December 23rd, 2011
04:46 AM ET

Belief Blog's Morning Speed Read for Friday, December 23

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:

The pope can rest assured, Vatican.xxx is not a porn site.

CNN: Vatican.xxx not a porn site, Holy See happy to find
The Internet is the grapevine. A Vatican spokesman's comments on radio this week led news organizations to report that the Vatican had lost its bid for Vatican.xxx, a coupling of the Vatican and the ".xxx" extension now reserved for pornographic content.

CNN: India’s ruling party woos Muslim voters with quota
India approved quotas for minority groups Thursday in a move that was widely seen as the ruling party's attempt to woo Muslim voters in a key state.

CNN: On California coast, atheists nudge out Nativity scenes
Every Christmas for the past 60 years, Nativity scenes have dominated two blocks of a park on bluffs overlooking the ocean in Santa Monica, California. This year, however, atheists have taken over most of the two-block stretch, nearly shutting out and angering a group of churches who contend the atheists have organized against the Christians and gamed a city lottery process allocating the holiday exhibit space.

CNN: Honduras nativity scene depicts violence
A Latin American nativity scene is drawing double-takes for displaying violence. Along side the depictions of the birth of baby Jesus are the death of Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi and terrorist Osama bin Laden.

The Salvation Army is much more than the bells outside your local grocery store.

CNN: The church of the Salvation Army
The Salvation Army is wrapping up its Red Kettle program for the year and hopes to top last year’s record $142 million collected nationwide. The money collected through the Red Kettles, seen only at Christmastime, helps fund all of the Salvation Army’s programs and ministries for the entire year.

CNNBelief’s follow of the day:

The Jewish Journal twitter account, @JewishJournal, is not for the faint of heart – or for people who don’t like their twitter feeds being overrun. But that shouldn't deter you from following this Jewish news website, because though they tweet a lot, most of their stories are insightful and unique.

Enlightening Reads:

Religion News Service: Magi would have a tough time finding frankincense
The world may still have gold and myrrh, but it’s quite possible that frankincense could become a thing of the past, given ecological pressures on the arid lands where it grows in Ethiopia.

Muslim Matters: Arranged Marriage is not Forced Marriage
Arranged marriages are the cultural norm for Muslims across the world. Men and women who are ready to get married may meet their future spouse through family or friends. Since, generally, Muslims do not “date” in the popular Western cultural sense, many couples look to arranged marriages as a means to wedded bliss.

America: Cardinal George: Gay Pride = Klan Rally?
Chicago's Cardinal George came out swinging Wed. in a local throw down between a Catholic parish and the organizers of the upcoming Gay Pride parade in June 2012. Asked by a local television news reporter to comment on the complaint of the pastor of a parish on the parade route that parishioners would be unable to get through the crowd to get to Mass on the Sunday when the parade throngs arrived, George offered a comparison that clearly startled the reporter.

Huffington Post: Occupy Wall Street Plans to ‘Occupy Christmas’
Participants of Occupy Faith NYC, a faith-based protest group, handed out pamphlets at the meeting to explain the "Occupy Christmas" event scheduled for Christmas Eve in Zuccotti Park. Protesters plan to stage a 24-hour vigil with music and food beginning at midnight. The pamphlets entitled, "Why Occupy Christmas?," explained that a bible passage commonly read in church during the Christmas season inspired the idea for the event.

Jewish Journal: When the Jews went to North Korea
When a delegation from the American Council for World Jewry went to North Korea, its agenda was typical of visits by Jewish organizations to developing nations: promote outreach to Israel, offer to broker assistance and training, gently raise problematic defense relations with Israel’s enemies.

Quote of the Day:

All around the world, nonbelievers celebrate Christmas in different ways.

Even though atheists don't believe in the Bible, you have to admit there are some pretty good ideas in there: Being kind, honorable and trustworthy. So why not give a gift in the spirit of just being a good person?

Sarah Stinson's sent this quote to this CNN iReport question: If you're atheist, agnostic or a non believer of any kind, how do you celebrate the holidays? According to iReport, the outpouring of submissions received were thoughtful, heartwarming, engaging and, above all, cheerful. In other words, perfectly in tune with the holiday season.

