September 17th, 2010
01:58 PM ET

Paper: 'Draw Mohammed' cartoonist in hiding

A cartoonist for Seattle Weekly in Washington state is in hiding after she received death threats for mocking the Prophet Mohammed five months ago, the newspaper reported.

The alternative weekly’s editor in chief reported this week that artist Molly Norris is “going ghost” on the advice of FBI security specialists. She will be moving and changing her name, Mark Fefer wrote.

“You may have noticed that Molly Norris’ comic is not in the paper this week. That’s because there is no more Molly,” he said. “She is, in effect, being put into a witness-protection program – except, as she notes, without the government picking up the tab.”

Norris’ hasty exodus stems from an April controversy in which the creators of “South Park” saw their 201st episode censored over its inclusion of Mohammed as a character. Creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker received death threats because their 200th episode featured the Muslim prophet in a bear suit.

See the full post at CNN's "This Just In" news blog

- Writer-producer

Filed under: Islam • Muslim

September 17th, 2010
01:15 PM ET

How faith shapes politics - or doesn't

A national survey released today shows that while many Americans say faith drives their stances on social and political issues, there's little consistency on how and when it does.

Opinions on hot-button matters like abortion and same-sex marriage are more often influenced primarily by religion than are issues such as immigration, the environment and poverty, according to the Pew Research Center survey, "Impact of Religion on Political Views.”

Of the more than 3,000 adults surveyed over a two-week period this summer, 35 percent said religion mattered most for them on the issue of same-sex marriage. Of just those who oppose such marriages, 60 percent named religion as their top influence. On abortion, 26 percent named religion, with 45 percent of opponents weighing in this way.

Forty-four percent of those surveyed said their clergy speaks about same-sex matters, and 59 percent said they hear from clergy about abortion.


- CNN Writer/Producer

Filed under: Abortion • Belief • Environment • Gay marriage • Homosexuality • Politics • United States

September 17th, 2010
11:40 AM ET

Amid furor, 'ground zero mosque' imam leans on interfaith crisis management team

When Feisal Abdul Rauf learned earlier this month that a fundamentalist Florida pastor was flying to New York in hopes of meeting with him, the imam contacted Christian friends for advice on how to respond.

A handful of Christian leaders discouraged Rauf from meeting the Rev. Terry Jones - who’d threatened to burn Qurans unless Rauf moved his proposed Islamic center and mosque further from ground zero - and organized a phone call with Jones last weekend to urge him to cancel his Quran burning.

Jones had sent mixed messages about the event, first saying he had cancelled the burning but then announcing that he was rethinking whether to have the event.

“Jesus’ love and grace would have never resulted in such a hateful act,” said Jim Wallis, a progressive evangelical leader who advised Rauf about the meeting and helped organize the call. “So the faith community unified and mobilized.”

After hearing from Wallis and other Christian leaders, Rauf declined the meeting with Jones, who never went through with his event.

With the controversy over the site and substance of his proposed Islamic center now spanning the globe, the imam is relying on an informal cabinet of faith-based advisors, many of them Christian and Jewish, for crisis management advice and moral support during the most difficult public crisis of his life.


- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: 'Ground zero mosque' • 9/11 • Houses of worship • Interfaith issues • Islam • Mosque • Muslim • New York • United States

Dispatch from pope's UK trip: Benedict's 'nice guy' effect
September 17th, 2010
11:03 AM ET

Dispatch from pope's UK trip: Benedict's 'nice guy' effect

CNN Senior Vatican Analyst John L. Allen Jr. filed this report from London.

When Benedict XVI was elected to the papacy in April 2005, I published a book that recounted the last days of Pope John Paul II, the inside story of the conclave that elected his successor, and predicted where the new pontificate would go. After it appeared I dutifully dropped off a copy for Benedict with an aide, though I had no expectation the pope would actually read it.

Imagine my surprise when a few weeks later the Vatican spokesperson, who was vacationing with Benedict in northern Italy, called me. He told me the pontiff had come down to breakfast that morning with my book in his hands, and he wished to relay a message.

“Please tell Herr Allen thank you for having written this book,” the spokesperson quoted him as saying, “especially the last part about the future of my papacy … because it has saved me the trouble of thinking about it for myself!”


- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Catholic Church • Europe • Pope Benedict XVI • United Kingdom

September 17th, 2010
07:00 AM ET

My Faith: Yom Kippur 1945, in a camp for Holocaust survivors

Stanley Abramovitch (seated, second from right) with American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee staff at a German displaced persons camp circa 1945.

Editor's Note: Stanley Abramovitch was born in Poland and lost his mother and two brothers in the Holocaust. He worked for the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee for 63 years before retiring in 2008 and continues to consult for the group.

By Stanley Abramovitch, Special to CNN

In October 1945, I spent Yom Kippur in the displaced persons camp in Landsberg in Bavaria, Germany, as the representative of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), working with displaced persons.

The liberated Jews who had been imprisoned in the nearby Dachau concentration camp, as well as those who had been forced to work in ammunition and other factories in Bavaria, were gathered into Landsberg and nearby Feldafing camps. Many Jews from other concentration camps had been forced-marched to this part of Germany, where the U.S. Army liberated them.

In Landsberg there was a spacious German Army barracks confiscated by the U.S. Army, in which some of the liberated Jews were housed. Basic food and medical care were provided by the Army, supplemented by assistance from JDC.


- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Holidays • Holocaust • Judaism • Opinion

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.