November 21st, 2012
05:00 AM ET

Weeks after Sandy, churches continue to help lead relief effort

By Sarah Hoye, CNN

Coney Island, New York (CNN) – Pastor Connie Hulla heads down the street toward the setting sun, her cowboy boots clicking against the sidewalk.

“Don’t worry, we have plenty of food inside,” she calls out over the rumble of a commercial generator to a line of residents snaking around her Coney Island Gospel Assembly church. “Sorry for the wait. We had to restock.”

It’s been three weeks since Superstorm Sandy ravaged the Northeast, killing more that 100 people and causing an estimated $50 billion in damage.

Despite power being restored in most areas, schools reopening and life beginning to go on as usual, there are many homes in need of repair from flood damage – and entire blocks reduced to rubble - leaving a strong demand for the good will of others.


- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Christianity • Church • Natural DIsaster • New York

Online conversations around Sandy feature God, prayer and atheism
A church sign from Sunday in a town on Long Island, New York.
October 30th, 2012
04:54 PM ET

Online conversations around Sandy feature God, prayer and atheism

By Conor Finnegan, CNN

(CNN) – As millions of Americans begin to clean up from Superstorm Sandy, many will  turn to insurance companies to cover damages caused by an “act of God.” It’s legalese for natural disasters.

Some of the online conversation around Sandy have treated it as such an act, with the term “prayer” trending on Facebook on Monday, as the nation awaited the storm’s landfall.

We noticed four themes emerging that touch on God and religion on Facebook, Twitter and in CNN.com’s comments sections:


- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Comments • God • Natural DIsaster

My Take: America’s attention deficit after Hurricane Isaac
Flooding after Hurricane Isaac in Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana.
September 14th, 2012
12:30 PM ET

My Take: America’s attention deficit after Hurricane Isaac

Editor's note: Bill Horan is president of Operation Blessing International.

By Bill Horan, Special to CNN

While Americans and the media convened, debated and celebrated in Tampa and Charlotte in recent weeks, thousands of Americans in southeastern Louisiana became homeless, finding themselves living without electricity, clean water or other basic necessities after Hurricane Isaac hit.

Mitt Romney and President Obama, along with the national media, have come and gone from the region. What’s left behind is total devastation and a long road of rebuilding – again.

Yet this could be the end of the road for many families living there.


- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Louisiana • My Take • Natural DIsaster • Opinion

November 11th, 2011
03:59 PM ET

Washington National Cathedral to reopen this weekend

By Chris Ford, CNN

Washington (CNN) – For 20 years, stone mason Joe Alonso has been charged with maintaining and preserving what he calls “the spiritual home for the nation,” the capital’s National Cathedral.

But his charge changed dramatically on August 23, when Virginia was hit by a magnitude 5.8 earthquake that damaged the cathedral, along with landmarks like the Washington Monument.

Alonso now faces the daunting task of repairing a traditional Gothic cathedral, which has been closed to the public since the earthquake and which will reopen Saturday, even as repairs continue.


- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Church • DC • Natural DIsaster

National Cathedral expected to reopen in time for 9/11 anniversary
National Cathedral was opened to reporters Thursday for the first time since the Virginia earthquake.
September 1st, 2011
06:27 PM ET

National Cathedral expected to reopen in time for 9/11 anniversary

By Padmananda Rama, CNN

Washington (CNN) – National Cathedral officials intend to reopen its doors in time for 9/11 prayer services, a spokesman said Thursday.

The Washington landmark has been closed since parts of its Gothic structure were damaged during last week's earthquake.

President Barack Obama is scheduled to give a keynote address at an interfaith service at the cathedral on the evening of September 11. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta will also speak during a service Friday, September 9.

"I think that if the secretary of defense and President Obama are coming, that means it's safe to be here," cathedral spokesman Richard Weinberg told members of the media during a press tour of the cathedral's nave, the first since the 5.8 magnitude earthquake on August 23.


- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Church • DC • Natural DIsaster

August 29th, 2011
01:02 PM ET

My Take: God no longer in the whirlwind
Seeing the wrath of God in natural disasters was once commonplace.
August 28th, 2011
04:56 PM ET

My Take: God no longer in the whirlwind

Editor's Note: Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion scholar and author of "God is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions that Run the World," is a regular CNN Belief Blog contributor.

By Stephen Prothero, Special to CNN

As I am riding out Hurricane Irene on Cape Cod, I cannot help thinking about how differently New Englanders in colonial times interpreted these natural disasters. While we speak of the eye of the hurricane, they were ever mindful of the eye of a God who was watching over them, and sending storms their way as punishment for their collective sins.

A fierce debate among academics about secularization theory–the view that societies will become less religious as they modernize–seems to have been won by the skeptics.

Yes, secularization of a sort is happening, but only in certain places (western Europe, most notably). And it seems to be reversible (see the United States today vs. the United States in the 1970s). So simple versions of secularization theory seem just plain wrong.

However, one place where American society, at least, plainly seems to be growing less religious is in the realm of natural disasters.


- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: Belief • Faith • Faith Now • My Take • Natural DIsaster • Science

Glenn Beck: Hurricane Irene is a 'blessing'
Glenn Beck appeared to be echoing Mormon doctrine on preparing for adversity.
August 27th, 2011
09:44 PM ET

Glenn Beck: Hurricane Irene is a 'blessing'

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

Conservative radio host Glenn Beck told listeners Friday that Hurricane Irene, the Category 1 storm that’s working its deadly way up the Eastern Seaboard, is “a blessing from God.”

Beck has long urged his fans to stockpile food in their homes in anticipation of a global food disruption. He said Irene should be construed as a divine warning for those who have ignored that advice.

Here’s Beck on his show Friday:


- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Mormonism • Natural DIsaster

Quake damage to National Cathedral
August 23rd, 2011
06:04 PM ET

Washington National Cathedral sustains 'significant damage' in earthquake

By Dan Gilgoff and Larry Lazo

Washington (CNN) – Washington’s National Cathedral sustained "significant damage" during Tuesday’s 5.8-magnitude earthquake, the church said Wednesday, and will remain closed at least through Saturday, when it had planned to host a dedication event for the capital’s new Martin Luther King Jr. memorial.

Three of the four corner spires on the church’s dramatic central tower lost their ornate capstones, or finials, during the quake, and there are cracks in some of the church’s flying buttresses.

Called the "Gloria in Excelsis,” the cathedral’s central tower is the highest point in the nation’s capital, rising to a greater height than even the Washington Monument.


- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Church • DC • Natural DIsaster

Faith and church still helping lead tornado response in Joplin
The Joplin Family Worship Center has collected more than $5 million in donations from across the country.
August 19th, 2011
03:28 PM ET

Faith and church still helping lead tornado response in Joplin

By Ninette Sosa, CNN

Joplin, Missouri (CNN) – On May 22, this blue-collar town on the edge of the Ozark Mountains was dealt the most deadly tornado since modern record-keeping on twisters began in 1950. The tornado killed 150 and injured more than 1,000.

After the disaster, the parking lot at the Joplin Family Worship Center became a donation center geared toward helping tornado victims.

The church has more than 7,000 volunteers who have served thousands of people with everything from food, to clothing to appliances. Tractor-trailers with supplies totaling more than $5-million have dropped off donations from around the country.


- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Missouri • Natural DIsaster

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.