December 2nd, 2010
06:18 PM ET

My take: Where's the outrage over Noah's Ark park?

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 four-minute video that includes an eleven-second depiction of a crucifix crawling with ants has been removed from the “Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture” exhibit at the National Portrait Gallery, but it is still stirring up controversy in Washington, DC.

First, incoming House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Virginia) blasted the National Portrait Gallery for its “obvious attempt to offend Christians during the Christmas season,” while the incoming House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and other Republicans threatened to scrutinize Smithsonian funding next year.


- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: Art • Bible • Church and state • Culture wars • Fundamentalism • Opinion • United States

A Cutie baby
December 2nd, 2010
04:52 PM ET

A Cutie baby

By CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor Eric Marrapodi in Washington.

Father Alberto Cutie, the world famous former Catholic priest who dramatically broke his vow of celibacy, took to twitter and his website to announce the birth of his new baby. (Spoiler alert) It's a girl.

With thanksgiving to God, the giver of all life, my wife and I announce the birth of our beautiful baby daughter Camila Victoria Cutié.

We also take this opportunity to thank our family, church community and friends for your love and support. Your prayers and best wishes are truly appreciated.

There is great joy in being a Father, who is also a "father." We are truly blessed!


- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Anglican • Belief • Catholic Church • Christianity • Episcopal • News media

December 2nd, 2010
12:09 PM ET

"Christmas" returns to Philly's Christmas village

Editor's Note: CNN Affiliate WPVI's Sarah Bloomquist brings us this story from Philadelphia.

The word in a sign that sparked so much controversy will return to a holiday display, or more specifically, a Christmas display outside Philadelphia City Hall.

Mayor Michael Nutter is promising that at some point today, the word "Christmas" will go back up on the two signs outside of City Hall on Dilworth Plaza, welcoming visitors to the merchant village.

The signs currently read simply "Village". The operator of the merchant village was going to add the word "Holiday" but even that got scrapped. Now "Christmas" will return after two days of controversy.

The mayor told reporters Tuesday, "I am pleased to let you know that Christmas Village is back. The sign will be back."

Christmas Village is Christmas Village again. On Tuesday, after hearing of complaints from citizens and city workers about religious diversity and inclusiveness, organizers of the German-inspired merchant fair decided to take down the word Christmas on the large signs outside City Hall – only to have the mayor reverse that decision yesterday.

The mayor called for Christmas to come back by Thursday morning. Holiday is out – Christmas back in.

Read the full story from CNN Affiliate WPVI.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Christmas • Holidays • Politics

Ricky Skaggs jumps out of the bluegrass boat
December 2nd, 2010
10:54 AM ET

Ricky Skaggs jumps out of the bluegrass boat

Ricky Skaggs knows that he'll always be associated with bluegrass, always be thought of as the new face of the genre after his hero Bill Monroe passed away. He loves playing it.

"The bluegrass boat was working," he said by phone recently. "The boat I was sailing around in was working ... and I've had such joy working with [the band] Kentucky Thunder playing some great bluegrass."

Skaggs first appeared on stage 50 years ago, playing his mandolin with Monroe. A year later he was on the Martha White show, picking with Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs.

He won 16 Grammys playing bluegrass. But he had long felt there was something more.

"For years I had been believing, and trusting, that God was going to pour out a new sound that would go out into the markets, go out into the streets where hurting people, lost people, lonely people, that there would be a music that would touch people," he said.


- Producer/Writer

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Music

December 2nd, 2010
10:28 AM ET

Penalized for thanking God?

Editor's Note: CNN Affiliate KOMO brings us this story.

Tumwater beat East Valley 63-27 on Monday night at the Tacoma Dome during the 2A state semifinal game, but a post-touchdown penalty call was a big surprise for the player responsible.

In the second quarter of the game, Tumwater running back Ronnie Hastie scored on a 23-yard run, took a knee in the end zone and briefly pointed to the heavens above.

For that the referee threw a flag, saying it was unsportsmanlike conduct.

Hastie said he's pointed up as a gesture to God after every touchdown he's scored in every game and never had a problem before.

"It's usually one or two seconds long," he said. "It's something I've done as a tradition."

Hastie said he asked the ref why he was penalized, and the ref responded that Hastie wasn't supposed to draw attention to himself.

"That wasn't the point (of the gesture), so I guess I was a little confused," Hastie said. "I do that to give glory to my heavenly father, Jesus. He gives me the strength. He's the one who gives me these abilities in the first place."

Read the full story from CNN Affiliate KOMO.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Religious liberty • Sports

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.