July 16th, 2010
03:47 PM ET

Religious minorities: Is the disadvantage the advantage?

Editor's note: CNN's Talya Minsberg files this report about what life is like for some religious minorities in the United States:

Imagine having an exam or mandatory meeting on a holiday with the religious importance of Christmas.

It’s a regular occurrence for religious minorities in the United States.

Many college students will head back to school after Labor Day, September 7. And for Jewish and Muslim American students, a dilemma awaits. This year, the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashana, begins at sundown the very next day, September 8. And September 9 is Eid al Fitr, an Islamic holiday marking the end of the month of Ramadan. Both holidays are celebrated with festive meals and special services.


- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Education • Islam • Judaism • Religious liberty • Traditions • United States

July 16th, 2010
12:47 PM ET

My Take: Hinduism's caste problem, out in the open

Hindu devotees at a religious celebration in India this month.

Editor's Note: 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

A few weeks ago, at an interfaith gathering at the White House, a Hindu gentleman told me he enjoyed my new book, “God is Not One,” but he objected strenuously to my criticisms of the Hindu caste system.

“There is no caste in Hinduism,” he told me, and no evidence would convince him otherwise. Not the fact that all my Hindu friends know precisely what caste they were born into. Nor the fact that all my Hindu students know precisely which castes their parents will not allow them to marry into.


- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: Hinduism • Opinion

July 16th, 2010
10:16 AM ET

Israeli conversion bill raises question of who’s officially Jewish

Ultra-Orthodox Jews at a rally in Israel last month.

CNN's Paul Colsey sends this report from Jerusalem:

Angry reactions poured in from North American Jewry this week over an Israeli parliament committee’s passage of a new conversion bill on Sunday. The bill, which passed the Knesset’s law committee, would give control of the conversion process to Judaism to ultra-Orthodox Jews, calling the official Jewish status of many Israelis into question.

The Israeli press is reporting that officials from a broad spectrum of Diaspora Jewish organizations joined in condemning the bill, which those groups said would put the Chief Rabbinate, controlled by the ultra-Orthodox, in charge of conversions. 

Such a move could harm ties with the predominantly non-Orthodox Jewish community in the United States. Most American Jews belong to the Conservative and Reform movements.


- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Israel • Judaism • Politics

July 16th, 2010
09:53 AM ET

Change of prayers in the Gulf

For the past 60 years, each Sunday from Mother's Day to Labor Day, Foley United Methodist Church has met for a beach service at the state park in Gulf Shores, Alabama.

This year the service has been interrupted by the oil disaster.

Clean-up efforts forced the congregation from the sandy beach up to a concrete pavilion, "partly due to the relief workers basically taking away our beach. We’re glad they are, but that is the situation," said the Rev. Lance Moore, who has pastored the congregation for six years.


- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Christianity • Culture & Science • Environment • Prayer

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.