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August 26th, 2013
12:57 PM ET

Moving out of the dreamer's shadow: A King daughter's long journey

By John Blake, CNN

Atlanta (CNN) - There is a secret about Bernice King that not everyone close to her wants you to know.

"She has a shoe fetish," says Angela Farris-Watkins, a cousin. "She has shoes to go with every outfit. She likes all kinds of shoes: sandals, heels, open-toed and different colors. She buys shoes like bread."

It's not surprising that the youngest child of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. would care so much about what she puts on her feet. She has been walking in the footsteps of one of history's greatest moral leaders all of her life.

With the nation poised to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, the daughter of the dreamer seems to be stepping out of his shadow.

Read the full story here
- CNN Writer

Filed under: Black issues • Christianity • Church • Georgia • Politics • Race

March 20th, 2013
04:54 PM ET

Christian rapper's raw lyrics about racism stir controversy

By Keith Lovely Jr., CNN

Atlanta (CNN) - Christian recording artists often shy away from controversial subjects in their music and cautiously avoid the use of harsh language, but Christian hip-hop artist Amisho “Sho Baraka” Lewis wanted to do just the opposite with his latest album.

The Atlanta-based 33-year-old’s latest album “Talented Xth” champions not just a picture of Christian salvation but also focuses on education, relationships and social change - all filtered through a biblical worldview.

He told CNN the goal of the album is to challenge listeners to “be exceptional for the benefit of others.”

The album’s title is based on a principle championed by activist, professor and sociologist W.E.B DuBois.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Georgia • Music • United States

Before he's a man, bar mitzvah boy goes viral
Daniel Blumen of Atlanta offers a fresh take on the bar mitzvah save-the-date announcement.
February 21st, 2013
09:31 AM ET

Before he's a man, bar mitzvah boy goes viral

By Jessica Ravitz, CNN

Atlanta (CNN) – According to Jewish tradition, a boy becomes a man at 13, when he's called before his community to read from the Torah and become a bar mitzvah, meaning “son of the commandments.”

In the case of Daniel Blumen, who will make this rite of passage in May, this homestretch of childhood has suddenly become a viral event.

Rather than send out simple save-the-date cards or e-mail announcements, Daniel busted out and did something different. A fan of rap music, this only child and “clever little guy,” as described by his father, made a music video – for which he wrote most of his own lyrics – playing off Jermaine Dupri's “Welcome to Atlanta," featuring Ludacris. FULL POST

- CNN Writer/Producer

Filed under: Culture wars • Georgia • Internet • Judaism • Media

February 11th, 2013
05:33 AM ET

Ministry in reality TV

Pastor Myles and Delana Rutherford discuss a new show that follows the lives of Atlanta pastors' wives.

- A. Hawkins

Filed under: Church • Georgia

The churches of Charles and Andy Stanley
November 19th, 2012
11:44 AM ET

Two preaching giants and the 'betrayal' that tore them apart

By John Blake, CNN

Alpharetta, Georgia (CNN) – Andy Stanley walked into his pastor's office, filled with dread.

The minister sat in a massive chair behind an enormous desk. He spread his arms across the desk as if he were bracing for battle. His secretary scurried out of the office when she saw Andy coming.

The pastor had baptized Andy when he was 6, and groomed him to be his successor. But a private trauma had gone public. And Andy felt compelled to speak.

The minister stared in silence as Andy gave him the news. The "unspoken dream" both men shared was over.

After Andy finished, the pastor looked at him as tears welled up.

"Andy," he said, "you have joined my enemies, and I'm your father."

Read the full story on Charles and Andy Stanley
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Church • Georgia • Leaders • Pastors

Jimmy Carter publishes study Bible, discusses faith-filled life
President Jimmy Carter's speaks at an interfaith service in New York in 1991.
March 17th, 2012
06:45 AM ET

Jimmy Carter publishes study Bible, discusses faith-filled life

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

(CNN) – Jimmy Carter, peanut farmer turned president turned globe-trotting humanitarian, now has another line to add to his business card: Bible commentator. Last week Carter published a Lessons from Life Study Bible, with the subtitle Personal Reflections with Jimmy Carter.

With many Democrats embracing the language of faith in recent years in an attempt to win back so-called values voters from the Republican column, Carter's intense faith life is a good reminder that hardly all Democrats are new to the pew.

Since he returned to Plains, Georgia, from Washington after losing his re-election bid to Ronald Reagan in 1980, Carter has taught Sunday school at the local Maranatha Baptist Church, “about 685 times so far,” he says.

His notes in the new study Bible pull from years of Sunday school lessons. “Like the disciples, we should not be proud, seek an ascendant position or argue about who’s the greatest among us,” he notes in reflecting on a passage from the Gospel of Mark in which Jesus' followers are debating who among them is the greatest.

In a phone interview from his home in Plains, he said politics is one area in need of redemption, bemoaning the influx of vitriol and money into politics.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Belief • Bible • Church and state • Georgia • Politics

Gingrich tells evangelicals: 'We need to stand up for ourselves'
February 27th, 2012
05:38 AM ET

Gingrich tells evangelicals: 'We need to stand up for ourselves'

By Shawna Shepherd, CNN Political Producer

Cumming, Georgia (CNN) - Vying for evangelical support in the GOP primary, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum appeared at the same Georgia church on consecutive Sundays.

Gingrich, a former Georgia congressman, is favored to win Georgia on Super Tuesday, March 6, but Santorum, who appears to be gaining ground in other early nominating states, poses a threat to the former House speaker.

Gingrich spoke for about 40 minutes during a regularly scheduled service Sunday morning at First Redeemer Church with about 2,300 people in the audience. The former Pennsylvania senator drew a much larger crowd when he spoke there in the evening a week ago.

Founding Pastor Dr. Richard Lee, a Gingrich supporter, introduced Gingrich as a "true American," with more veiled references to President Barack Obama in his opening remarks.

FULL STORY
- Dan Merica

Filed under: Georgia • Newt Gingrich • Politics

February 20th, 2012
09:07 AM ET

Jimmy Carter writes about his faith

(CNN)–CNN's Martin Savage talks with former President Carter about his new book's focus on faith.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Georgia • Politics • United States

January 23rd, 2012
03:48 PM ET

Jewish newspaper’s editor resigns over Obama assassination column

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

(CNN) - A Jewish newspaper owner who attracted U.S. Secret Service attention for a column suggesting that Israel consider assassinating an American president has resigned as the paper’s editor, employees there said Monday.

The resignation comes after a firestorm over the column and after a tearful apology from the editor-in-chief of Georgia’s Atlanta Jewish Times, Andrew Adler.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Georgia • Judaism

Black, atheist and living in the South
A group of black atheists meets in Atlanta.
December 8th, 2011
01:56 PM ET

Black, atheist and living in the South

By Kim Chakanetsa, CNN

Editor's note: Listen to the CNN Radio broadcast about black atheists in the South:

 (CNN) - Benjamin Burchall first realized how different his experience in the South was going to be while looking for something to watch on television on a Sunday night.

"I couldn't find anything on television but religious programming,” says Burchall, 38, a former Christian minister and agricultural consultant who moved from Long Beach, California, to Atlanta for work in 2010, “And I thought, 'Oh my God, where am I? Is this all that is on television here?'"

And he quickly found other differences from West Coast living.

"I was not used to meeting someone for the first time and having their first question be ‘what church do you go to?’"

Burchall’s proud response to such queries was, “None.” He is part of an increasingly visible minority – black atheists living in the Bible Belt.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Atheism • Georgia • 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 with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.

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