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World Cup final: It's Pope versus Pope
Pope Francis looks pretty confident, don't ya think?
July 9th, 2014
12:51 PM ET

World Cup final: It's Pope versus Pope

By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Editor

(CNN)– Will the World Cup final become a "Holy War"?

At the very least, Sunday's match could put millions of Catholics - not to mention Vatican employees - in a bit of a bind.

Will they root for Argentina, the homeland of Pope Francis, who is known to be an ardent soccer aficionado? Or will they back Germany, the native country of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, also a football fan?

And what about the Big Referee Upstairs? Whose prayers will he heed when the game is on the line?

Germany reached the final match on Tuesday by blowing out Brazil, the host country. Argentina beat the Netherlands on Wednesday afternoon.

Of course, both Popes (not to mention God) have more important things on their minds. But the pontiffs have also said that sports can be more than fun and games.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Argentina • Brazil • Catholic Church • Church and state • Pope Benedict XVI • Pope Francis • Social media • Sports • Vatican

The 8 best tweets about Tim Howard and Jesus
Tim Howard's saving power has the Twitter masses crying for more.
July 2nd, 2014
09:07 AM ET

The 8 best tweets about Tim Howard and Jesus

By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Editor

(CNN) – Yeah, but can he walk on water?

After Team USA goalie Tim Howard's divine performance in Tuesday's World Cup match against Belgium, some folks - ok, a lot of folks - were comparing the devout Christian's saving power to Jesus.

There's even a Twitter account called simply, @TimHowardJesus

Here are some top tweets about the Man in Goal and the Man from Galilee. If you see any good ones, please send them to me @BurkeCNN.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Jesus • Social media • Sports

April 27th, 2014
07:46 AM ET

Punch thy neighbor? 'Fight church' doesn't turn the other cheek

Opinion by Paul Burress, Special to CNN

(CNN)– As I sat backstage, I could hear the sound of thousands cheering as they waited for me to enter the ring.

“Lord put your covering over me,” I prayed in a whisper. “Use me as a witness. Use me to be a billboard for you."

I’m a pastor by trade, and the next morning I was set to preach the Easter sermon.

But on that night, I was preparing for something else entirely. This wasn’t the normal, churchgoing crowd.

I was about to enter the cage and compete in a mixed martial arts bout.

When I tell people I’m a pastor and a mixed martial arts fighter, I usually get some puzzled looks.

“How can you preach the Word of God participate in such brutal activity?” people ask. “Didn’t Jesus teach us to love one another?”

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Church • Faith • Movies • Opinion • Sports • Violence

A father’s dilemma: Is watching football immoral?
Two Carolina Panthers tackle Tennessee Titans' Justin McCareins. Injuries from hits like these have caused some to question the morality of watching football.
February 1st, 2014
08:56 PM ET

A father’s dilemma: Is watching football immoral?

Opinion by Patton Dodd, special to CNN

(CNN) - Three weeks ago, I sat down with my family to root for the Denver Broncos against the San Diego Chargers in the second round of the NFL playoffs. The Broncos were winning and it was all going swimmingly - until Henry, my 7-year-old son, started with the questions:

"Dad, have you decided that it's OK to watch football?"

"Dad, didn't you say were you worried about all the injured players?"

"Dad? What percentage of you thinks it's OK to watch football, and what percentage of you thinks it's wrong?"

Little kid wouldn't shut up.

It was our first football game since late October, when, after two years of wrestling with my conscience, I had decided to stop watching the sport I've loved all my life.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Health • Opinion • Sports • Violence

Sports stars you didn't know were religious
January 31st, 2014
05:49 PM ET

For some fans, Super Bowl has supernatural twists

By Daniel Burke, Belief Blog Co-editor

(CNN) - Before he watches his beloved Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl this Sunday, Kyle Herman has some important rituals to perform.

Just as he has for years, in the morning he will pick out the Broncos jersey to wear for the game. He will slip on his high-school ring, refashioned in Broncos blue and orange, and surround his television with team paraphernalia, from signed footballs to a pillow.

