June 24th, 2011
02:36 PM ET

Untold stories of rape during the Holocaust

By Jessica Ravitz, CNN

(CNN) - The soldiers came for her at night. They took the girl to a barrack and forced her to watch a woman get raped.

The drunken men then set loose a dog to rip off the raped woman's breasts. Blood was everywhere. The woman passed out.

The young witness was next. Five soldiers held her down and took turns raping and sodomizing her. They spilled alcohol on her. They laughed. They said they'd kill her. She didn't yet have breasts for the dog to attack.

Read more on the untold stories of the Holocaust
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Holocaust • Judaism • Violence

June 24th, 2011
02:11 PM ET

Explain it to me: Mormonism

With two Mormons running for the Republican presidential nomination and a play riffing on the religion tearing up Broadway, the country appears to be having a Mormon moment.

Here are 10 facts about Mormonism. What other questions do you have about the faith?

1. The official name of the Mormon church is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

2. Mormons consider themselves Christian but their beliefs and practices differ from traditional Christianity in key ways, including belief in sacred texts outside the Bible and practices like posthumous proxy baptism and wearing special undergarments.


- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Christianity • Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints • Mormonism

Verdict in self-help guru's sweat lodge trial stirs reaction among Native Americans
Self-help guru James Arthur Ray was found guilty of negligent homicide after three died in his sweat lodge ceremony.
June 24th, 2011
01:03 PM ET

Verdict in self-help guru's sweat lodge trial stirs reaction among Native Americans

By Jessica Ravitz, CNN

(CNN) - They didn’t serve on the jury, weren’t plaintiffs in the case, nor did they watch in the courtroom.

But for Native Americans who cleave to rituals passed on by their ancestors, the trial of self-help guru James Arthur Ray mattered.

Ray was convicted Wednesday of negligent homicide in the October 2009 deaths of Kirby Brown, James Shore and Lizbeth Marie Neuman. They died after participating in a sweat lodge ceremony Ray led during his “Spiritual Warrior” retreat outside Sedona, Arizona.

 At least 15 other participants fell ill, while 40 emerged from the experience uninjured. Each had paid about $10,000 for the five-day retreat experience.

The case fueled long-held frustrations of Native Americans who say their ancient traditions are being appropriated and exploited by “impersonators.” They resent that what is sacred to them is now seen by some as a death trap.


- CNN Writer/Producer

Filed under: Courts • Culture wars • Traditions

June 24th, 2011
09:17 AM ET

Yoga in Times Square

CNN Photojournalist Frank Bivona brings us this story about a huge group of people who found some serenity in Times Square to celebrate the summer solstice by practicing yoga.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Faith & Health • New York • United States • Yoga

June 24th, 2011
07:25 AM ET

Dutch right-winger Wilders cleared of anti-Muslim charges

(CNN) - Controversial Dutch politician Geert Wilders was cleared Thursday of inciting hatred against Muslims, the Dutch justice ministry said.

Wilders was tried for inciting discrimination and hatred over a controversial film he made about Islam.

The court in Amsterdam said comments by the leader of of the Party for Freedom were "denigrating," but not illegal, the ministry said.

Wilders' film "Fitna," which he released online in March 2008 to international outcry, features disturbing images of terrorist acts superimposed over verses from the Quran in an apparent attempt to paint Islam as a threat to Western society.

It drew complaints from the European Union and the Organization of the Islamic Conference, as well as concern from the United States.

Comments Wilders made in a variety of media between 2006 and 2008 formed part of the case against him.

Read the full story here about the case against Wilders.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Europe • Islam • Netherlands

How faith can help and hinder forgiveness
Former first lady Laura Bush was involved in a car accident which claimed a friend's life when she was a teenager.
June 24th, 2011
01:00 AM ET

How faith can help and hinder forgiveness

By Todd Leopold, CNN

(CNN) – When you can’t forgive yourself, it’s easy to lose faith in a higher power. It happened to no less than former first lady Laura Bush.

In November 1963, two days after she turned 17, the then Laura Welch was driving on a highway on the outskirts of Midland, Texas. Unaware of a stop sign at an approaching intersection, she plowed into a car being driven by a good friend from high school, Mike Douglas. She was unhurt; Douglas was killed. She recalled the incident in her memoir, “Spoken from the Heart.”

After the crash, she remembers saying, "Please, God, please, God, you know, let him be OK," she told CNN’s Larry King in an interview last year. “And you know,” she told King, “it was like no one heard.” She lost her faith for many years.

“I dealt with it by trying not to think about it,” she said. “You just swallowed your troubles and went on.”


- CNN.com Entertainment Producer

Filed under: Bible • Faith • God • Lost faith

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.