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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

February 24th, 2014
08:20 AM ET

Does Phil Robertson get the Bible wrong?
Phil Robertson of A&E's "Duck Dynasty" has been suspended for his comments on homosexuality.
December 20th, 2013
11:23 AM ET

Does Phil Robertson get the Bible wrong?

By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

(CNN) – The Robertson family of "Duck Dynasty" fame has rallied around its patriarch, saying his controversial comments on homosexuality are "grounded in the teachings of the Bible." But Scripture is fiercely contested ground, and some experts say Phil Robertson misinterprets a key Bible verse.

A&E, the network that broadcasts the hugely popular "Duck Dynasty" show, suspended Robertson for a now infamous interview with GQ magazine. In the article, Robertson, who became a born-again Christian in the 1970s after a prodigal youth, is asked to define "sin."

Here's what Robertson says: “Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men."

Robertson, 67, then paraphrases a Bible passage from the New Testament: “Don’t be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers they won’t inherit the kingdom of God.”

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Belief • Bible • Christianity • Church • Culture wars • Discrimination • Ethics • evangelicals • Faith • Faith Now • Gay marriage • Gay rights • gender issues • Prejudice • Same-sex marriage • Sexuality

Poll: American Catholics agree with pope about culture wars
October 4th, 2013
10:25 AM ET

Poll: American Catholics agree with pope about culture wars

By Dan Merica, CNN

Washington (CNN) - American Catholics overwhelmingly support newly installed Pope Francis, according to a poll released Friday, and agree with his statements that the church should focus less on contentious social issues.

Nearly seven in 10 American Catholics say the church has become too focused on same-sex marriage, abortion, and contraceptives, according to a Quinnipiac University national poll released Friday.

What's more, 60% of American Catholics support same-sex marriage, a number that continues to be larger than support from all American adults. Thirty-one percent of American Catholics said they do not support same-sex marriage.

This number is consistent with other polls, like a Public Religion Research Institute poll in 2012 that found 59% of American Catholics support same-sex marriage.

FULL POST

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Abortion • Polls • Pope Francis • Same-sex marriage

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

Franklin Graham: IRS targeted ministries
"I do not believe the IRS audits of our two organizations last year is a coincidence," Franklin Graham wrote to the president.
May 15th, 2013
09:50 AM ET

Franklin Graham: IRS targeted ministries

By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Editor

(CNN) – Franklin Graham, one of the country's most prominent evangelicals, says the targeting of conservative groups by the Internal Revenue Service included two of his ministries.

"I am bringing this to your attention because I believe that someone in the administration was targeting and attempting to intimidate us," Graham wrote in a letter Tuesday to President Barack Obama. The evangelical leader is the son of famed evangelist Billy Graham.

Graham said the IRS contacted the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, a North Carolina-based ministry, after it ran newspaper ads in that state in April encouraging support for an amendment against same-sex marriage. The group also bought newspaper ads in November encouraging Christians to vote for candidates who oppose same-sex marriage, support Israel and "base their decisions on biblical principles."

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Ads • Barack Obama • Billy Graham • Evangelical • Same-sex marriage

May 2nd, 2013
12:52 PM ET

Ex-NFL player's support for gay NBA player apparently costs him church appearance

By Dan Merica, CNN

Washington (CNN) – LeRoy Butler, a former safety for the Green Bay Packers, is one of many professional athletes to tweet support for Jason Collins, the NBA player who came out as gay this week.

“Congrats to Jason Collins,” Butler tweeted April 29, the day Collins came out in a Sports Illustrated cover story.

But Butler says the four-word tweet cost him a speaking appearance at a Wisconsin church.

He was scheduled to speak at the church (whose name he has not revealed) about bullying and his new book, "The LeRoy Butler Story: From Wheelchair to the Lambeau Leap." That was until the church, according to Butler, told him he was no longer welcome because of his tweet in support of Collins.

