August 4th, 2011
06:07 PM ET

Jury finds Warren Jeffs guilty of sexual assault

By the CNN Wire Staff

San Angelo, Texas (CNN) - A Texas jury found polygamist sect leader Warren Jeffs guilty Thursday of two counts of sexual assault on a child.

Jeffs, who represented himself, remained stoic as the verdict was read. Jurors will deliberate again in the sentencing phase. The sect leader could face up to life in prison.

Jurors deliberated for less than four hours, beginning Thursday afternoon after Jeffs stood silently for most of his 30-minute closing argument.

It was the latest dramatic twist in a trial that has included sermon-like speeches about religious freedom and an audio recording that prosecutors allege documents Jeffs' sexual assault of a 12-year-old girl in the presence of three other "wives."

Read the full story here on the latested in the Jeffs trial

August 4th, 2011
01:16 PM ET

Mormon presidential politics

(CNN)–America is not ready for a Mormon president, according to Christian author Tricia Erickson. On Wednesday she told CNN's Tom Foreman on In the Arena that she believes a practicing Mormon should not be president because of their theological views on the afterlife and governance.

CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor Eric Marrapodi jumped into the fray on the topic with Foreman as well. He said while religious views shape Mormon politicians on a macro level, there is no evidence Mormon politicians have a "bat phone" to Utah and take orders from the leadership of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as the church is formally known.

While the U.S. Constitution says "no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States," Republican candidates for the White House Mitt Romney and John Huntsman – who are both Mormons – may have more ground to make up on this issue than previously thought.


August 4th, 2011
11:28 AM ET

Jury in sect leader's trial hears tape of alleged rape of girl, 12

By Jim Kyle, In Session

San Angelo, Texas (CNN) - Court resumes Thursday in the sexual assault trial of Warren Jeffs, with the polygamous sect leader - who is representing himself - continuing his questioning of his first witness.

On Wednesday, Texas prosecutors rested their case after playing a key piece of evidence for jurors: an audiotape they allege documents Jeffs' sexual assault of a then-12-year-old girl in the presence of three other "wives."

One juror wiped her eyes as she listened to the recording. Another looked at Jeffs out of the corner of her eye. Still another had a hand covering her mouth.

Read the full story here on the latested in the Jeffs trial

Ahmadinejad praises woman who pardons attacker
Ameneh Bahrami, who was blinded in both eyes after having acid hurled in her face, at her home in Tehran, on July 31.
August 4th, 2011
11:25 AM ET

Ahmadinejad praises woman who pardons attacker

By the CNN Wire Staff

Tehran, Iran (CNN) - Iran's president is lauding a woman for pardoning a man who blinded and disfigured her in an acid attack, a gesture of forgiveness reflecting the spirit of the Muslim month of Ramadan.

"The act of altruism that occurred is an honor for us and the Iranian nation and caused many to learn a lesson from this move and to change," Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told acid victim Ameneh Bahrami on Wednesday, the president's office reported on its website.

An Iranian court convicted Majid Movahedi in 2008 of pouring a bucket of acid on Bahrami, after she had rejected his unwanted advances for two years. She had asked for retributive justice and the court ruled the attacker should be blinded with acid.

Read the full story here
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Courts • Holidays • Islam • Islamic law • Ramadan

August 4th, 2011
04:00 AM ET

Bull riding for Jesus

By Ken Tuohey, CNN

Carroll County, Maryland (CNN) -Jon Bisset, who is one part cowboy and one part Christian missionary, is the owner of River Valley Ranch in Carroll County, Maryland.

It is a family business. Bisset's grandfather started the ranch after immigrating to the United States from Scotland in the 1920s, he said.

"He always had a fondness for the American cowboy, and he was a minister down in Baltimore city," Bisset said. "He saw a lot of kids getting in trouble during the summer time and thought this might be an opportunity to reach out to the kids of Baltimore city in a unique way."

So his grandfather started RVR, the first dude ranch on the East Coast, reaching out with the gospel to kids who ordinarily wouldn't step foot in a church, Bisset said.


- 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.

August 2011