December 17th, 2012
01:16 PM ET
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
Presidents wear a lot of hats. They serve as commanders in chief. They nominate Supreme Court justices. They veto congressional legislation. Increasingly, they are also coming to serve as our pastors in chief.
In his remarks Sunday night at an interfaith service at in Newtown, Connecticut, President Barack Obama vowed to use “whatever power” he has to prevent more mass shootings, and he all but promised to push for stricter gun control laws in the next U.S. Congress. But policy was not top of mind yesterday for either the president or a grieving nation.
December 16th, 2012
09:56 AM ET
(CNN) - Responding to the deadly mass shooting Friday in Newtown, Connecticut, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee said new laws regulating guns won't deter such shootings, linking a lack of religious discussion in the classroom to increased violence in schools.
"We ask why there's violence in our school but we've systematically removed God from our schools," Huckabee said on Fox News. "Should we be so surprised that schools have become such a place of carnage? Because we've made it a place where we don't want to talk about eternity, life, what responsibility means, accountability."
"That we're not just gonna have to be accountable to the police if they catch us but one day we stand before a holy God in judgment. If we don't believe that, then we don't fear that," he said.
"People are going to want to pass new laws," Huckabee continued. "This is a heart issue ... laws don't change this kind of thing."FULL STORY
October 21st, 2012
06:59 AM ET
By John Blake, CNN
President Barack Obama was sharing a pulpit one day with a conservative Christian leader when a revealing exchange took place.
Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback, a conservative Christian who has taken public stands against abortion and same-sex marriage, had joined Obama for an AIDS summit. They were speaking before a conservative megachurch filled with white evangelicals.
When Brownback rose to speak, he joked that he had joined Obama earlier at an NAACP meeting where Obama was treated like Elvis and he was virtually ignored. Turning to Obama, a smiling Brownback said, “Welcome to my house!”
The audience exploded with laughter and applause. Obama rose, walked before the congregation and then declared:
“There is one thing I have to say, Sam. This is my house, too. This is God’s house.”
Historians may remember Obama as the nation’s first black president, but he’s also a religious pioneer. He’s not only changed people’s perception of who can be president, some scholars and pastors say, but he’s also expanding the definition of who can be a Christian by challenging the religious right’s domination of the national stage.
April 30th, 2012
12:24 PM ET
By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor
(CNN) - Columnist and gay-rights advocate Dan Savage is standing by his comment that “we can learn to ignore the bulls**t in the Bible about gay people” at a recent conference for high school students, a line that prompted some to walk out and spurred intense online debate.
In a blog post on Sunday, Savage wrote that his remark at a conference for the Journalism Education Association and the National Scholastic Press Association was "being spun as an attack on Christianity. Which is bullshhh… which is untrue.”
“I was not attacking the faith in which I was raised," Savage wrote. "I was attacking the argument that gay people must be discriminated against — and anti-bullying programs that address anti-gay bullying should be blocked (or exceptions should be made for bullying 'motivated by faith') — because it says right there in the Bible that being gay is wrong.”
April 3rd, 2012
12:52 PM ET
By Brian Vitagliano, CNN
New York (CNN) – One week after New York's Department of Education drew controversy with a request to ban 50 words and references from the city's standardized tests – including “dinosaur,” “birthday” and "religion" – the department announced Tuesday that it is abandoning the plan.
"After reconsidering our message to test publishers and the reaction from parents, we will revise our guidance and eliminate the list of words to avoid on tests,” New York Chief Academic Officer Shael Polakow-Suransky said in a statement.
“We will continue to advise companies to be sensitive to student backgrounds and avoid unnecessary distractions that could invalidate test scores and give an inaccurate assessment of how students are doing," the statement continued.
April 2nd, 2012
10:56 AM ET
By Dan Merica, CNN
Washington (CNN) – Anger boiled over in many of the comments on our recent post about the New York City Department of Education aiming to ban “loaded words,” including “dinosaur” and “birthdays” from standardized school tests, many of them apparently over religious sensitivities:
March 9th, 2012
05:00 AM ET
By John Blake, CNN
Raw, gritty, with some foul language - not the typical description of a Christian film. Yet that’s how some are describing the upcoming movie “Blue Like Jazz.”
The film, based on a bestselling coming-of-age Christian memoir of the same name, is scheduled to premiere Saturday at the South by Southwest Film Festival in Austin, Texas.
“Blue Like Jazz” follows a pious, 19-year-old sophomore at a Texas college who decides to flee his conservative religious upbringing by transferring to one of the most liberal college campuses in America.
December 16th, 2011
01:23 PM ET
(CNN) – Four student athletes were suspended after encouraging several others to do the 'Tebow' prayer pose, blocking a hallway in school.
Read more of our coverage of the prayer pose here: 'Tebowing' prayer stirs debate, but quarterback is OK with it
June 6th, 2011
04:07 PM ET
(CNN) - With the backing of a federal appeals court, a Texas student prayed from the podium of her high school graduation on Saturday.
"Whether you would like to join me or not, feel free to do as you see best," Angela Hildenbrand said shortly before she prayed at the Medina Valley High School graduation in Castroville, according to CNN San Antonio affiliate KSAT.
“God, I thank you for the support of the entire community through this case hearing," she said.
April 15th, 2011
05:08 PM ET
By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor
The scene played out like many other Seders at Jewish campus centers, but in Provo, Utah, there was a twist. This traditional Passover celebration was hosted by Brigham Young University.
As Gabrielle Birkner writes in The Jewish Daily Forward, about 160 people packed into a hall at the Mormon college a few Fridays ago to dip the bitter herbs in salt water and remember the tears shed when the Israelites fled Egypt to escape slavery.
According to the university, Birkner reports, only three Jews are enrolled there; 99% of the students identify as Mormon.
The premier college of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is hosting seven Seders this spring, Birkner writes. FULL POST
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.