May 23rd, 2013
06:16 PM ET
Editor's Note: John Stemberger is an Eagle Scout and president of On My Honor, a coalition of concerned parents, Scout Leaders, Scouting donors, Eagle Scouts and others affiliated with the Boy Scouts of America who are united in their support of Scouting’s timeless values and their opposition to open homosexuality in the Scouts. Find more information at www.OnMyHonor.net.
By John Stemberger, Special to CNN
(CNN)– On Thursday, delegates to the Boy Scouts of America’s national conference met in Grapevine, Texas, to determine the fate of one of the most beloved organizations in this country’s history. This organization that has stood the test of time will probably be destroyed now that they have decided to admit openly gay boys as Scouts.
Sex and politics have no place in the Boy Scouts, and allowing open homosexuality will lead to myriad bad consequences.
May 22nd, 2013
08:34 AM ET
Editor's Note: The Rev. Ian Punnett is the author of "How to Pray When You’re Pissed at God (Or Anyone Else For That Matter)" and a veteran talk show host. He has been married for 28 years and is the father of two college age boys.
By Ian Punnett, Special to CNN
(CNN) – “God never gives us more than we can handle.”
God, have I learned to hate that cliche.
As a clergy person, as a hospital chaplain intern and as a father, I have come to believe that, at best, that platitude is a classic example of meaningless bumper-sticker theology. It's easily said and only makes sense when it goes by you so fast you don’t have time to think about it.
At worst, however, claiming that God scales a tragedy up or down depending on our ability to handle loss is as heartless as it is thoughtless.
May 11th, 2013
10:00 PM ET
Editor’s note: Justin Lee is the Executive Director of the Gay Christian Network and author of Torn: Rescuing the Gospel from the Gays-vs.-Christians Debate.
By Justin Lee, Special to CNN
(CNN)–In high school, I was a Christian know-it-all.
My nickname was "God boy," and I was known for regularly preaching at my friends about social issues of the day. I dismissed their objections - and accusations of homophobia - as intolerance for my faith.
"I'm just telling you what God's Word says," I'd argue.
Years later I realized my mistake. What my peers most objected to wasn't my beliefs - it was my condescending attitude. I debated and preached when I should have listened. I thought that stating my position loudly and unyieldingly was a sign of strength. In the process, I alienated my friends.
I'm still an evangelical Christian, but one thing is now crystal clear to me. American evangelicals' bad reputation isn't just because of what we believe. It's mostly because of how we behave.
April 21st, 2013
08:36 PM ET
Editor's note: Farhana Khera is the president and executive director of Muslim Advocates, a national legal advocacy organization dedicated to promoting freedom, justice and equality for all, regardless of faith.
By Farhana Khera, Special to CNN
(CNN) – Like so many Americans across the country, I was shocked when I heard of the attacks at the Boston Marathon. A part of me immediately traveled back to when I was cheering runners myself as a student at Wellesley College, the midpoint for the marathon, a time when such dangers as bombings never crossed our minds.
Boston is an indelible part in the personal history and identity of those who have lived or attended school in the city. That someone had detonated bombs at an event that symbolized unity in a place known for its rich diversity and as a birthplace of our nation's freedom was heartbreaking.FULL COMMENTARY
April 21st, 2013
01:53 PM ET
Editor's note: CNN Contributor Bob Greene is a best-selling author whose 25 books include "Late Edition: A Love Story"; "Duty: A Father, His Son, and the Man Who Won the War"; and "Once Upon a Town: The Miracle of the North Platte Canteen."
By Bob Greene, CNN Contributor
(CNN) – Devoted fans.
Seldom have those words sounded quite so apt.
They describe the people who enjoyed the singing of George Beverly Shea, who died last week at the age of 104. The name may not be instantly recognizable to some Americans, but that was no fault of his. He accomplished something very few vocalists can claim: During his career, he sang in front of an estimated 200 million people in live performance.
How could this be?FULL COMMENTARY
April 20th, 2013
05:14 PM ET
Editor's note: Danielle Elizabeth Tumminio is an ordained Episcopal Church priest and author of "God and Harry Potter at Yale: Teaching Faith and Fantasy Fiction in an Ivy League Classroom."
By Danielle Elizabeth Tumminio, Special to CNN
Boston (CNN) — The day after the Boston Marathon bombings, the Belief Blog published my thoughts on what it meant to be a Bostonian and person of faith in the aftermath of such horrific violence. I described what I planned to preach to my congregation Sunday, that even in the face of darkness and evil, light will prevail.
That was before the manhunt in Watertown, where my husband and I have lived for three years. In the dark of night, I woke up to banging noises and sirens followed by phone calls to stay inside.
