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December 14th, 2011
04:31 AM ET

Belief Blog's Morning Speed Read for Wednesday, December 14

By Dan Merica, CNN

Here's the Belief Blog’s morning rundown of the top faith-angle stories from around the United States and around the world. Click the headlines for the full stories.

From the Blog:

CNN: In outrage over Lowe’s controversy, moderation is drowned out
Almost anyone with an opinion, from bloggers to commentators and Twitters users, aired diverging views. And though the viewpoints getting the most coverage were from those with the biggest platforms, there is growing sentiment online that what Lowe's did was wrong but allowable.

Matisyahu, who was known for his long beard, issued a statement Tuesday that his beard is no longer.

CNN: Famed Hasidic reggae star sheds the Hasid part?
Think Matisyahu, and there’s an image: A man in a long beard, sidelocks and a skullcap – an obviously and deeply religious man who became a music sensation, blending reggae and hip hop with the most traditional of Jewish themes. But hear that record scratching to a stop? The man behind the music issued a big statement Tuesday, when he blasted over Twitter the image of who he is now, thanks to a razor.

CNN: Bush aide finds forgiveness and a second career
Tim Goeglein never expected to see the president again, let alone get called into the Oval Office, because he committed the ultimate Washington sin – he betrayed the boss.

CNN: Gingrich promises ‘personal fidelity’ in pledge
Newt Gingrich stepped up his efforts to appeal to evangelical Christian voters in Iowa Monday by promising in writing to "defend and strengthen the family."

CNN: Police raid in Pakistan finds chained students at religious school
Police in Pakistan raided an Islamic religious school Monday and found 50 students chained to one another and being held in an underground room.

CNN: Sandusky’s pastor stands by him through sex abuse crisis
As former Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky faced his accusers on Tuesday for the first time since he was indicted on child sex abuse charges, his pastor of 20 years was at the courthouse.

The wooden ramp serves as the sole entrance for Jews and foreign tourists to enter the plaza known as the Temple Mount to Jews and the Noble Sanctuary to Muslims.

CNN: Walkway to sensitive religious sites in Jerusalem is closed
A pedestrian walkway that leads to a religious site sacred both to Jews and Muslims has been closed under an order from the Jerusalem municipality, according to city officials.

Tweet of the Day:

From @r2the: Woke up, read this, now crying. RT School pulls Hindu song from holiday concert after parent complains http://huff.to/u6rbUo

Enlightening Reads:

Washington Post: Newt Gingrich and religious conservatives: A marriage of convenience
The latest polls show a surging Newt Gingrich winning substantial support among white evangelical voters, the key voting bloc in the upcoming Iowa Caucuses. Those same voters, who comprise the core of the religious right movement, powered former minister Mike Huckabee to a Corn State upset in 2008.

Christian Post: Churches ‘Essential’ to Fighting Child Homelessness, Expert Says
Churches are "essential" to the success of antipoverty programs, says an expert on poverty and child homelessness.

America: After U.S. departure, a shaky Christmas present for Iraq Christians
The good news, of course, for America is that U.S. troops are returning home and the costly adventure in Iraq drawing to a close. According to the timetable endorsed by Iraq and the United States, virtually all U.S. troops should be on their way home by the end of December.

Catholic News Agency: State board rejects legal complaint against archdiocese pro-marriage DVD
The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis did not violate state campaign laws by mailing a DVD on marriage to 400,000 Catholics before the 2010 election, Minnesota’s Campaign Finance Board ruled Dec. 8.

One of the families on All-American Muslim

New Yorker: The Attack on “All-American Muslim”
The show has become the target of an ugly campaign by a group called the Florida Family Association, which calls it “propaganda that riskily hides the Islamic agenda’s clear and present danger to American liberties and traditional values.” That someone, somewhere, would yell at the television when presented with images of Arab-Americans getting married or ready for school or running a football practice is sad, but might not be surprising.

Quote of the Day:

Your eccentric battle strategy has got animal rights groups quite concerned, Major.

Al-Shabaab, the Somali Islamist militant group with al Qaeda links has gained nearly 3,000 followers since it began tweeting quips like this one directed at a Kenyan army spokesman. The spokesman had tweeted about bombing concentrations of donkeys that were allegedly moving weapons for the insurgents, so Al-Shabaab decided to engage the enemy… on Twitter.

Today’s Opinion:

Huffington Post: The Challenge of Christmas
The Christian challenge of Christmas is this: justice is what happens when all receive a fair share of God's world and only such distributive justice can establish peace on earth. But how can we ever agree on what is fair for all? Hint: ask what is fair - in first or 21st century–of the 99 percent of earth's people and not of the 1 percent.

