December 15th, 2011
05:00 AM ET

Belief Blog's Morning Speed Read for Thursday, December 15

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: Occupy 2.0? Church leaders join movment
A group of African-American church leaders announced Wednesday their intention to join ranks with the Occupy movement in the nation's capital, bolstering what some consider a mutual message of condemning income inequality and social injustice.

Islamist parties appear headed for a decisive majority in the first freely elected parliament since the ouster of former dictator Hosni Mubarak.

CNN: Young Egyptians use Facebook, coffee to bring religions together
A group in Cairo is using a Facebook page to unite Egypt's different religions at a local coffeehouse in the upper-class suburb of Maadi.

CNN: Key Gingrich staff member departs over Mormon comment
Craig Bergman, Iowa campaign director for GOP presidential front-runner Newt Gingrich, stepped down from his role Tuesday amid reports he made a controversial comment about Mormonism.

Two Video Thursday:


Enlightening Reads:

New York Times: Have Evangelicals Lost Their Sway?
Evangelicals in Iowa are stumped: The two leading candidates in the G.O.P. primary are a Mormon and a twice-divorced Catholic. Is this a sign that evangelicals have lost influence in the Republican Party?

Sojourners: Catholic Bishops: Unemployment Benefits are Pro-Life
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) released a letter to Congress on Monday concerning unemployment benefits. Bishop Leonard Blaire of Toledo, Ohio, the letter's signatory, makes the argument that unemployment benefits are a “right to life” or pro-life issue.

Slate: What’s the Difference between a Religion and a Cult? And where does Mormonism fit in?
Newt Gingrich’s Iowa campaign director resigned on Tuesday, after reportedly referring to Mormonism as a "cult." Would Mormonism count as such by any scholarly definition?

The start of a year in review…

Rick Perry has made religion a major part of his campaign platform.

USA Today: Rick Perry ties pope, doomsday prophet in poll
Rick Perry, now prancing about the woods touting he's “Strong” on religion, as his ad is called, is one of three newsmakers in a virtual tie for the Religion Newsmaker of the year voting by Religion Newswriters Association.

Washington Post: Bin Laden’s death rated top religion news story
The death of Osama bin Laden and the reactions it produced among people of faith was rated the No. 1 religion news story of 2011 by the nation’s leading religion journalists.

Quote of the Day:

We don’t think of it as a discrepancy. To us, if you have no faith, you are atheist. The word 'atheist' has such negative connotation, that many people don’t like to label themselves that way… Being without a god belief makes you an atheist. Agnostics are atheists, for example, since they don't have a god belief.

Shellie Brighton, president of the Seattle Atheists, defended an ad her organization ran that claimed 25 percent of Washingtonians are atheists by saying the above. According to Brighton, though many people don’t identify as atheists, due to a stigma, many atheists don’t identify themselves as such.

Today’s Opinion:

Tim Tebow has created a conversation around football, religion and God.

Huffington Post: If Tim Tebow were Muslim, would America still love him?
The phenomenon that is Tim Tebow has extended outside the realms of the gridiron and into pop culture. Does he have God on his side? Would America love him if he was just as conservative and just as vocal, yet a member of the Islamic faith?

Join the conversation…

CNN: Jesus toasters selling briskly
This holiday season, Galen Dively, a Vermont entrepreneur, is capitalizing on the hunger for Jesus crust.

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Uncategorized

soundoff (22 Responses)
  1. patrick

    Nobody is flooding and forcibly “integrating” every black nations and ONLY black nations with non-blacks and calling native blacks evil racists for opposing their replacement. This is happening in white nations and ONLY in white nations. They say they are anti-racist. What they are is anti-white. Anti-racist is a code word for anti-white. Its genocide.

    December 16, 2011 at 8:27 pm |
  2. TreyPorter

    Africa for the Africans,Asia for the Asians,white countries for EVERYBODY!

    Mass immigration and "assimilation" forced on all white countries and ONLY white countries.