From approximately 5 a.m. onward, we heard horns or helicopters every couple of minutes. We questioned our own safety, and when we peeked through the blinds outside, it looked like all our neighbors had deserted the town, though we knew they were holed up in their apartments, too. FULL POST
April 10th, 2013
06:45 AM ET
Editor's Note: The Rt. Rev. Edward J. Konieczny is bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Oklahoma. He was previously a police officer in Southern California.
By Edward J. Konieczny, Special to CNN
(CNN) — Both sides of the gun control debate think I’m on their side. I am the bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Oklahoma, a believer in Jesus Christ and for more than 18 years before entering seminary, I was a police officer.
While I try to preach God’s love and mercy, I also have a concealed carry permit and sometimes take my gun on long drives through the isolated areas of my diocese.
I live with the knowledge that I share responsibility for the taking of a human life in the line of duty and that a good friend on the force was shot and killed after we’d swapped shifts. And I wouldn’t be writing this article if the rifle that was pointed at my head one night by a man in the grip of a mental illness hadn’t failed to fire.
April 8th, 2013
12:18 PM ET
Editor’s Note: Rebekah Lyons is the author of "Freefall to Fly: A Breathtaking Journey Toward a Life of Meaning." She writes on womanhood, purpose and mental health at RebekahLyons.com. Follow her on Twitter @rebekahlyons.
By Rebekah Lyons, Special to CNN
(CNN)– We grieve. Our stomachs turn as the shock settles in. Many of us were raised in pews where answers were given freely. But this past weekend proved otherwise. If we are honest, we are shaken by the frailty of our faith.
As the news spread on Saturday, Christians around the world were gripped by the suicide of 27-year-old Matthew Warren, son of Rick Warren, a beloved megachurch pastor and best-selling author of "The Purpose Driven Life." A son’s life was fraught with mental illness from his earliest years. A father bravely addressed this struggle head-on in a letter to church staff stating, "only those closest to him knew that he struggled with mental illness, dark holes of depression and even suicidal thoughts."
Mental illness is a category so vast, with varying degrees so complex, we collectively avoid the topic until it creeps into our homes and afflicts those we love most. But today, we're forced to face something that’s become so rampant, it can no longer be ignored.
April 3rd, 2013
06:00 AM ET
Editor's Note: Nina Shea is the director of the Center for Religious Freedom at the Hudson Institute and one of the authors of "Persecuted: the Global Assault on Christians."
By Nina Shea, Special to CNN
(CNN)–In September 2005, a middle-aged woman was taken by state security officials from her home in North Korea’s North Pyongan Province. She was put under arrest and taken to a local farm, where government officials had assembled in the threshing area to carry out her punishment. The sole civilian witness eventually fled to South Korea and reported what unfolded next to the Database Center for North Korean Human Rights. As he told the private human rights group, “Guards tied her head, her chest, and her legs to a post, and shot her dead.” He added, “I was curious why she was to be shot. Somebody told me she had kept a Bible at her home.”
Merely having the Christian Scriptures, which likely were smuggled across the border from China, put the unknown woman under suspicion of converting to Christianity, and perhaps even sharing her new faith with others. Our research, drawn from United Nations studies, U.S. governmental sources, newspaper accounts and documentation from churches, think tanks and human rights groups, found that in North Korea, Iran, Saudi Arabia and elsewhere, Christian conversion is treated as a capital crime or otherwise severely punished.
The right of conversion, as long as it is not forced, is an integral part of the fundamental human right to religious freedom. Yet, as we document in our new book, "Persecuted," in many countries, in various parts of the world, and stemming from various motives, religious conversion draws horrific reprisals.
March 6th, 2013
07:14 AM ET
Editor's note: Cardinal Theodore McCarrick is the Archbishop Emeritus of Washington, D.C. He participated in the 2005 election of Pope Benedict XVI. Watch Cardinal McCarrick on The Situation Room today at 6 p.m. ET.
By Theodore Edgar McCarrick, Special to CNN
(CNN) - The world is waiting on the next pope in more ways than one.
Everyone, including the College of Cardinals, is wondering who the next Bishop of Rome and leader of the world's billion Catholics will be. But the world is waiting in another, more urgent sense, because the pope isn't just a spiritual leader to Catholics. His work has a global dimension.
As has been true in the past, the next pope will have to provide a moral voice to a range of challenges.
An estimated 1.7 billion people live without adequate health care or decent living conditions and more than 1.3 billion live below the measure of extreme poverty. Some 870 million people are chronically malnourished. Jesus identified himself with the poor and the marginalized and all Christians have a responsibility to them. But the pope, as Servant of the Servants of God and Vicar of Christ on Earth, bears a special burden.FULL STORY
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.