Today’s Opinion:

Persecution has become a reality around the world.

CNN: My Take: Looking for faith amid persecution
Imagine living in a country where being born into your family's faith could thwart your chances of learning to read, narrow your employment opportunities to jobs like trash collector, street sweeper, or brick maker, and restrict you to drinking from separate water fountains in your village.

Join the conversation…

CNN: SNL Tim Tebow controversy continues debate over quarterback’s faith
When “Saturday Night Live” parodied Tim Tebow’s relationship with Jesus last weekend, not everyone was laughing.

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Uncategorized

soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. Ironicus


    December 24, 2011 at 2:59 pm |
    • Ironicus


      December 24, 2011 at 2:59 pm |
    • Ironicus


      December 24, 2011 at 3:00 pm |
    • Ironicus


      December 24, 2011 at 3:03 pm |
    • Ironicus

      So this is one of the banned words: cial-is
      Cial-is is a drug. Funny how it also becomes a problem when trying to post words like "social-ism" "special-ist" and so on.
      I am adding it to my list of banned words.
      Reality, take note.
      And everyone else, too. Update your CNN filter lists!!!

      December 24, 2011 at 3:06 pm |
    • Helpful Hints

      Thanks, Ironicus.

      December 24, 2011 at 3:11 pm |
    • Ironicus


      December 24, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
    • Ironicus

      okay I'm getting confused now. It wouldn't let me post that before....! Maybe it was my email? Yet I was able to post those other posts. #@#$@#$@#~!

      December 24, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
    • Ironicus


      December 24, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
    • Ironicus


      December 24, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
    • Ironicus


      December 24, 2011 at 5:22 pm |


    December 23, 2011 at 1:19 pm |
  3. hippypoet

    so totally awesome fact – i have made such an impact on this blog site that i not only have a stalker who posts on my posts to discedit me, but i also have a copy-cat who at times using my handle or just adds one in front of it. either a homage to the handle hippypoet or a homage to me....not sure yet. But one thing is for sure, poeple have spoken about the hippypoet in there own blogs while in completely different articles that i have yet to even comment on! such love is not worth my low standings, here, let me stand up so you can better kiss my @ss! :).... its moments like these that cement the truth in peoples brain dead minds...people don't fear all of what they don't know, how could they, they don't know about it in the first place... they simply fear the idea of something that could hurt them because they don't know what COULD be out there... the idea of what if is a powerful one... and i think thats what has happened here, i have pushed thru my postings some truth and historical facts so much so that some believers are now acting out in fear of a different sort..the fear of facing whats real... now they can see that there is no god or at the very least one not worth worshiping and so now hate me for showing them the path of truth. 🙂 to this i say " thank you." i have never had such a compliment... it is a happy day.. i think i shall enjoy this day with some scotch.

    December 23, 2011 at 9:03 am |
    • Freeman

      Getting started early, eh? Good. It's a three-day weekend. Go to it and have fun!

      December 23, 2011 at 9:22 am |
    • just wondering

      is every variant of hippypoet under your personal control? maybe it don't have nothing to do with you at all.

      December 23, 2011 at 1:07 pm |
    • hippypoet

      you can wonder all you like... it doesn't change the fact that i have made a clear impact...and once more by you posting on my post asking me such things proves it. 🙂 There is only one true hippypoet, and like all other parts of cnn where once one has a handle it can't be copied, the belief blog should too have such controls over things. If the others had anything to say of any real importance or meaning then i would enjoy it more, but they don't...sad really, but what other conclusion can one come to after a handle has been stolen but the thief lacks any creativity – so with that,expectations are low from the start....but as my old saying goes – expectations breed disappointments!

      December 23, 2011 at 1:52 pm |
  4. rk

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    December 23, 2011 at 8:25 am |
  5. Pyotr Bogdanovich

    Happy Winter Season to everyone at CNN!

    December 23, 2011 at 5:58 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.