    Genocide is genocide,it makes no difference legally whether it is accomplished by bullets and mustard gas,or mass immigration and social engineering.

    Anti-racist is a codeword for anti-white.

    December 16, 2011 at 1:23 pm |
  3. John


    December 15, 2011 at 7:28 pm |
    • .....

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

      December 16, 2011 at 3:24 pm |
  4. Errrr

    Chuckles you are making a blanket statement about all political prisoners and are sounding really stupid. There you go.

    December 15, 2011 at 5:36 pm |
  5. hippypoet

    just some stuff to ponder while you await death.

    The man called jesus has nothing to do with god besides when he spoke about the dude... his message was one of love and compassion... nothing to worship there just a good man with a good message – then when he claims to know things about the afterlife and so called kingdom of heaven all come from eastern beliefs dating from 500 to 600 years before jesus was said to have lived. Zoroasterianism and Buddhism. He combined eastern philosophy and Jewish mysticism to create an image of a caring god who loved you, no matter your faults... this god didn't exist in Jewish belief before this point. He was a vengeful, angry, and jelous god who by force upheld his laws upon man. Just a point of view formed by the history of beliefs and how they evolved over time...From the Jewish god stems war and hatred with stronge racism...all great godly things right? The whole of history around the Jewish god is a history of the evolvtion of warfare and military tactics. The Jewish god even destroyed the entire planet with water yet loves you all even with every fault...interesting!

    just think about it!

    December 15, 2011 at 10:25 am |
    • DeathWill

      I'd rather think of a good way to die. Got any ideas on the best way to commit suicide?

      December 15, 2011 at 10:32 am |
    • Chuckles

      ....how do you know Zoroastrianism and Buddhism didn't take THEIR ideas FROM god?!

      BOOM! Mind blown!

      Also, jewish god maybe a racist bigot who promotes vengence, warfare and jealousy, but I fail to see why that's a bad thing. Why shouldn't I be able to say to myself that I'm better than everyone else simply because of who my parents were and this voice told me I was. According to a lot of believers around here, as long as I have FAITH in that idea, nothing else matters

      December 15, 2011 at 10:34 am |
    • hippypoet

      @DeathWill – overdose on some really good drugs and fade to black!

      @Chuckles- "how do you know Zoroastrianism and Buddhism didn't take THEIR ideas FROM god?! "

      well i don't – but in a past post of mine i found in the book of Homiles that Nimrod is made to be the same man or likiness of that of Zoroaster himself, and since Nimrod is the son of Cush grand son of Noah according to the Torah, it may be a 4th belief system based off the same god anyway, but this would have predated Abraham's creation of a belief system as he was still fighting Nimrod for freedom in the city of Nineveh making it the original not a copy. So what now! 🙂
      how about that for a mind blow huh!

      But there is evidence that states the belief system called Zoroastrianism was around in the 1200 bc timeline so that again would predate Abraham which is often stated to have been aroundas late as 600 bc or as early as 1000 bc – still 200 years shy of firsties!

      December 15, 2011 at 10:43 am |
    • Chuckles


      you, with your facts and dates, won't deter me! God came down from the skyhad a chat with zoroaster and siddhartha, but they got some interference and messed everything up so god was like "me-damn, it's really ture that if you want something right you have to do it yourself" and that's why he found a virgin (we all know that if you had the pick of any woman in the entire world, married virgins would be at the top of the list) impregnated her with himself so he could appear on earth and preach his message himself. Get it?!

      December 15, 2011 at 10:55 am |
    • Cal

      Sup hippy? You apparently have set the record for stalkers on the CNN boards. I saw your name on a board earlier spouing some racist BS. Your fake was quickly called out though. Apparently there is a lot of hippy envy going on.

      December 15, 2011 at 11:41 am |
    • hippypoet

      @Cal , lol. yes that seems to be true. I must have said something right to gain such a following. Only they are not the good kind of following where i can say lets all drink the punch and they blindly listen (they are that kind of people however) instead they wait and see when i screw up spelling or say something they know about and then they jump on my posts in an attempt to take ceditiblity away – whats funny is most of the time they haven't a thing to say because i am right or i pose an argument that is very solid and then they just get mad and suddenly i see another hippypoet posting something stupid and racist or mean or just plain against me....sad really! When will the children learn?

