as gay, has acknowledged that he has "ongoing same-sex attractions."

FULL STORY
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Culture wars • Faith Now • Gay rights • Homosexuality

June 12th, 2013
02:32 PM ET

Big Baptist group urges ouster of Boy Scout execs

By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

(CNN) – The Southern Baptist Convention, the country's second largest church, said Boy Scout executives who pushed to allow openly gay Scouts without properly consulting members should be ousted from office.

In a resolution approved Wednesday at their annual meeting, Southern Baptist leaders stopped short of urging churches to cut ties with local troops in protest of the Scouting change, but didn't encourage them to stay, either.

Either way, the historic decision to allow gay Scouts could "complicate basic understandings of male friendships, needlessly politicize human sexuality, and heighten sexual tensions within the Boy Scouts,” the Baptist resolution says.

The Boy Scouts of America initially planned to lift its longtime ban on openly gay youth without canvassing members, Southern Baptists charged in a resolution that passed overwhelmingly.

The executives behind that plan should be removed, the Baptists said.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Baptist • Belief • Christianity • Church • Faith Now • Gay rights • Homosexuality • Politics • United States

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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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