Government review of televangelists' finances released
January 7th, 2011
01:02 PM ET

Government review of televangelists' finances released

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

The result of a Senate committee's long-awaited review of media-based ministries has finally been released.

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, began the investigation into six televangelists in November 2007, when he was head of the Senate Committee on Finance. His office released the review Thursday.

At issue was compensation for the pastors and ministry leaders who openly led lavish lifestyles while their ministries received tax-exempt status from the Internal Revenue Service.

The review by the committee did not impose new rules on the religious organizations or suggest they be stripped of their tax-exempt status. But it did bring to light compensation practices that may raise eyebrows in the non-profit community and lead to a discussion of new tax policies for religious organizations.


- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Church • Church and state • Politics • United States

January 7th, 2011
10:59 AM ET

My Take: U.S. is Christian nation, Congress data shows

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

Years ago, a graduate student and I spent untold hours trying to track down the religious affiliations of various state and national politicians — all in an effort to see which religious groups had more political clout, and which had less. I am happy to report that this work is now being done, at least for the U.S. Congress, by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life.

“Faith on the Hill: The Religious Composition of the 112th Congress" tells us a lot of things we already knew, but enough new things to make for interesting reading.


- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: Baptist • Christianity • Church and state • Episcopal • Leaders • Politics • Polls • United States

Egypt's Muslims support Coptic Christians on religious holiday
An Egyptian Coptic Christian translates into sign language during Christmas midnight mass at Abassiya Cathedral in Cairo on January 6, 2011.
January 7th, 2011
10:21 AM ET

Egypt's Muslims support Coptic Christians on religious holiday

Egyptian Muslims attended Christmas services Friday in a show of solidarity with Coptic Christians days after a bombing killed 23 congregants in the country's north.

Coptic Christians celebrate Christmas Day according to the Julian calendar, and observed it on Friday this year.

Security was tight around churches after the blast on New Year's Day outside the Church of the Two Saints in Alexandria.

Congregants were forced to empty their pockets before the start of the service as part of security measures set up after the bombing.

Read the full story here about the Coptic Christmas celebrations.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Africa • Christianity • Coptic • Egypt

January 7th, 2011
10:15 AM ET

Disgraced pastor Ted Haggard returns in cable TV special

Ted Haggard, the former megachurch pastor and former National Association of Evangelicals chief whose career was undone by a sex and drugs scandal in 2006, will appear in a cable TV special this month.

"Ted Haggard: Scandalous" will explore his fall from grace, he said. "It shows the drama and the intrigue" that exploded following revelations that he had engaged in sexual encounters with a male prostitute and purchased crystal meth. Haggard described the scandal as "highly embarrassing and shameful for me."

The show is scheduled to air on TLC on January 16.

In 2006, Haggard acknowledged having received a massage from a Denver, Colorado, man who said that the prominent pastor had paid him for sex over three years.

Read the full story here.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Christianity

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.