December 16th, 2011
04:34 AM ET

Belief Blog's Morning Speed Read for Friday, December 16

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: Gingrich vows to be faithful to wife
CNN's John King talked with Pastor Jim Garlow of Skyline Church in La Mesa, California and Richard Land, the head of the Southern Baptist Convention's public policy arm, about morality and the role of religion in the GOP race for 2012.

One of the families on All-American Muslim.

CNN: TV show causing Islamophobia backlash?
TLC's reality show "All-American Muslim" is sparking controversy. HLN's Dr. Drew spoke with human rights lawyer Arsalan Iftikhar, conservative commentator Pamela Geller, and Catholic League president Bill Donohue about the show.

CNN: Poll: Bin Laden tops religion news in 2011, tie for top newsmaker
The killing of Osama bin Laden was voted the top story of the year by the Religion Newswriters Association, beating out Rep. Peter King’s hearing on the radicalization of U.S. Muslims and Catholic Bishop Robert Finn’s failure to report the suspected abuse of a child.

Tweet of the Day:

From Atheist News (@realanews): We love Hitch. A dark day for us all…

(Explanation: Christopher Hitchens, an author and journalist who described himself as an atheist and was championed as a defender of the “New Atheism” movement, died on Thursday due to pneumonia resulting from complications with esophageal cancer. Vanity Fair, one of the many publications that Hitchens contributed to, described him as an “incomparable critic, masterful rhetorician, fiery wit, and fearless bon vivant.”)

CNNBelief’s follow of the day: Mark Oppenheimer, or @markopp1, is a New York Times religion columnist whose work has been featured regularly on the Belief speed read. His latest was an insightful piece on how faith and family values are at the center of an election where neither front runner is Protestant.

Enlightening Reads:

Religion Dispatches: Five Social Media Trends that are Reshaping Religion
Over the past couple years, religionistas of all sorts have attempted to navigate a new media landscape in which old constructions of religious authority, identity, and practice are changing almost by the minute. This surely marks the beginning something of a Second Coming of religion in digitally-integrated form.

Catholics News Agency: US bishops’ campaign draws attention to domestic poverty
The U.S. bishops announced the launch of a renewed media effort to promote a better understanding of poverty in America.

Clinton spoke at an event that focused on freedom of speech and religion Wednesday.

Christian Post: Clinton Leaves Out Blasphemy, Apostasy Laws in Religious Liberty Speech
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made a speech Wednesday in Washington, D.C., that focused on protecting freedom of speech and religion at a conference on international religious liberty.

Newstalk ZB: Jedi knights top 15,000 in Czech census
More than 15,000 Czechs follow the faith of the Star Wars movies' Jedi knights, they have told the official census, while half of the country's 10.5 million people declined to list any religion.

Jewish Daily Forward: Brooklyn D.A. Refuses To Name Child Sex Abusers
Law enforcement officials, legal experts, advocates and politicians have questioned why Brooklyn’s District Attorney arrested 85 Orthodox adults on child sex abuse charges but refuses to release their names.

Quote of the Day:

The first thing I do when I get up: check the U.S. Geological Survey website for earthquakes and volcanoes. Then I check the observatories. Then I check the space weather.

Yes – you read that right. Lonny Sundvall, who is not a seismologist or volcanologist, acts like one every morning. Why, you may ask? Because Sundvall is part of a growing group of people who are paying close attention to ancient Mayan predictions that, in their opinion, prove catastrophic disasters will change life on earth in 2012.

Today’s Opinion:

CNN: My Take: Pulling 'All-American Muslim' ads is bad business
What may come as a surprise to Lowe’s CEO Robert Niblock is that by taking a stand against our community, he is losing the business of a massive force in the American economy. American Muslims are more than 7 million strong and growing and have the buying power of between $170 billion and $200 billion annually.

CNN: My Take: The case for including ethics, religion in science class
A referendum that would have restricted in vitro fertilization in Mississippi, disagreements on the causes of global warming, the question of how to allot health care resources for desperate cases at the beginning or end of life. Many of today's headlines and hyper-polarized political debates happen at the borders of science and society, especially where science meets ethics and religion.

Join the conversation…

CNN: Christian publisher pulls ‘Cancer Awareness Bible’ over abortion concerns
A Christian publisher is withdrawing copies of the "Breast Cancer Awareness Bible," from stores because the Bible helped raised money for the Susan G. Komen Foundation, which contributes to Planned Parenthood.

