July 2nd, 2010
05:07 PM ET

White House ties new pregnancy assistance fund to 'common ground' abortion plan

President Obama and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in June.

The Health and Human Services Department announced Friday that it is making $25 million available to states to support pregnant women and teen parents, in an initiative that the White House is framing as a way to find common ground on abortion.

The new federal Pregnancy Assistance Fund will award grants to states aimed at providing pregnant women and teen parents support for completing high school or college degrees and for getting health care, child care and housing, HHS said in a news release Friday.

The grants can also be used to combat violence against pregnant women, the release said.


- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Abortion • Barack Obama • Culture wars • Health care • Politics

July 2nd, 2010
04:00 PM ET

Israeli settlers revise ancient prayer for Obama-Netanyahu meeting

A portion of the revised prayer in Hebrew, from the Facebook page of the group My Israel.

CNN's Izzy Lemberg sends this report on from Jerusalem:

The main umbrella group of Jewish settlers in the West Bank, the Yesha Council of Communities in Judea and Samaria, has added controversial new language to an ancient prayer that it will distribute to synagogues in advance of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Tuesday meeting with President Barack Obama in Washington.

The traditional Wayfarers prayer is recited by observant Jews when traveling on long journeys. The Yesha Council’s version of the prayer asks God to grant Netanyahu the strength to say "enough already" regarding what it calls pressure to make concessions in the Mideast peace process.


- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Barack Obama • Israel • Judaism • Politics

July 2nd, 2010
11:22 AM ET

Poland rediscovering its Jewish past

Seventy years after Poland's large Jewish population was virtually wiped out in World War II, their culture is making a comeback.

Poles are today exploring their country's Jewish past and forging links that were unthinkable a generation ago.

Before the Nazi invasion in 1939, Poland had one of the largest Jewish populations in the world. Almost all were killed or fled and their culture was all but forgotten under Communist rule.

Read the full story

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Holocaust • Judaism

July 2nd, 2010
08:36 AM ET

Hankering to serve in Gulf Coast, missionaries at a loss

Pastor Jack Kale leads a 'Worship at the Water' service organized last month by Gulf Breeze United Methodist Church in Pensacola, Florida.

The phone calls keep coming at the United Methodist Committee on Relief offices in Washington. National volunteers who turned out by the tens of thousands to help clean up and rebuild destroyed homes after Hurricane Katrina five years ago are desperate to lend a hand again in the face of the Gulf Coast oil spill.

But the problem with this oil disaster, explained the Rev. Tom Hazelwood, who directs UMCOR’s disaster response for the U.S., Latin America and the Caribbean, is that his organization doesn't know what to tell the would-be missionaries.


- CNN Writer/Producer

Filed under: Environment • Interfaith issues

July 2nd, 2010
07:59 AM ET

Guest post: The sermon through a child's eyes

Editor's note: Logan Keck is an assistant pastor at Christ the King in the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts. You can hear long sermons by him and others at www.ctkboston.org or follow him onTwitter.

By Logan Keck, Special to CNN

One of my goals as a pastor is to make sure the people in the pews, no matter what their background, can relate to my sermon. It doesn’t always happen.

Above are the sermons notes taken by one of the kids in our church. The girl who wrote “Why are the sermons so long? Why? Why? Why?...” is only 8 years old, but if you ask the average church-goer what they think of their weekly service, you will probably hear a similar remark.


- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Sermon

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.