"The pastor called me and that's when we got into the old, the whole religion thing about gay people and things of that nature and the conversation just went back and forth for us a couple of minutes," Butler told Anderson Cooper on Thursday.

FULL POST

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Belief • Faith Now • Same-sex marriage

No Communion for same-sex marriage supporters? Archdiocese reframes comments
Archbishop of Detroit Allen Vigneron gives communion to a parishioner.
April 8th, 2013
06:14 PM ET

No Communion for same-sex marriage supporters? Archdiocese reframes comments

By Dan Merica, CNN

Washington (CNN) – Are Catholics who support same-sex marriage and take Communion like people who commit perjury?

That was the stance taken by Detroit's archbishop on Sunday, after an academic with ties to the church wrote that Catholics in favor of gay marriage should skip Communion.

In Sunday's Detroit Free Press, the archbishop said Catholics who both support same-sex marriage and take Communion would "logically bring shame for a double-dealing that is not unlike perjury."

On Monday, though, the Archdiocese of Detroit tried to reframe Archbishop Allen Vigneron's comments.

“For a Catholic to receive Holy Communion and still deny the revelation Christ entrusted to the church is to try to say two contradictory things at once: 'I believe the church offers the saving truth of Jesus, and I reject what the church teaches,’ ” Vigneron told the paper. “In effect, they would contradict themselves.”

On Monday, the archdiocese looked to step back and add context to the statement.

“The archbishop's focal point here is not ‘gay marriage’; it is a Catholic’s reception of Holy Communion,” Joe Kohn, the archdiocese spokesman, wrote in an e-mail to CNN. “If a Catholic publicly opposes the church on a serious matter of the church’s teaching, any serious matter - for example, whether it be a rejection of the divinity of Christ, racist beliefs, support for abortion or support for redefining marriage - that would contradict the public affirmation they would make of the church's beliefs by receiving Communion.”

FULL POST

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Belief • Bishops • Catholic Church • Faith Now • Politics • Same-sex marriage

The pope's mixed legacy with Latino Catholics
Pope Benedict alienated Latino Catholics because of his fierce opposition to a popular movement in Latin America, scholars say.
February 15th, 2013
11:13 AM ET

The pope's mixed legacy with Latino Catholics

By John Blake, CNN

They are the largest group in the Roman Catholic Church, and the next pope might even come from their midst. Yet few have heard how Latino Catholics regard the legacy of Pope Benedict XVI.

For many Latino Catholics, Benedict’s legacy is mixed. They will forever tie him to his fierce opposition to liberation theology, a controversial movement that sought to improve the impoverished lives of Latinos living under oppressive governments.

Benedict, who resigned Monday citing his advancing age, was one of the church’s most visible opponents of liberation theology, a movement that began in Latin America in the 1960s. It mingled Marxist critiques of poverty with an insistence that the church display a “preferential option” for the poor.

Benedict’s view created more distance between priests and the poor people they served, says Jennifer Hughes, a Catholic Church scholar at the University of California, Riverside.

FULL POST

- CNN Writer

Filed under: Bishops • Catholic Church • Christianity • Church • Mass • Pope • Pope Benedict XVI • Pope John Paul II • Same-sex marriage • South America • Vatican

After gay marriage successes, activists look to build on new faith outreach techniques
Faith-based activists in Minnesota helped defeat a proposed gay marriage ban there this month.
November 30th, 2012
06:00 AM ET

After gay marriage successes, activists look to build on new faith outreach techniques

By Dan Merica, CNN

(CNN) – It may not sound very powerful, but gay rights activist Debra Peevey said that a two-inch green button played a major role in convincing voters to legalize gay marriage this month in her home state of Washington.

“Another Person of Faith Approves R. 74,” said the button, which refers to the ballot initiative that wound up legalizing gay marriage in Washington.

FULL POST

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Faith Now • Politics • Same-sex marriage • Sexuality • 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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