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Uncategorized

soundoff (23 Responses)
  1. Tam

    ohh yeaa

    February 23, 2012 at 1:03 pm |
  2. HeavenSent

    Heaven sent us tsunamis, earthquakes, floods, and famines, plus cancers, typhoid, meningitis, lupus, and other horrible diseases that cause horrid suffering and death to millions of people worldwide.

    And then god wants to torture you in hell forever if you suspect that he doesn't exist, even given that there is no specific evidence for his existence and that he apparently hasn't shown his face for at least 2000 years if ever.

    Wow, god must be quite the cruel, evil jerk. To be polite.

    December 17, 2011 at 12:39 pm |
  3. b4bigbang

    For requeim poetry, try Milton. Also take a look at William Blake....

    December 16, 2011 at 11:24 pm |
    • hippypoet


      by: William Blake (1757-1827)

      WAS angry with my friend:
      I told my wrath, my wrath did end.
      I was angry with my foe:
      I told it not, my wrath did grow.

      And I watered it in fears,
      Night and morning with my tears;
      And I sunnèd it with smiles,
      And with soft deceitful wiles.

      And it grew both day and night,
      Till it bore an apple bright;
      And my foe beheld it shine,
      And he knew that it was mine,

      And into my garden stole,
      When the night had veiled the pole:
      In the morning glad I see
      My foe outstretched beneath the tree.

      i know Blake...this is my favorite out of his that really work for this oc@ssion

      December 17, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
  4. Elijah34

    Hebrews the 9th chapter the 27th verse states, it is appointed unto man to die once then comes the judgement. Mr Hitchens lost his battle with life. There is no joy when one loses his soul in disbelief. The eyes of Mr Hitchens are open now. If he died as a atheist he will suffer for ever. While his voice is silent now. The Word of God continues as it has since the beginning of time. I hope all those that do not believe in God will realize their mistake before it is to late. The fact that we were on different sides, I find no satisfaction in his death.

    December 16, 2011 at 9:19 pm |
  5. Mr. Widemouth

    Who Really Believes Jesus Existed Anyway?

    December 16, 2011 at 3:36 pm |
    • ByRgudin

      If he is the son of God would follow him? If he was proven to your satisfaction would you believe?That is the question.Yes/No

      December 21, 2011 at 11:15 am |
  6. have you seen grandma lately?

    apparently she is trolling in the guise of grandpa these days...

    December 16, 2011 at 3:17 pm |
  7. John


    December 16, 2011 at 10:50 am |
    • .....

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

      December 16, 2011 at 3:17 pm |
  8. hippypoet

    ok, fuk it all – whats the point? whats the reason? why?where?when?how? many ideas can pretend to answer these but few can offer any truth to such claims – what is life without truth? Why is believing more important then knowing?

    December 16, 2011 at 9:52 am |
    • Clayton

      the fake hippypoet, I presume

      December 16, 2011 at 10:35 am |
    • hippypoet

      no Clayton, its the real me... i am rather depressed today with the loss of Hitchens – why did you think it was my stalker fellow? he is rather short and never swims in the deep end – i bathe in its undesirible depth of unknowible possiblities!

      December 16, 2011 at 11:38 am |
    • Clayton

      I didn't think it was you because your words were like a corny, badly-overdone characterization of your usual rambling, unfocused posts. Like many of the fake posts.
      Why be depressed? He was a fairly prolific author, has plenty of youtube videos, and now does not have a body.
      If he continues to exist in some form, it is clearly without a badly-evolved fragile human body with limited abilities.
      That's a plus right there. Enjoy his death! Party and celebrate by giving some religious idiot a bad time! Hell yeah!

      December 16, 2011 at 12:00 pm |
    • hippypoet

      he was a brilliant man who could put to word what most have locked in there minds – he is a true loss to the world when someone of his caliber is needed. this man was a personal ...i can't think anymore...idol, icon, whatever – he was to me what a teacher is to there student...and now he is dead, the ultimate end to all life but i just didn't see it happening so soon. He was one of the brightest stars till the day he lost the shine in his eyes, and for him that wasn't life but death itself for even on his deathbed his words sang songs of truth and wisdom showing the separation of the mind between that of a dieing body and of a living mind! i am very sad today and will most likely drink myself to a stupper later on tonight. I have never delt well with death, i have put much time into the inner workings of life and death and not to sound conceded or anything but life has never been hard to understand, its death that (to make a pun) escapes us all...it is the last unknown.
      I will be happy for him later but for now, i morn. 🙁

      December 16, 2011 at 12:21 pm |
    • Brad

      hippypoet: "Why is believing more important then knowing?" There are hard limits to knowing and there are an infinite number of things that can't be known. Believing is the only access to such things.

