June 11th, 2010
03:17 PM ET

Separation of church, state and Twitter?

If you are one of the some 3,000 Twitter followers of U.S. Rep. John Shimkus, R-Illinois, then you probably know he is a prolific tweeter of Bible verses. Today he tweeted:

Psalm 19:14 Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.
From twitter.com/RepShimkus

The 140-character missives are causing "unease" with Bernard Schoenburg, a columnist from The State Journal-Register in Springfield, Illinois.


- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Politics

June 11th, 2010
12:32 PM ET

Summum: Homegrown spiritual group, in news and in a pyramid

Inside a copper-colored pyramid off Interstate 15 in Salt Lake City, Utah, the late founder of a homegrown spiritual group called Summum stands encased in his $40,000 specially commissioned bronze mummiform.

Around Corky Ra, who died in January 2008 at 63, are mummified cats and dogs, some pictured above – the beloved pets of his and those who’ve subscribed to the Summum philosophy he created.

At least that’s what was there the last time I checked. I learned about Summum when I was covering religion for The Salt Lake Tribune. When I first showed up hoping to interview Ra, I found out he was dead and inside the pyramid, floating in a vat of mummification fluids.


- CNN Writer/Producer

Filed under: Courts • Culture & Science

June 11th, 2010
10:55 AM ET

Does Fido have a soul?

A few years back, a woman invited me to her dog's funeral.

As she dabbed tears from her eyes, she walked through a pet funeral home recalling how her dog had helped her overcome a serious illness and a divorce.


- CNN Writer

Filed under: Belief • Books • Culture & Science

June 11th, 2010
10:54 AM ET

Corpus Christi in Brazil

CNN's Marilia Brocchetto files this report from Brazil about a Catholic holiday being celebrated in her grandmother's hometown:

“Do you have any flour?” asked the neighbor, as she proceeded to throw the little she had on the pavement in front of my grandmother’s house.

I must have given her an interesting look because she felt the need to go into detail as to why she was throwing it on the ground: “It’s for the parade later on tonight.” For a second I had forgotten today was Corpus Christi.


- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Catholic Church • Culture & Science • Traditions

June 11th, 2010
07:45 AM ET

Pope addresses priest abuse scandal

Pope Benedict XVI said Friday the church must promise "to do everything possible" to ensure that the sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests "will never occur again."

He was addressing thousands of priests who had gathered at the Vatican for a three-day conference to mark the end of the "Year of the Priest."

"So it happened that, in this very year of joy for the sacrament of the priesthood, the sins of priests came to light - particularly the abuse of the little ones, in which the priesthood, whose task is to manifest God's concern for our good, turns into its very opposite," the pope said.

Read the full story

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Catholic Church

June 11th, 2010
04:23 AM ET

Ted Haggard, Resurrected

Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion scholar and author of "God is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions that Run the World," is a regular CNN Belief Blog contributor.

By Stephen Prothero, Special to CNN

Ted Haggard is back.

In 2006, a gay sex and drug scandal knocked this former head of the National Association of Evangelicals from his perch as pastor of the 14,000-member New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Earlier this month, Haggard emerged from his own private purgatory, announcing that he has started a new nondenominational church, St. James, which will meet in his home. 

Haggard’s resurrection left me with a series of questions, including whether he has done his time and what this unending cycle of sin, confession, and redemption says about America. To answer these questions, I contacted Susan Wise Bauer, an independent historian and author of The Art of the Public Grovel: Sexual Sin and Confession in America—a history of how the high and mighty fall, confess, and (more often than not) bounce back.


- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: Christianity • Homosexuality • Protestant

June 11th, 2010
03:59 AM ET

My Take: New portrait of Muslim America shows community on edge

Editor's Note: Frankie Martin is Ibn Khaldun Chair Research Fellow at American University's School of International Service and is a contributor to the new book Journey into America: The Challenge of Islam.

By Frankie Martin, Special to CNN

As I got off the plane in St. Louis in September 2008, I didn’t realize I was beginning a journey that would change my life.

On that day, I–along with several researchers working with Professor Akbar Ahmed, American University’s Chair of Islamic Studies–began a grueling project aimed at studying America’s Muslim population and its relationship to American identity. Now, nearly two years, 75 cities and 100 mosques later, Journey into America: The Challenge of Islam, will be published by the Brookings Institution Press this month.

In addition to providing unprecedented insight into America’s Muslim community, it also led me to look at my own country, the United States, in a different way.


- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Islam

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.