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Supreme Court skeptical of abortion clinic buffer zones
January 16th, 2014
11:29 AM ET

Supreme Court skeptical of abortion clinic buffer zones

By Bill Mears, CNN Supreme Court Producer

(CNN) – The Supreme Court waded cautiously back into the larger debate over abortion on Wednesday.

A number of justices raised concerns about a Massachusetts state law preventing activists from crossing a 35-foot buffer zone around reproductive health clinics.

During an intense hour of oral arguments, Massachusetts officials said the issue was more about public safety and pedestrian access on local sidewalks. Anti-abortion supporters countered their free speech rights were being violated.

What the high court decides in coming months could affect a broader range of free speech arenas - over issues such as war, taxes, corporate bailouts and elections - where the location of the message is often key.

FULL STORY
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Abortion • Courts • Culture wars • Ethics • gender issues • Health • Protest • Women's issues

When Christians become a 'hated minority'
Evangelical Christians say they are the new victims of intolerance - they're persecuted for condemning homosexuality.
May 5th, 2013
06:00 AM ET

When Christians become a 'hated minority'

By John Blake, CNN

(CNN) - When Peter Sprigg speaks publicly about his opposition to homosexuality, something odd often happens.

During his speeches, people raise their hands to challenge his assertions that the Bible condemns homosexuality, but no Christians speak out to defend him.

“But after it is over, they will come over to talk to me and whisper in my ear, ‘I agree with everything you said,’" says Sprigg, a spokesman for The Family Research Council, a powerful, conservative Christian lobbying group.

We’ve heard of the “down-low” gay person who keeps his or her sexual identity secret for fear of public scorn. But Sprigg and other evangelicals say changing attitudes toward homosexuality have created a new victim: closeted Christians who believe the Bible condemns homosexuality but will not say so publicly for fear of being labeled a hateful bigot. FULL POST

- CNN Writer

Filed under: Belief • Bible • Christianity • Church • Church and state • Culture wars • Protest • Sex • Sexuality • Sports

Thousands protest in Shiite provinces in southern Iraq
Iraqi protestors gather in support of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki in the city of Karbala, southwest of Baghdad, on January 8, 2013.
January 9th, 2013
05:34 AM ET

Thousands protest in Shiite provinces in southern Iraq

By Mohammed Tawfeeq, CNN

(CNN) - Thousands of government supporters demonstrated in at least five Shiite provinces in southern Iraq on Tuesday, opposing protests by thousands of people in mainly Sunni provinces that have gone on for more than two weeks.

The demonstrations highlight the country's sectarian tensions.

FULL STORY
- A. Hawkins

Filed under: Iraq • Islam • Protest

My Take: Blood on Chinese hands in Tibetan self-immolations
Tibetans at a protest in Taipei in 2011 display portraits of people who killed themselves by self-immolation.
January 2nd, 2013
07:00 AM ET

My Take: Blood on Chinese hands in Tibetan self-immolations

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

(CNN) –China Daily, an English-language newspaper and a mouthpiece of the Chinese government,  last week published an article called “Western Voices Question Tibetan Self-Immolation Acts.”

The first of the voices quoted was mine—for a Belief Blog piece I wrote last summer criticizing the Dalai Lama for averting his gaze from the spate of self-immolations protesting Chinese rule in Tibet. "If the Dalai Lama were to speak out unequivocally against these deaths, they would surely stop. So in a very real sense, their blood is on his hands," I wrote in a passage quoted in the Chinese Daily piece.

In my post, I wrote of an “epidemic of self-immolations,” noting that from mid-March to mid-July 2011 more than 40 Tibetans had set themselves on fire to protest the Chinese occupation of Tibet. Since then, the pace of these protests has accelerated. According to the International Campaign for Tibet, 94 Tibetans have set themselves on fire since March 2011, and the pace in November was nearly one a day.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: Asia • Buddhism • China • Dalai Lama • Death • Ethics • My Take • Politics • Protest • Religious liberty • Tibet • Tibet • Violence

Now 2 bounties on producer of anti-Islamic film
A prominent Pakistani is offering a six-figure bounty to anyone who kills the man who produced "Innocence of Muslims."
October 2nd, 2012
05:54 AM ET

Now 2 bounties on producer of anti-Islamic film

By Nasir Habib

Islamabad, Pakistan (CNN) - For the second time in less than two weeks, a prominent Pakistani is offering a six-figure bounty to anyone who kills the man who produced "Innocence of Muslims," a film that has offended many Muslims throughout the world.

Former Pakistani lawmaker Ikramullah Shahid told demonstrators protesting the movie in Peshawar on Monday that he'd pay $200,000 to anyone who kills the filmmaker, according to Siraj Ul Haq, a senior leader of the religious group that organized the rally.

FULL STORY
- A. Hawkins

Filed under: Islam • Pakistan • Protest

My Take: Dalai Lama should condemn Tibetan self-immolations
Tibetans at a protest in Taipei in 2011 display portraits of people who killed themselves by self-immolation.
July 12th, 2012
09:28 AM ET

My Take: Dalai Lama should condemn Tibetan self-immolations

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 the Vietnamese monk Thich Quang Duc immolated himself in Saigon in 1963 to protest the persecution of Buddhists by the South Vietnamese government of Ngo Dinh Diem, the world took notice. Malcolm Browne’s photograph of the monk becoming a martyr won the Pulitzer Prize, and Diem's Roman Catholic regime fell before the year’s end.

