March 31st, 2010
10:40 AM ET
Ex-members spar with Scientology over beating allegations
Marty Rathbun used to beat people. He admits it. But he says he was pressured to do it by his boss.
Rathbun, pictured, was once a senior official of the Church of Scientology, reporting directly to church leader David Miscavige. He says that Scientology's leadership fostered a culture of violence among its top ranks and that Miscavige "constantly pushed me to get physical with people" during his time among its top ranks.
March 31st, 2010
07:09 AM ET
Archbishop: Mistakes made in priest sex abuse case
The archbishop of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, apologized repeatedly Tuesday night for the way his archdiocese handled an abusive priest and he defended the Vatican which has come under fire for not disciplining or defrocking the man.
"Mistakes were made in the Lawrence Murphy case," said Archbishop Jerome Listecki at the end of a special holy week mass at St. John's Cathedral in Milwaukee.
March 30th, 2010
07:28 AM ET
Twilight comes for India's fading Jewish community
Ian Zachariah's eyes scan the empty Maghen David synagogue. There have not been prayers said here in a long time, for the lack of 10 able-bodied men needed to form the minyan, the quorum required for a Jewish service.
Zachariah, 65, knows the end is near for the Jews of Kolkata, India. Once a thriving community of 6,000, their numbers can be counted on fingers now. Zachariah says fewer than 30 Jews are left in this bustling eastern Indian metropolis.
March 30th, 2010
07:19 AM ET
Passover health: Matzoh, soup and family
For Jews, Passover is somewhat like Thanksgiving: Families and friends gather to eat a lot of food. This holiday, commemorating the exodus of the Jewish people from slavery in Egypt, begins tonight and lasts for eight days, during which observers do not eat any leavened bread or various grains. Some traditionally also avoid beans, corn, and other starches.
The Passover meal – called a "seder," meaning "order" – traditionally happens on the first night, during which participants go through a series of symbolic foods representing elements of the Passover story. Some families have a seder on the second night also.
Some seder foods carry health benefits. And one, perhaps the best known of the seder elements, may cause some digestive issues.
March 30th, 2010
07:16 AM ET
Abuse inside church of Scientology?
Monday night we told you about Marty Rathbun. He was a member of the Church of Scientology for 27 years before leaving in 2004. He rose through the ranks of the Sea Organization, the international management team that runs church operations world wide.
Rathbun says he was the Inspector General and answered only to church leader David Miscavige, the same man who he says would use physical abuse against other members of the churches elite management team.
Opinion: Moses is America's prophet
This week, beginning with Passover and ending with Easter, is "Moses week" in America. It's the one time of year when the biblical hero steps to the forefront of religious ritual, renewing the special bond that has existed between the great prophet and the United States for over 400 years.
Moses was an American icon long before there was an America. When the Pilgrims left England in 1620, they described themselves as the chosen people fleeing their pharaoh, King James. On the Atlantic, they proclaimed their journey to be as vital as "Moses and the Israelites when they went out of Egypt." And when they got to Cape Cod, they thanked God for letting them pass through their fiery Red Sea.
March 29th, 2010
11:19 AM ET
Homer not the only would-be 'Messiah' in Jerusalem
Leave it to "The Simpsons" to kick off Holy Week with a zinger.
Christians observe this as a sacred time marking Jesus' journey in Jerusalem from Palm Sunday to Easter, and many treat it with reverence by attending services, singing hymns and offering prayers. None likely would picture the one they deem their savior in the form of Homer Simpson.
In "The Greatest Story Ever D'ohed," the latest episode of the long-running Fox sitcom, which aired Sunday, The Simpsons set off to Israel on a church mission. They go at the urging of neighbor and devout Christian Ned Flanders, who thought a dose of the Holy Land would bring Homer much-needed salvation.
No surprise, this plan didn't go well.
Among the family's foibles and offenses, Homer became delusional and believed he was the "chosen one," destined to bring Muslims, Jews and Christians together. Diagnosed with "Jerusalem syndrome," he called himself the "Messiah" and proposed the new faith of "Chrismujews," a religion that would praise both peace and chicken.
March 27th, 2010
10:11 PM ET
Faith, health care politics clash in key Ohio district
Ohio is the land where the post-2004 wave of Democratic faith-based organizing began. It's the state where an anti-gay marriage initiative helped turn out enough conservative religious voters to hand a second term to George W. Bush - which made it the natural starting place for the Democrats to begin their attempt to close the God Gap.
Those efforts helped elect Democrat Ted Strickland, a former minister, as Ohio governor in 2006; helped Obama easily take the Buckeye State in 2008; and helped Democrats pick up a U.S. Senate seat and a handful of House sets in the state in the last couple of election cycles.
All of which is to say that a new faith-based campaign in the state defending Democratic Ohio Rep. Steve Driehaus and denouncing House Republican Leader John Boehner - who represents Ohio's 8th congressional district - bears watching.
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.