      I share your regret at the loss of Christopher Hitchens.

      December 16, 2011 at 12:40 pm |
    • Clayton

      If you look up to him, just remember that he used proper English and knew how to spell.
      If he inspires you to write like an adult, then I will honor his memory for that reason also.
      Making melodramatic noises about a fellow human being is understandable, but if it does not move you forward it is not usually viewed as healthy.
      I certainly hope you can understand these salient points I am trying to make. He was not known for writing badly-written posts like yours. He wrote some good stuff. Why not emulate him if you think he's so wonderful? I really don't understand your glaring hypocrisy here. Giving melodramatic lip-service to the memory of an intelligent and well-read author who used proper English is not really deserving of respect, but do whatever you want. I am only being selfish in wanting better posts to read, anyway.

      December 16, 2011 at 12:44 pm |
    • hippypoet

      @Brad – belief is something that takes place in the mind and is therefore clearly not real. I value facts and things i can prove to be real. But i have always said those that believe are better equiped to deal with loss for they have faith (hopes) that the deceased are in a better place. I am and have always been evyious of such predispositions. I lack them and not for lack of trying either, i was a believer but alas studying has proven its downfall for in history and facts are found truth...not belief or faith. Which belief and faith are unneeded for modern life to presist and so i have no need for them. Afterall, knownledge is power. (school house rock) 🙂

      @Clayton – there is no need for proper english, spelling, grammer or anything of the ilk on a blog forum. Ii am not writting an essay that will be judged by a panel of my peers and then judged as a person for it. Here i type on the fly and share ideas, or hope to convey them. I am very well read, i am beyond wise for my age... intelligence has been praised by a great many...and none of them ever said a word against my proper english – why – because when i write a paper and submit it to be published i write it properly...grammer, spelling everything. I however would like it if people such as yourself could get past poor writting on a fuking blog, its below me to care about such things...and should be below you and others as well... if its not, then i fear that it only reflects your enablity to reply properly to the overall purpose of the bloggers post. Or perhaps you have nothing else to say but to correct such shallow things. If your stance is that you can't read my posts due to such mishapps then how is it that we are currently discussing anything now! now fuk off or get over it! 🙂 you sir have made me happy in my rant. for that i say thank you.

      December 16, 2011 at 1:08 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      There is little solace for us skeptics in the face of death.
      When great voices are forever silenced, we don't have the outlet for our grief that the believers have. We cannot console ourselves with the thought that those we lose go to a better place, or that we'll get to see them again soon.
      What we can do is to keep their thoughs alive. The flesh dies, but the ideas need not.

      Under the wide and starry sky
      Dig the grave and let me lie:
      Glad did I live and gladly die,
      And I laid me down with a will.

      This be the verse you 'grave for me:
      Here he lies where he long'd to be;
      Home is the sailor, home from the sea,
      And the hunter home from the hill.
      – Robert Louis Stevenson

      December 16, 2011 at 1:34 pm |
    • hippypoet

      thank you Doc. i love stevenson...i love morbid poetry, now i crave emily di.ckinson and perhaps a touch of poe – but he is often too longwinded for me keep interest.

      December 16, 2011 at 2:05 pm |
    • Clayton

      hippypoet, I said I was being selfish, didn't I? I prefer to read intelligent posts. Yours not so much.
      So you say you know better but are too lazy to do things according to the English language. I would add that it is very clear to most people that you are also very lazy in your thinking and reasoning processes when typing up these semantically empty posts of yours.
      Like I said, feel free to say whatever. I'm just letting you know of my personal preferences and giving you notice that you are intellectually dishonest and lazy in your arguments and the erratic conclusions you pull out of your ass.
      Just sayin'

      December 16, 2011 at 4:22 pm |
    • hippypoet

      clayton, i post things that make complete sense...its not my fault you lack the knowledge of things i am talking about and therefore can't follow my logic or conclusions....and i never said i was intellectually dishonest, i said i don't care to post perfectly worded blogs because i have time thats worth more then it would take to spell out what i believe the average person should understand or at the very least have heard of..you are lacking and you show an arrogance at saying anything to me while bashing me for poorly written posts on the fly with an argument of a lack of intelligence of the post you are posting on...truly sad commentary on the life you call yours.

      December 16, 2011 at 10:39 pm |
    • Clayton

      Sorry hippypoet, I got a little carried away there.

      December 17, 2011 at 3:45 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.