      December 15, 2011 at 12:06 pm |
  6. conservativeforAmerica

    This guy at the Huffington post is comical! I do not think god cares about football itself, but he is rewarding a loyal servant to the one and onlu true god! why would you serve a god that says you have to kill or convert non believers? Or tells you it is ok to rap women as long as they are non-muslims or it is ok to steal from people as long as they are non-muslim do you not see anything wrong with this? Do you really think that their are 72 virgin women waiting on you? I got news for you that is a religion of perversion and malice and that is not my opinion that is what was written!

    December 15, 2011 at 7:01 am |
    • Bo

      The question may well be asked: What criteria do you use for choosing what god to worship and serve? And how do you serve that god?

      December 15, 2011 at 9:10 am |
    • hippypoet

      those are great questions Bo.... but how about "Why serve god" or "Why worship anything" and then end with "Isn't life beautiful and meaningful by itself before adding the thought that you are so important as to be made in the image of a supreme being"

      Just keep in mind that if you are to ask any amount of questons, the choice as to which question to ask is paramount!

      December 15, 2011 at 9:14 am |
    • The Jackdaw

      I suppose Catholicism has never done or said or believed anything stupid, right? Right?

      December 15, 2011 at 10:04 am |
    • DeathWill

      hippypoet, life can be ugly and insane because life is just a name we have for what we experience as humans.
      Ask any political prisoner who has been tortured and abused how beautiful they think life is. As any child who has suffered nothing but abuse and hate how beautiful they think their lives are. Ask those who have seen the mangled remains of children after a suicide bombing how beautiful they thought it was. Ask anyone who is ugly or looks funny how beautiful they think life is.
      And then go write a poem or something. If you don't allow for the effects of your damaged brain, why should anyone listen to you unless they are brain-damaged as well?

      December 15, 2011 at 10:41 am |
    • hippypoet

      @DeathWill – thank you for getting my overall point, life is what it is and no amount of god worshipping is going to change it. And by either blaming the horrors and joys on god or saying that its god's plan its a childrens game of not taking responiblity for ones actions!

      December 15, 2011 at 10:46 am |
    • DeathWill

      hippypoet, of the examples I gave, just try to list one where the victims are responsible. Go ahead. I have all day.

      December 15, 2011 at 10:54 am |
    • DeathWill

      and I see you think im religious. Well we aren't really communicating very well are we? I'm out of here.

      December 15, 2011 at 10:56 am |
    • Chuckles


      Um.... Political prisoners are sort of responsible for their predicament in the sense that they knew the risks and still did it anyways. Now, if you want to discuss whether it's right or wrong that these people have had horrible things done to them just because of what they think.... well that depends on whose side your on, but to answer your direct question, there you go.

      December 15, 2011 at 10:59 am |
    • hippypoet

      oh deathwill.... they are called victims because its not there fault – the one doing the deed is acting out for a reason and thats the responiblity i was referring to. Acting out is again a childrens game, why accecpt that it was me and my fault when i can lash out on others. Kinda like you calling me a brain damaged person. I have no doubt that i have damaged my brain, but if you need to be as i am to understand me then perhaps it has little to do with the damage i took but more to do with the intelligence of you to comprehend.
      If god existed and loved its creation, no acts of such would be known for god would cease the action from ever taking place – lacking this power perhaps, but if so, then not so godly and not worth worshipping. But having this power and yet allowing these actions to presist like they do is again not worth worshipping not matter how powerful and "all-knowing". Caring, love, and comp@ssion are the so called hallmarks of the abrahamic god, yet evils exist with seemly no concern for the amount of pray to cease there evils....perhaps god is just evil – again, not worth worshipping – unless you evil, but then i doubt you'd take the time.

      December 15, 2011 at 11:07 am |
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.