Herman has several Broncos jerseys, and if a certain player is stinking up the field, the 21-year-old from Beaver Falls, Wisconsin, will put on that player's jersey. You know, to give them a little more mojo.

“I don’t know why,” he says with a loud laugh, “but I feel like it really works for some reason.”

Herman may think his rituals are silly, but he’s far from alone in his sports superstitions.

According to a poll released in January by the Public Religion Research Institute, about half of all Americans believe that some element of the supernatural plays a role in sporting events.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Atheism • Belief • Entertainment • Polls • Prayer • Sports

The rabbis vs. the Redskins: A religious case against offensive nicknames
Some religious leaders say that the Washington Redskins should drop their nickname.
November 6th, 2013
12:01 PM ET

The rabbis vs. the Redskins: A religious case against offensive nicknames

Opinion by Rabbi Aaron Frank and Rabbi Shmuel Herzfeld, Special to CNN

(CNN) - Should religious leaders care about a football team’s name? We believe the answer is yes.

Religious leaders have a mandate to inspire their communities to come closer to God. Sometimes this requires speaking out about even something as secular as a football team’s name.

We are so concerned about the name of Washington's National Football League team that we are encouraging our synagogues and our schools to become Redskins-free zones.

Synagogues and religious schools are places where we strive toward a broader awareness of the godly nature of all humanity. That's why the Redskins name has no place in our halls and walls.

The name represents a derogatory term and recalls a brutal history of genocide and torture - a past of racist dehumanization inflicted upon the American Indians of the United States.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Bible • Discrimination • Ethics • Judaism • Sports

What baseball umpires can learn from the Vatican
Allen Craig of the St. Louis Cardinals gets tripped up by Will Middlebrooks of the Boston Red Sox during the 2013 World Series.
October 29th, 2013
11:37 AM ET

What baseball umpires can learn from the Vatican

Opinion by Stephen Prothero, Special to CNN

(CNN) - This is a post about the instantly infamous “obstruction” call that ended Game 3 of the World Series between the Boston Red Sox and the St. Louis Cardinals on Saturday.  But it starts with an epiphany I had years ago about Vatican law.

This epiphany came in the form of a 2005 op-ed on gay Catholic priests, written by John Allen of the National Catholic Reporter.

As a long-time observer of all things Vatican, Allen was trying to explain to American readers why there will always be gay priests. In so doing, he drew a sharp distinction between Italian law (which holds sway in the Vatican) and Anglo-Saxon law (which prevails in the United States).

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: Catholic Church • Sports • Vatican

Athletes charged with murder
August 7th, 2013
02:58 PM ET

The seven deadly sins of sports

Opinion by Larry Alex Taunton, special to CNN

(CNN) - Being a sports fan these days almost requires a law degree. What with all the legal troubles of athletes, who can keep up?

Lawyers certainly have the edge in the fantasy leagues. The rest of us keep one on retainer.

Still, even they might have some difficulty predicting outcomes. Will the Yankees' Alex Rodriguez actually be suspended? Will Riley Cooper be cut from the Philadelphia Eagles? Will Johnny Manziel lose his NCAA eligibility?

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Celebrity • Crime • Opinion • Sports • United States

Fairway to Heaven: God's golfers
Bubba Watson, Webb Simpson and their caddies pray during the 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah, Illinois. They were later met by their wives, who also joined in the huddle.
June 3rd, 2013
11:54 AM ET

Fairway to Heaven: God's golfers

(CNN) Forget hitting the greens - it's the fairway to heaven which is on the minds of some of the world's top golfers.

From Augusta's Amen Corner to an Amen on every corner, these golfers practice what they preach.

Players from across the PGA Tour meet regularly at a Bible group, whose members include high-profile stars such as major champions Bubba Watson, Webb Simpson and Stewart Cink.

Each week, the group will study one particular verse, with some players such as Kevin Streelman taking that particular scripture and getting it printed onto a golf club.

For Streelman, who won his first big PGA Tour tournament at the Tampa Bay Challenge in March, his reawakening has come following a period of struggle in his personal life.

"I would lie if I said that I was previously that way," he told CNN's Living Golf.

FULL STORY 

- CNN

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Church • Sports • United States

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

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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 with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.

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