August 31st, 2010
03:54 PM ET

Church helps in New Orleans 5 years later

Editor's note: CNN's Melissa Morgenweck brings us this story about a church in New York and its efforts to help rebuild New Orleans five years after Hurricane Katrina. Faith groups have been one of the driving forces behind helping people in New Orleans get back into their homes.

Grace Church New Orleans sent a letter asking for help from other Grace Churches around the United States after its building was flooded in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Grace Church New York City responded, and eight volunteers traveled to New Orleans in 2006. The group helped with repairs on the church and volunteered with an Episcopal Community Services rebuilding program cleaning out flooded homes.

The Rev. Linda Bartholomew of Grace Church NYC says it was immediately evident that one volunteer trip would not be enough. She made the decision for Grace Church NYC to make a 10-year commitment to help rebuild New Orleans.


- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Episcopal

August 31st, 2010
02:54 PM ET

New details emerge about proposed Islamic Center

Men attend Friday prayers in a prayer room in the building that is the proposed site of the Park51 mosque and cultural center.

New details emerged Tuesday about the controversial "Park51" project, involving the proposed Islamic cultural center and mosque in New York City.

A source familiar with the project told CNN's Allan Chernoff the structure is being planned as an 11-story building. It will cover 120,000 square feet. Within that space, the source said, 10,000 square feet - just more than 8 percent - would be designated for the Muslim prayer space. The developer is considering the possibility of an interfaith education/meditation/prayer space as well, the source said.

Read the full story

- CNN Belief Blog

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

August 31st, 2010
12:11 PM ET

Satanists book OKC convention center

Officials confirmed that the Oklahoma City Civic Center has been booked by a group proclaiming themselves to be Satanists.

The Church of the IV Majesties posted an event to meetup.com announcing a Satanic ritual to be performed at the Civic Center on Oct. 21.

According to the posting, "This is a church for any Satanist (modern or traditional) or anyone who is interested in Satanism. All members of the Left-Hand Path are welcome. Do (sic) to the nature of our religion and the herd's view of it, this site will remain private as to protect our members. For now, this church is for all things LHP. So, welcome witches and warlocks, answer the call of your Darkness."

Read the full story

- cmccloy

Filed under: Satanism

Baha'i woman recalls imprisonment in Iran
August 31st, 2010
11:10 AM ET

Baha'i woman recalls imprisonment in Iran

Minoo Vosough can still hear the guards' boots marching down the cold hallways of Iran's Gohardasht prison. The screams of other inmates burn her ears.

She can feel the thud of a fist coming down on her head. And the world going black as she was blindfolded and shoved in a courtroom to hear her fate.

She was arrested in Tehran more than 25 years ago - beaten, interrogated and thrown into solitary confinement. Once a week, she was taken out for a shower. She could tell if it was bright or overcast only by the small window high up in her cell. She cherished the chirping of birds outside.

All she had was a blanket, a spoon and a broken fork.

The Iranian regime accused Vosough of espionage, though she was never charged or afforded legal representation. Her crime in the Islamic republic, she says, was - and still is - her faith.

She is a Baha'i.

She has not spoken publicly about her terrifying experience in an Iranian jail. Until now.


- Moni Basu

Filed under: Baha'i • Iran • Journeys

August 31st, 2010
10:33 AM ET

Mormon bishop shot dead in California

Editor's note: CNN's Greg Morrison brings us this story from California.

A Mormon bishop was shot and killed in Visalia, California, on Sunday, police said. The suspected gunman was killed later in the day in a gunfight with police, Visalia California Police Chief Colleen Mestas told CNN.

Bishop Clay Sannar, 42, was shot dead in an office at Visalia's Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Mestas said. About 20 minutes after the shooting, police got a call from the suspect, who told them where he was heading, Mestas said.

Officers intercepted the suspect and a gunfight ensued, during which the suspect was killed. Church members tell police the gunman was a stranger who hadn't been seen at the church before.

Read the full story here.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: California • Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints • Death • United States

August 31st, 2010
10:23 AM ET

A Mormon with a memory: Sen. Hatch greenlights "Ground Zero Mosque"

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

In an interview on Monday with Fox13now in Salt Lake City, Utah Senator Orrin Hatch said he would be “the first to stand up” for the rights of Muslims to build an Islamic community center and mosque near ground zero. Well, he’s not exactly the first, but I’ll take it.

A few days ago I lamented the fact that so many prominent Mormons, including Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid and Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, had come out against the mosque.

- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: 'Ground zero mosque' • Church and state • Culture wars • Interfaith issues • Islam • Mormonism • Mosque • Muslim • New York • Politics

August 31st, 2010
10:05 AM ET

Glenn Beck's religious awakening

CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor Dan Gilgoff talks with CNN's Brian Todd about the vacuum in the Christian Right and whether or not Glenn Beck is trying to fill the void.

August 31st, 2010
07:00 AM ET

My Take: Is Prop 8 fight the culture wars' last stand?

Editor's Note: Jonathan Merritt is a cultural commentator and author of the new book Green Like God: Unlocking the Divine Plan for Our Planet.

By Jonathan Merritt, Special to CNN

Same-sex marriage is indisputably one of the hottest “culture war issues” of the last two decades. “Culture Wars Go Nuclear,” proclaimed Gary Bauer’s e-mail newsletter when the Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage in 2003.

Of course, it’s an especially hot issue among the religious. The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life reports that opposition to same-sex marriage is waning among the general public but that Christian Americans are most strongly opposed.

Of those who attend church at least weekly, 69 percent say they oppose gay marriage.


- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Uncategorized

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.