August 4th, 2010
09:33 PM ET

August 4th, 2010
07:40 PM ET

Lawsuit challenges ground zero mosque

By Elise Zeiger, CNN Senior Producer

A group representing a New York City firefighter who survived the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks filed suit Wednesday seeking to nullify a ruling that cleared the way for construction of what's come to be known as the "ground zero mosque."

The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) filed its suit against the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission at the New York Supreme Court. The suit urges the court to nullify a decision by the commission Tuesday, when it denied landmark status to a building and thereby cleared the way for an Islamic center and mosque to be built on the site.


- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: 'Ground zero mosque' • Houses of worship • Interfaith issues • Islam • Mosque • Muslim • New York • United States

August 4th, 2010
05:46 PM ET

Conservatives vow to fight Prop. 8 ruling, citing threat to gay marriage bans nationwide

Within moments of a federal judge striking down California's same-sex marriage ban Wednesday, religious conservatives vowed to fight the ruling all the way to the Supreme Court, saying the decision threatens gay marriage bans nationwide.

"This lawsuit, should it be upheld on appeal and in the Supreme Court, would become the 'Roe v. Wade' of same-sex 'marriage,' " said Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, referring to the 1973 decision that legalized abortion.

Perkins and other conservatives said the ruling, which found California's gay marriage ban unconstitutional, would overturn marriage bans adopted by dozens of states if it is upheld.

Perkins told CNN he will work to make the ruling an issue in this fall's midterm elections. "This is the age of the Tea Party, where you have people saying government is not listening," Perkins told CNN. "And here you have a judge saying seven million people (who supported California's Proposition 8 ) don't matter."


- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: California • Gay marriage • Gay rights • Politics • United States

August 4th, 2010
05:02 PM ET

Katy Perry: Sex and spirituality don't mix

Katy Perry recently criticized Lady Gaga for the religious imagery in her controversial “Alejandro” video, and in the new issue of Rolling Stone, she hasn’t changed her tune.

The 25-year-old “California Gurls” singer, whose parents are ministers, launched what seemed like an attack on Gaga in June. Perry tweeted that the “Alejandro” video – in which Gaga, 24, appears dressed as a nun and swallows a rosary – was both blasphemous and “cheap as a comedian telling a fart joke.”

And Perry, who is engaged to equally outrageous British comic Russell Brand, 35, isn’t apologizing for her Twitcism.

Read the full post at The Marquee Blog

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Culture & Science

August 4th, 2010
04:31 PM ET

Opinion: There's nothing new about mosques in New York

Editor's note: Jerrilynn Dodds is the Dean of Sarah Lawrence College in New York and author of New York Masjid: the Mosques of New York (2002). Her most recent book is Arts of Intimacy: Christians, Jews and Muslims in the Making of Castilian Culture, which she co-authored with Maria Menocal and Abigail Krasner Balbale.

By Jerrilynn Dodds, Special to CNN

It's hard to think of a better place for a mosque today than lower Manhattan, near to ground zero. To support the siting of a mosque there is not just deeply American–a declaration of the freedoms we stand for - it is the continuation of a long and established New York tradition of mosque-building.

In fact, by any historical measure it is absurd to see Cordoba House, a community center that will include a mosque, as a kind of hostile and exotic cultural invasion of the lower east side. Mosques have been part of New York's rich architectural and religious mix for over a century, and today hundreds of thousands of Muslims, many whose New York roots go back generations - attend the city's more than 100 mosques in the five boroughs.

Read the full story

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: 'Ground zero mosque' • Houses of worship • Interfaith issues • Islam • Mosque

August 4th, 2010
04:23 PM ET

‘Spiritual Ritalin' for hyperactive kids?

Anyone who's had to watch a hyperactive kid may have asked for divine help at one time or another. Now there's another resource to calm unruly children: Spiritual Ritalin.

In an intriguing article titled “The Child-Meditation Miracle” in the Daily Beast, Gwynee Watkins  says more meditation centers have been answering a growing demand by frazzled adults who want to teach meditation to agitated kids: 

Merriam-Webster defines the act of meditating as “to focus one’s thoughts on, reflect on, or ponder over.” FULL POST

- CNN Writer

Filed under: Asia • Belief • Buddhism • India

August 4th, 2010
02:56 PM ET

Gospel music legend Sandi Patty on her personal battles

Sandi Patty had to confront her own issues at a personal crossroads

Gospel music legend Sandi Patty says the inspiration for her new book, “The Edge of the Divine,” came from a trip past Disneyland.   

It may seem odd that a woman who has won nearly 40 Dove awards and five Grammys was once at home crying, stunned and not knowing what to do after an audition for a singing job ended in a big, fat "no."   

But that happened when Patty tried out for a gig at the famous park as a teenager. Three weeks after the tryout, she got a rejection letter, saying she was a good singer but was too overweight and was a poor dancer.  


- Producer/Writer

Filed under: Books • Christianity • Culture & Science • Faith • Music

August 4th, 2010
09:02 AM ET

Jewish group won't fight ground zero mosque, leader says

The Anti-Defamation League will not fight the building of a controversial Islamic center and mosque planned near the site of the September 11, 2001, terror attacks in New York, the group's leader told CNN Wednesday.

The Jewish organization sparked debate last week by opposing what's come to be known as the "ground zero mosque" on the grounds that the controversy over it was "counterproductive to the healing process."

But following a ruling Tuesday that clears the way for the mosque to be built, "we're not continuing to fight it. We raised an issue ... but once the community board ruled, we move on," Abraham Foxman told CNN's "American Morning."


- Newsdesk editor, The CNN Wire

Filed under: 'Ground zero mosque' • Houses of worship • Islam • Judaism • Mosque • New York • United States

August 4th, 2010
08:00 AM ET

Kenya's churches unite against draft constitution

Kenya's Christian churches have unified against a proposed new constitution for the east African powerhouse, saying it will offer abortion on demand and give Muslims special rights.

Voters in Kenya are due to decide Wednesday whether the new constitution goes through. It's designed to reduce political tensions in a country where the last national vote led to violence that left more than 1,000 people dead.

But the wholesale rewriting of the country's constitution has opened up a can of worms, according to the country's Christian churches.

Read the full story

- Newsdesk editor, The CNN Wire

Filed under: Abortion • Africa • Christianity • Politics

August 4th, 2010
06:00 AM ET

Muslims welcome in Lower Manhattan, says Mayor Bloomberg

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

I have never been a big fan of New York City's major Michael Bloomberg, but he won me over yesterday with a speech that was conservative in the best sense of the term.

Shortly after the city's Landmark Preservation Commission unanimously voted not to grant landmark status to the site of a planned Islamic community center and mosque near ground zero, Bloomberg stood in front of the Statue of Liberty and in the midst of a rainbow of religious leaders and said what should not have needed to be said concerning this bitter controversy.


- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: 'Ground zero mosque' • Interfaith issues • Islam • 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.