May 24th, 2010
02:54 PM ET

How church shopping is polarizing the country

The difference in viewpoints between traditionalists and modernists has dramatic effects on the culture wars, June Carbone and Naomi Cahn say.

Editor's Note: June Carbone and Naomi Cahn are law professors and authors of the recent book "Red Families v. Blue Families: Legal Polarization and the Creation of Culture".

By Naomi Cahn and June Carbone, Special to CNN

A report this month on who gets abortions showed some surprising results: Catholic women are about as likely as any other woman to terminate a pregnancy. Then again, the striking thing about American Catholics is that they look almost exactly like the average American.


- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Abortion • Catholic Church • Church • Culture & Science • Culture wars • Opinion

May 24th, 2010
02:24 PM ET

May 24th, 2010
11:32 AM ET

May 24th, 2010
10:21 AM ET

'Should,' 'supposed to' and the Supreme Court

Religion scholar Stephen Prothero will be a regular contributor to CNN's Belief Blog. With his bestselling book "Religious Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know–And Doesn't," Prothero became the country's leading explainer of how religion undergirds much of American life and history - in ways that most us don't realize. With his new book, "God is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions that Run the World," the Boston University professor has taken his franchise global. A few times each week, Prothero will offer posts on the hidden faith angles behind the news.

By Stephen Prothero, CNN Belief Blog contributor

In my first CNN Belief Blog post, “Do 6 Catholics + 3 Jews = 9 Protestants?” I argued that, no matter how you do the math, we need more religious diversity on the Supreme Court. Over 700 comments flooded in, flowing in all sorts of intriguing directions. Many said we need more atheists; some said nine nonbelievers was about right. Meanwhile, “Trinity” suggested an approach apropos of his or her name:

How about 3 religious (pick your religions), 3 non-religious (atheists) and 3 indifferent (agnostics)? Sounds fair to me.

The most consistent criticism, however, was one I have heard many times before: when it comes to presidents, legislators, and Supreme Court justices, religion shouldn’t matter because the work of public officials should never be influenced by personal religious commitments.


- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: Atheism • Catholic Church • Courts • Judaism • Opinion • Politics • Protestant

May 24th, 2010
07:52 AM ET

May 22nd, 2010
08:40 PM ET

Vatican on synthetic cell creation: 'interesting'

Rome, Italy (CNN) - The Vatican had praise Saturday for this week's announcement that scientists had created the world's first synthetic cell, calling it an "interesting result" that could help cure disease.

In an article Saturday, the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano called it "important research" and "the work of high-quality genetic engineering." But it said the scientists who created the cell - led by Craig Venter, pictured - had not created life, just "replaced one of its motors."

The response may appear to mark a turn for the Vatican, but in fact the church does not officially oppose genetic engineering as long as the science avoids embryonic stem cells, cloning or anything else that fiddles too much with the re-creation of human life.


- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Bioethics • Catholic Church

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

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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.