Accused assassin greeted with flowers
January 6th, 2011
03:01 PM ET

Assassin or hero? Pakistan's great divide over killer of governor

Imagine this: One of the top politicians of your country is gunned down by his own bodyguard. Shocking, but not unheard of.

Now imagine this: The very next day, the assassin shows up at court and is given a hero's welcome. Supporters shower him with rose petals and put a garland around his neck.

Sound bizarre? Well, that's exactly what has happened this week in Pakistan.

The killing and its aftermath highlight as never before the fast-growing divide between the country's secular and religious forces. It's a divide that's symbolized by the life and death of Salman Taseer, the slain governor of Punjab province.

To understand this divide it's important to know a bit more about Taseer's background. He was the son of an urban intellectual, born the year before the creation of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan in 1947. His political thoughts were forged at his English-style high school in posh Lahore, and then furthered in his time studying accounting in England. Taseer lived and died a Muslim.

Read the full story here about the debate in Pakistan of the death of a governor.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Asia • Belief • Interfaith issues • Pakistan • Violence

January 6th, 2011
01:37 PM ET

How faith helped uncover a 'golden voice'

It’s the urban drama most of us have been forced to play. A panhandler stands outside your car window, invoking God and asking for help. What do you do?

For many, the answer is nothing, Keep the windows rolled up and drive straight ahead. Homeless people pleading for help are now so numerous that they’ve become what one pastor called “visual white noise” in our contemporary landscape.

Five weeks ago, though, Doral Chenoweth III, made another decision. He stopped for Ted Williams, a man we now know as “the homeless guy with the golden voice.”

We know what’s happened to Williams:  overnight fame,  job offers. But what about Chenoweth? What made him stop for Williams? It turns out Chenoweth has a story of his own, and it’s rooted in his faith.

- CNN Writer

Filed under: Charity • Christianity

Discovery, Catholic Church behind exorcism series
"The Exorcist Files" will recreate stories of real-life hauntings based on cases investigated by the Catholic Church.
January 6th, 2011
10:55 AM ET

Discovery, Catholic Church behind exorcism series

By James Hibberd, EW.com

(EW.com) - Discovery Channel is teaming with the Vatican for an unprecedented new series hunting the deadliest catch of all: Demons.

"The Exorcist Files" will recreate stories of real-life hauntings and demonic possession, based on cases investigated by the Catholic Church. The project includes access into the Vatican's case files, as well as interviews with the organization's top exorcists - religious experts who are rarely seen on television.

"The Vatican is an extraordinarily hard place to get access to, but we explained we're not going to try to tell people what to think," says Discovery president and GM Clark Bunting.

Bunting says the investigators believe a demon can inhabit an inanimate object (like a home) or a person. The network executive says he was initially skeptical when first meeting the team but was won over after more than three hours of talks.

Read the full story here about the new exorcism series here.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Catholic Church • Christianity • Devil • Vatican

Bhutan's treasured wall paintings
January 6th, 2011
10:44 AM ET

Bhutan offers rare glimpse inside historic temples

The isolated kingdom of Bhutan has opened its doors to a team of art experts in order to preserve its Buddhist history.

Working for the first time in collaboration with Bhutan's Department of Culture, conservators from The Courtauld Institute of Art in England have spent the last three years documenting some of the reclusive kingdom's most precious wall paintings.

According to Lisa Shekede, leader of the project, the wall paintings date from around the 17th century and are some of the best surviving works in the region.

The team visited over 200 temples - sometimes trekking for an entire day to reach remote monasteries - and documented around 50 paintings in detail.

Read the full story about the rare temples here.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Asia • Belief • Buddhism

Egypt beefs up security for Coptic Christmas Eve
An Egyptian Christian boy holds a cross pendant outside a Coptic church in Cairo on January 5, 2011.
January 6th, 2011
10:40 AM ET

Egypt beefs up security for Coptic Christmas Eve

Egyptian authorities beefed up security Thursday as Coptic Christians warily ushered in Christmas Eve after a New Year's Day bombing in front of a church that killed nearly two dozen of their members.

The Coptic Christians celebrate Christmas according to the Julian calendar and therefore will observe it Friday.

"Police plan a large-scale security operation for tonight to protect Egypt's Coptic Christians and their churches." Col. Alla Mahmoud of the interior ministry said.

In addition, hundreds of supporters gathered outside the prestigious Al-Azhar University on Thursday in a show of solidarity for the Coptic community.

On Wednesday, Egyptian authorities released a sketch of a man they think may be responsible for the attack.

Read the full story here about beefed up Coptic Christmas Eve security.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Coptic • Death

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.