Join the conversation…

CNN: My Take: Is ‘All-American Muslim’ begetting all-American bigotry?
Imagine for a moment that a major American corporation decided to remove its commercials from a reality television show highlighting the everyday lives of Latinos, African-Americans, members of the LGBT community or Jewish Americans because of coordinated letter-writing campaigns from right-wing organizations.

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Uncategorized

soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. John

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1_6PxnvaySw

    December 14, 2011 at 2:31 pm |
    • .....

      TRASH ALERT – don't bother viewing this garbage, click the report abuse link to get rid of the pathetic TROLL!

      December 14, 2011 at 2:37 pm |
  2. It is what it is

    From above: "Churches are "essential" to the success of antipoverty programs, says an expert on poverty and child homelessness."
    If they were essential, then why haven't religious charities ever succeeded in addressing poverty for the past several thousand years? I'll tell you why. It's because they cannot and will not be consistent or fair.
    The historical failure of religious organizations to address real-world problems is why we have the Food Stamp program and all the other government programs.
    Religions do not serve all people, do not receive consistent or dependable monies, and do not distribute their "help" efficiently or effectively. If they had, history would have been very, very different.
    This is nothing more than a bid to gut the programs that DO help all Americans!
    By pretending that churches can do it all, they are hoping to convince ignorant church-goers into supporting massive cuts in the very programs that these people are pretending they could do better.
    If they slashed government assistance to the poor, they would then just stand back and say, "well we only help our own" and do their best to "convert or starve" people into joining their morally bankrupt churches using the least resources possible.
    This is a bid for more forced religious conversions due to this policy of "convert or die" that has been modernized to say "convert or starve" while using such sayings as "you don't work you don't eat" and all that false rhetoric we've seen coming from the right-wing for decades.
    Churches cannot feed a city of working poor or even all the poor. They can't do it because they see nothing wrong with being poor or having people suffer horrible things. Religions are all about the after-death "golden parachute" and not about helping anyone receive justice or fairness in the real world of right now.
    They are good at excuses but bad at accountability. That is not the sort of mind-set we need to help the poor. That is just the right-wing mentality of unchecked criminal behavior being supported by avoidance of responsibility.
    There is no responsibility in your heart if you think you will get rewarded for nothing and see all the people you don't like being punished forever. That is abdicating responsibility and it shows in the actions of religious people all over the world.
    "Essential", yeah, right. Without forcing people to pay a set amount, like the government does, churches cannot sustain any effort or program, cannot act consistently and cannot help all people effectively. They are delusional to think so.

    December 14, 2011 at 9:43 am |
    • Bo

      @It is what it is: You seem so sure of yourself, what published facts do you base your comments on or is just your biased opinion? Without positive proof, I think your comments are garbage. What you have said just isn't true, not that you are a lier, just biased. I believe anti-religious fanatics witll say anything to get noticed.

      December 14, 2011 at 11:30 am |
    • It is what it is

      Oh, yeah, I live for YOUR approval, Bo! Thanks for stopping by. LOL

      December 14, 2011 at 11:43 am |
    • Bo

      Like the rest of the world needs your approval

      December 14, 2011 at 7:22 pm |
  3. Hot Carl

    "A woman was beheaded in Saudi Arabia for practicing witchcraft and sorcery, the kingdom's Interior Ministry said, prompting Amnesty International to call for a halt in executions there.
    Amina bint Abdel Halim Nassar was executed Monday for having "committed the practice of witchcraft and sorcery," according to an Interior Ministry statement. Nassar was investigated before her arrest and was "convicted of what she was accused of based on the law," the statement said. Her beheading took place in the Qariyat province of the region of Al-Jawf, the ministry said."

    And THIS is the religeon that wants acceptance and tolerance, when they don't practice it themselves? I say killemall!

    December 14, 2011 at 8:36 am |
    • Hot Carl

      Oh yeah, FIRSTY!

      December 14, 2011 at 8:37 am |
    • AGuest9

      So, basically HER hokey beliefs were the WRONG hokey beliefs, so they killed her for them.

      December 14, 2011 at 10:01 am |
    • Nonimus

      "And THIS is the religeon that wants acceptance and tolerance, when they don't practice it themselves?"

      No, this was done by the country of Saudi Arabia, not Islam or even Sharia, it was the Saudi implementation of it's interpretation of Sharia, that's all.

      December 14, 2011 at 12:12 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      AGuest9, your post reminded me of "So, basically HER hokey beliefs were the WRONG hokey beliefs, so they killed her for them:

      Answer: Sign on someone's property at the Cape "What if the hokey pokey is what it's all about"?

      December 14, 2011 at 4:02 pm |
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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.