Today, Tibet is witnessing an epidemic of self-immolations. In fact, since March 16, 2011, more than 40 Tibetans have followed Thich Quang Duc’s lead, setting themselves on fire to protest the Chinese occupation of Tibet.

Westerners react with revulsion to sati, the Hindu practice of widow-burning outlawed by the British in 1829, and of course to Islamist suicide bombers. The New Atheists are right to protest all this killing in the name of God (or the Buddha) the way believers both prompt violence and justify it in the name of some higher good.

So where are the protests against these Tibetan protesters?

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: Asia • Buddhism • China • Dalai Lama • Death • Ethics • My Take • Opinion • Politics • Protest • Tibet • Tibet • Violence

Dean of St Paul's Cathedral quits over protests
The Dean of St Paul's Cathedral, the Right Reverend Graeme Knowles, addresses 'Occupy London' activists in the City of London.
October 31st, 2011
02:11 PM ET

Dean of St Paul's Cathedral quits over protests

By Bryony Jones, CNN

London (CNN) - The Dean of London's St Paul's Cathedral has resigned amid criticism of his handling of a large "Occupy" protest taking place on the church's doorstep.

The Right Reverend Graeme Knowles announced his decision on Monday, saying his position was "becoming untenable" following weeks of debate over the demonstrations.

St Paul's has come under fire after it said it would take legal action to try to remove around 200 tents from the square outside its main entrance.

Read the full story on dean's resignation over protests

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Anglican • Britain • Faith Now • Protest

My Take: Occupy Wall Street looks like church to me
Protest Chaplains Robin Lutjohann, left, and Michael Zahniser take part in an Occupy Boston march September 30.
October 7th, 2011
08:00 AM ET

My Take: Occupy Wall Street looks like church to me

Editor's note: Marisa Egerstrom is a Ph.D. candidate studying American religious history at Harvard University. As a member of the Boston-based group Protest Chaplains, she has been involved in the Occupy Wall Street protests in New York and Boston. She is an Episcopalian.

By Marisa Egerstrom, Special to CNN

In the movement that's making campgrounds out of city squares across America, it might seem there's little religion happening. But Occupy Wall Street, and its local offshoots springing up everywhere from Boston to L.A., has described itself more clearly in the language of “soul” than in the language of federal financial regulation policy.

That’s because, at its heart, the Occupy movement is about creating a democratic society in which everyone matters, there is dignity in working together across differences, and there is enough for everyone. Is this vision tantamount to socialism? No. Once upon a time, we called this “American.”

It also sounds pretty Christian to me. What the early Apostles called “The Way” was a vision for peaceful living that built on Christ’s teaching, life, death and resurrection. The Way repudiates the pursuit of individual wealth in favor of building communities that care for the marginalized, the desperate and the powerless. Jesus demonstrated this by healing lepers and dining with prostitutes and tax collectors.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Church • Culture wars • My Take • Opinion • Protest

Preachers confront 'last taboo': Condemning greed amid Great Recession
The nation is being savaged by the Great Recession, but many pastors are afraid to talk about its causes, some say.
October 1st, 2011
10:00 PM ET

Preachers confront 'last taboo': Condemning greed amid Great Recession

By John Blake, CNN

(CNN) – Bishop Harry Jackson is a former college middle linebacker who can still hit hard.

He once described same-sex marriage as a satanic plot to destroy the family, called on Republicans to get “political Viagra” and said African-Americans needed to abandon what he called the Gospel of Victimization.

Jackson is not shy about stirring up controversy, but he stops short when it comes to preaching about greed. The Maryland bishop said he encourages his congregation to get through the Great Recession by saving and sharing. But he doesn’t want to alienate well-off members by talking about what’s behind the nation’s economic woes.

"I've got to watch it," said Jackson, pastor at Hope Christian Church in Beltsville, Maryland. "I could get into some big teaching on greed, but the reality is that a lot of that teaching may wind up creating anti-economic-growth and anti-capitalism concepts (in people’s minds). ... I always talk about personal responsibility so we don't get into the blame game."

The Great Recession is more than an economic crisis. It has become a spiritual dilemma for some of the nation’s pastors and their parishioners, religious leaders say.

FULL POST

- CNN Writer

Filed under: Belief • Bible • Catholic Church • Charity • Christianity • Church • Church and state • Culture wars • Economy • Pastors • Politics • Poverty • Protest • Work

March 29th, 2011
11:44 AM ET

Priests, nun sentenced to prison for nuclear weapons protest

From CNN Seattle affiliate KOMO

Two Jesuit priests, a nun, a retired teacher and a social worker who cut through fences at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor over a year ago to protest nuclear weapons were each sentenced to prison Monday.

Jesuit priest Stephen Kelly, 61, of Oakland, Calif. and retired teacher Susan Crane, 67, of Baltimore, were given 15-month sentences, while social worker Lynne Greenwald, 61, of Tacoma, was given a 6-month prison sentence.

The judge gave lighter sentences to the two protesters who were over 80 years old. Jesuit priest Bill Bichsel, 82, of Tacoma, was sentenced to three months in prison and three months of home monitoring, while sister Anne Montgomery, 84, of Redwood City, Calif, was sentenced to two months in prison and four months home electronic monitoring.

Read the full story about the sentencing of the Washington State protesters at KOMOnews.com
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Protest

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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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