May 21st, 2010
08:52 PM ET

White House to host first Jewish American Heritage Month reception

Just noticed this on the White House schedule for next Thursday:

The President and the First Lady will also host the first ever White House reception in honor of Jewish American Heritage Month.

More on Jewish American Heritage Month here.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Judaism • Politics

May 21st, 2010
07:31 PM ET

Does Draw Mohammed Day = Holocaust denial?

Secular students chalked smiling stick figures on campuses labeling them 'Muhammad;' Muslim students reacted by adding boxing gloves and re-labeling the drawings 'Muhammad Ali.'

The Led Zeppelin-inspired Pakistani rock star Salman Ahmad is plenty progressive - he opposed his country's decision to shutter Facebook and YouTube on Draw Mohammed Day on the grounds that it made Pakistan look intolerant and that it was impossible to enforce.

But theologically, the devout Muslim guitarist seemed to understand Islamabad's impulse to do whatever was necessary to keep Pakistanis from seeing images of the Prophet Mohammed.

Raised in New York, he was able to put the issue into a context I hadn't heard before.

It's as intolerable to Muslims to have images of the prophet, he said, as it is for Jews to accept Holocaust denial or for African-Americans to hear “the n-word.”


- Newsdesk editor, The CNN Wire

Filed under: Islam • Judaism

May 21st, 2010
04:08 PM ET

Jews for Jesus founder dies

Moishe Rosen, the founder of the evangelical Christian group Jews for Jesus, died Wednesday from prostate cancer, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported. He was 78.

Born to Jewish parents, Rosen (whose first name was Martin) converted to Christianity with his wife before he went on to become a Baptist minister. While in San Francisco, California, in the early 1970s, he saw the Jesus People revival, a countercultural draw to religion, and the Jews who were attracted to it. So he changed his name to Moishe, his Hebrew name given at birth, and established Jews for Jesus - an organization bent on "saving" Jews.


- CNN Writer/Producer

Filed under: Christianity • Culture wars • Judaism

May 21st, 2010
03:58 PM ET

S. African paper publishes Mohammed cartoon

Cape Town, South Africa, cartoonist Jonathan Shapiro draws ire after showing Mohammed on a therapist's couch.

Once again, a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed has sparked anger and controversy.

A South African newspaper published Friday a cartoon depicting the prophet lamenting that his followers lack a sense of humor, drawing ire from the Muslim community and fear of reprisal attacks just ahead of the World Cup soccer tournament that is expected to draw thousands to South Africa next month.


- Moni Basu

Filed under: Culture wars • Islam • Muslim

May 21st, 2010
03:39 PM ET

Crash course in Islam from Miss USA

Who would have guessed that Americans would be receiving a crash course in Islam from Miss USA?

A lot of what Rima Fakih, who was crowned on Sunday, has to say about her faith counters stereotypes about Muslims. Check out what she told CNN's Octavia Nasr last night about her faith:


- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Islam

May 21st, 2010
12:13 PM ET

Finding God with a camera, dog and pick-up truck

Editor's note: Jim Spellman is CNN's all platform journalist in Denver, Colorado. He shares this story about Shay Kelley, a woman he profiled earlier this year. After the profile ran on CNN.com, Kelley's project to travel to 50 states and feed and document the homeless grew exponentially.

From Jim Spellman, CNN

A year ago Shay Kelley lost her job, then her home. She says she asked God
what to do and the answer became Project 50/50.

She set out on the road in a pick-up truck named Bubba with her border collie, Zuzu, to travel to all 50 states in 50 weeks, collecting canned food for the homeless and photographing the people she met along the way.

Since the story ran, her Facebook page has grown from having about 1,000 followers to having more than 12,000.


- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Uncategorized

May 21st, 2010
12:07 PM ET

Texas votes today on curriculum changes, including debate on church/state separation

Texas' state board of education votes today on dramatic curriculum changes, including introducing classroom debate about whether church/state separation is really a founding principle of American government.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Culture wars • Education • Politics

May 21st, 2010
11:01 AM ET

Nun excommunicated for approving life-saving abortion

From CNN's Carol Costello: It was an agonizing decision for all involved. A 27-year-old pregnant patient at St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix, Arizona became gravely ill.

Doctors told her unless she aborted her 11-week-old fetus she would likely die. The problem: St. Joseph's is a Catholic hospital and abortions are largely prohibited.

Sister Margaret McBride was part of an ethics panel that included doctors that consulted with the young woman. The woman had the procedure and survived. But Sister McBride took some heat. The Phoenix Catholic Diocese, led by Bishop Thomas Olmsted, automatically excommunicated the nun, effectively banning her from participating in the church.

Read the full post on American Morning's amFix blog

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Catholic Church

May 21st, 2010
10:47 AM ET

Stuff Christians Like: Treating secular media like Satan’s newspaper

Editor's Note: Jonathan Acuff writes the blog www.stuffchristianslike.net and recently released the book "Stuff Christians Like." In addition to commenting on Christian culture, he’s also written branding for clients such as The Home Depot, Bose, Chick-fil-A and AutoTrader.com. He lives outside of Atlanta with his wife and two young daughters.

By Jonathan Acuff, Special to CNN

As a pastor’s kid, I always found it odd that we Christians sprinkle a little church flavor on popular secular ideas and make them our own. We turned, “Got Milk” into, “Got God,” and “Adidas” into, “Add Jesus.” I feel like we often don’t use our best creativity to express our love of the person we believe created it all. So when the site stuffwhitepeoplelike.com blew up, I thought it might be fun to discuss that problem by committing that problem. I started stuffchristianslike.net thinking it would be like one of the many ideas I’ve written online.

Two years and 1.3 million readers later, the site is still going. Zondervan published the book, “Stuff Christians Like,” and last November the blog readers raised $30,000 in 18 hours to build a kindergarten in Vietnam. Despite that, some people initially don’t understand that at the core, I’m a Christian writing satire. They question the motives, confusing satire with mockery. More than that, they challenge me if I get anywhere near people like CNN.

When I was on "American Morning," several people told me, “That will be the only time I watch that channel.” Unspoken, but certainly heard, was the quiet hope that I would not be forced to sleep on a pull-out bed in hell for my association with the news network. And when a pastor I know did a relief special with Anderson Cooper, he received comments about how wrong that was. (Can you imagine God ever saying, “I regret that those disaster victims did not receive help, but you avoided making direct contact with Anderson Cooper. Well done my good and faithful servant.”)


- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Opinion

May 21st, 2010
09:48 AM ET

Cardinal in prisoner release talks with Cuban leader

Cuba's Roman Catholic cardinal said Thursday he is in discussions with President Raul Castro to liberate some of the country's jailed dissidents.

Cardinal Jaime Ortega said Wednesday's rare four-hour meeting was a "magnificent start" to talks with the Cuban government about the potential liberation of some of the dissidents.

Read the full story

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Catholic Church • Leaders • Politics

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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.