By Alan Duke, CNN
Los Angeles (CNN) - When a film's credits list "prayer coordinator" before the hair/makeup and wardrobe teams, you might guess it is a faith-based production.
"Not Today," which premieres on 50 screens in 20 U.S. cities this weekend, was not funded by Hollywood investors, but with $1.6 million from the collection plate at Friends Church in Yorba Linda, California.
Still, the church couldn't avoid the controversies that seem routine in Hollywood productions — including a lawsuit over pay.
The idea for the film began during a trip to India where the church began building schools for the Dalit class - considered the lowest in India's caste system - in 2002. It's a project that fits Friends Church's Quaker tradition, said Creative Arts Pastor Brent Martz. President Richard Nixon's parents worshiped at the church, which celebrated its 100th anniversary last year.
"Our hearts were totally ripped open for the Dalit people," Martz said. Social rules and poverty make their children vulnerable to human-trafficking in labor and sex.
By Greg Botelho, CNN
(CNN)–High-profile Pastor Rick Warren tweeted Thursday that his son who shot himself late last week had bought an "unregistered gun" from "someone over the internet."
"I pray he seeks God's forgiveness," wrote Warren, a best-selling author and the head of Saddleback Church, referring to whoever sold his son the gun. "I forgive him."
By Wayne Drash, CNN
(CNN) – Told by two families that a visiting priest was suspected of molesting their children in 1988, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles did not immediately notify police. Instead, Cardinal Roger Mahony’s right-hand man alerted the priest – a heads-up that allowed him to flee the country for Mexico.
He remained in the priesthood there for another 21 years, allegedly continuing to molest. He has denied the accusations and remains a fugitive.
Newly released church documents show the behind-the-scenes machinations of top officials within the Los Angeles archdiocese making decisions on how to deal with pedophile priests, hindering police investigations and saying, in private, something completely different than what they said in public.
By Ben Brumfield, CNN
A California judge has forced the Archdiocese of Los Angeles to release some 12,000 pages of church documents revealing how it handled allegations of priest sexual abuse.
There were many - 192 priests and bishops were named in litigation, the archdiocese said.
"The cases span decades," Archbishop Jose H. Gomez said in a statement Thursday. Some go back to the 1930s.
By Dan Merica, CNN
Washington (CNN) – Kevin Kloosterman, a former Mormon bishop, said he “came out” last year – just not in the way that many people associate with coming out.
“I came out and basically made a personal apology to (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) folks for really not understanding their issues, not really taking the time to understand their lives and really not doing my homework,” Kloosterman said in an interview with CNN.
Though not speaking on behalf of the church, the then-bishop stood in front of a crowd of gay and straight Mormons at a November conference on gay and lesbian issues in Salt Lake City, Utah, where the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is headquartered.
Donning a suit and tie, Kloosterman was visibly shaken, struggling to find the right words as tears welled up in his eyes.
“I’m sorry – deeply, deeply sorry,” Kloosterman told the group in a speech that was captured on video. “The only thing I can say to those of you who have been so patient, and have gone through so much, is for you to watch and look for any small changes with your loved ones, with your wards (Mormon congregations), with your leaders. And encourage them in this repentance process.”
By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor
(CNN) - A California college where authorities say that seven people were shot dead on Monday is a religious school that caters to the burgeoning Korean American Christian community.
The number-one objective of Oikos University, in Oakland, California, is "to demonstrate a comprehensive knowledge of the Bible and an understanding of Christian doctrine," according to the school's website. Its number-two objective: "To develop an appreciation for the Korean and Korean-American church denomination heritage."
The Church of Scientology opened its newest facility. KOVR reports.
By the CNN Wire Staff
(CNN) - A Los Angeles Catholic bishop has resigned from the church after admitting he is the father of two teenage children, leaders said.
Bishop Gabino Zavala told Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gomez in early December about the children, and the pope accepted his resignation Wednesday.
(CNN) – Southern California’s famed but troubled Crystal Cathedral will be sold to the Roman Catholic Church, in a deal a bankruptcy judge approved Thursday.
The Protestant church, which helped spark the megachurch movement in the United States after opening in 1970, declared bankruptcy last year following years of infighting among the family of church founder Rev. Robert H. Schuller and church leaders.
Sheila Schuller Coleman, the founder’s daughter, sought to reassure members and supporters of the iconic house of worship Thursday night, saying “there is still time for God to step in and save Crystal Cathedral Ministries.”
Editor’s note: Aman Ali is a New York-based writer, stand-up comedian and the co-creator of 30 Mosques in 30 Days, a Ramadan road trip across America.
By Aman Ali, Special to CNN
The Irvine 11. Nope, it’s not the 37th installment of George Clooney and his gang of crackerjack criminals trying to pull a con job on a California casino owner.
Instead, the “Irvine 11” are of a group of Muslim students in California who were found guilty last week of disrupting a speech at the University of California Irvine by Michael Oren, Israel's ambassador to the United States.
One by one, the students disrupted Oren’s speech and shouted at him over his support for Israel. They were subsequently found guilty by an Orange County jury.
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.