August 30th, 2011
04:23 PM ET

Preparing clergy for war: army chaplains train by the hundred for the combat zone

By Eric Marrapodi and Chris Lawrence, CNN

Fort Jackson, South Carolina (CNN) – The summer sun beats down on camouflaged Kevlar helmets.  Weighed down by heavy body armor, men and women of the cloth are crawling through sand, under barbed wire and learning how to run with soldiers.

Explosions in woods simulate the battlefield as an instructor barks commands.

"You are not following simple instructions!  Cover me while I move!  Got you covered!  Let's go!"

This is the U.S. Army Chaplain Center and School at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, where the Army trains clergy of all faiths how to survive in combat.


- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Afghanistan • Belief • Buddhism • Christianity • Content Partner • Hinduism • Iraq • Islam • Middle East • Military • TV-The Situation Room

August 30th, 2011
03:55 PM ET

Polygamist leader Jeffs critical but responsive, prison officials say

By the CNN Wire Staff

Dallas (CNN) - Polygamist leader Warren Jeffs remained in critical condition in a Texas hospital on Tuesday, but was not in a coma and is expected to recover, state prison officials said.

Jeffs fell ill while fasting in a prison in Palestine, Texas, where he is serving a life-plus-20-year term for sexual assault, Texas Department of Criminal Justice spokesman Jason Clark said. But while a source familiar with Jeffs' condition told CNN Monday that the leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was in a coma, Clark said Tuesday that Jeffs was conscious.

"He's somewhat sedated, but he is responsive," Clark wrote.

Read the full story here.

Warren Jeffs hospitalization raises questions about successor
Warren Jeffs has led the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints since 2002.
August 30th, 2011
03:25 PM ET

Warren Jeffs hospitalization raises questions about successor

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

News that polygamist leader Warren Jeffs has landed in the hospital and is in critical condition raises the question of who will lead his breakaway Mormon sect when Jeffs dies or if he becomes incapacitated.

It turns out that Jeffs, 55 and serving a life-plus-20-year prison sentence, is likely to be replaced as head of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) in the relative near term, even if he survives for decades to come.

Jeffs had succeeded in leading his church from jail in Texas in the leadup to his trial on sexual assault charges this summer, but prison is much more restrictive.


- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Crime • Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints • Texas

Bachmann points to 'great sense of humor' after God joke
Michele Bachmann said Monday she was joking about Hurricane Irene being a message from God
August 30th, 2011
12:12 PM ET

Bachmann points to 'great sense of humor' after God joke

(CNN) – Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann defended her recent comments about natural disasters in Washington, D.C. serving as messages from God, saying she was joking.

"I have a great sense of humor and I think it's important to exhibit that humor sometimes when you are talking to people as well," Bachmann said Monday at a campaign event in Miami. "Of course I was being humorous when I said that."

Read the full story here from CNN's Political Ticker
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Michele Bachmann • Politics

August 30th, 2011
09:47 AM ET

Muslim festival brings rare joy for some this year, but not all cheer

By Richard Allen Greene and Yasmeen Amer, CNN

For Christians, the wild celebrations of Mardi Gras come before the solemnity of Lent, a last chance to celebrate before the abstinence marking the 40 days to Good Friday and Easter.

Muslims do it the other way around. First comes the month of daytime fasting during Ramadan, then the eruption of joy called Eid al-Fitr, marked with gift-giving, new clothes, donations to the poor, feasting and festivities.

But as the sighting of a crescent moon officially marked the beginning of Eid on Tuesday, feelings are decidedly mixed for many Muslims.

There's joy tempered with concern on Tahrir Square in Egypt, which saw a successful revolution topple President Hosni Mubarak this year. And there's optimism in Libya, where 42 years of rule by Moammar Gadhafi seem to be coming to an end.

Read the full story
- Newsdesk editor, The CNN Wire

Filed under: Egypt • Eid al-Fitr • Islam • Middle East • Pakistan • Syria • Uncategorized

U.S. Muslims happy with their country despite pressure, study finds
More than half of American Muslims say it’s harder to be a Muslim in America since the September 11, 2001, terror attacks.
August 30th, 2011
12:01 AM ET

U.S. Muslims happy with their country despite pressure, study finds

By Richard Allen Greene, CNN

People look at Zeinab Chami a little warily sometimes, she says, especially when she travels outside big cities.

She started wearing a headscarf when she was in her early 20s, making herself "a visible Muslim."

That "can really be an emotional strain," she says.

Life is getting harder for American Muslims, she says, given the media's portrayal of Muslims, the false perception that President Barack Obama is Muslim, and the rise of the tea party, whose most vocal leaders, according to Chami, "spew vitriol against anyone perceived to be 'foreign.'"


- Newsdesk editor, The CNN Wire

Filed under: Islam • Polls • United States

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