January 4th, 2012
04:27 AM ET

Belief Blog's Morning Speed Read for Wednesday, January 4

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:

Rick Santorum finished second in the Iowa Caucuses, only 8 votes behind Gov. Mitt Romney.

CNN: Santorum benefits from evangelical surge, but born-again Iowans splinter
Rick Santorum appeared to be riding a largely evangelical wave of support to a top two finish in the Iowa Republican caucuses Tuesday night, according to CNN entrance polls, but the evangelical bloc nonetheless appeared to be seriously splintered.

CNN: Man questioned in New York City firebomb attacks
Authorities said Tuesday they believe a single arsonist may be responsible for a weekend series of fire bombings in one New York City neighborhood, adding that they are investigating the incidents as possible hate crimes.

Tweet of the Day:

From @onfaith: Religion reporter's major dilemma: Ted Haggard on Wife Swap or#iacaucus ? #iowa

Belief on TV:

Enlightening Reads:

Huffington Post: Rick Santorum: Obama and The Left Preach ‘Religion Of Self’
Rick Santorum used his last campaign stop before the caucuses on Tuesday to attack the left for opposing abstinence-only education and supporting gay rights, telling a crowd of students and parents at a Christian school that non-religious people have values "based on the religion of self."

Sojourners: Christians Fighting Over Holy Places (Physically and Figuratively)
The disturbing footage of the monks fighting in Bethlehem’s Nativity Church has been seen around the world This is not the first time such a fight has erupted. The natural reaction any Christians should have upon seeing this footage is shame. It is difficult to even describe in words what one feels when he sees Christian clerics involved in such violence and rage!

Pope Benedict XVI spokes on World Day of the Sick.

Catholic News Agency: Pope explains how sickness can draw people closer to Jesus
The suffering people experience when they are sick can help them grow closer to Jesus, Pope Benedict XVI said in his message for next month’s World Day of the Sick.

The Christian Post: 125,000 Sq. Foot Kansas Megachurch Building Still for Sale
Even with the arrival of a new year, a Midwest megachurch with a 125,000 square foot facility that foreclosed back in September is still on the market.

Baptist Press: 48 Chinese Christians detained New Year’s Day
Beijing authorities detained 48 members of a large persecuted house church on New Year's Day, marking a total of more than 1,000 church members who have been taken into police custody during the church's 38 weeks of attempting to hold outdoor worship services.

Excerpt of the Day:

Consider this: 60% of self-identified evangelicals who attended a caucus tonight in Iowa voted for a candidate who is either Roman Catholic (Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum) or Mormon (Mitt Romney).

Ralph Reed, founder and chairman of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, writes this in his latest My Take. According to Reed, “evangelical voters, it turns out, are a more sophisticated bunch, judging candidates on a broad continuum of considerations from their personal faith and character to leadership attributes and electability.”

Today’s Opinion:

Washington Post: Why do Americans still dislike atheists?
Long after blacks and Jews have made great strides, and even as homosexuals gain respect, acceptance and new rights, there is still a group that lots of Americans just don’t like much: atheists. Those who don’t believe in God are widely considered to be immoral, wicked and angry. They can’t join the Boy Scouts. Atheist soldiers are rated potentially deficient when they do not score as sufficiently “spiritual” in military psychological evaluations. Surveys find that most Americans refuse or are reluctant to marry or vote for nontheists; in other words, nonbelievers are one minority still commonly denied in practical terms the right to assume office despite the constitutional ban on religious tests.

CNN: My Take: Santorum’s evangelical surge is about more than Christian Right
Rick Santorum’s surge in the polls in the days before the Iowa caucuses has been interpreted by some as evidence of continued relevance and staying power of the Religious Right. I disagree. I believe it signals the end of the Religious Right as we know it.

Join the conversation…

Cee Lo Green performing in Times Square on New Year’s Eve.

CNN: My Take: Let Lennon be Lennon and forget Cee Lo Green
New Year’s Eve is usually truce time in the culture wars — a moment to reflect and hope and forget your troubles (and the world’s). Not so on Saturday night, when Cee Lo Green changed the lyrics to John Lennon’s “Imagine” while performing the song on live television in New York’s Time Square.

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Uncategorized

soundoff (39 Responses)
  1. Iqbal Khan

    Santorum: Iranians' 'Principle Virtue' To Die For God
    'Is An Encouragement For Them To Use' Nukes

    By Eli Clifton

    Santorum's Iran policy appears to be framed, in no small part, by his extremist views on Islam and a belief that the Islamic Republic's leadership is inherently irrational and suicidal.

    January 9, 2012 at 10:24 pm |


    January 4, 2012 at 11:10 pm |
  3. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things
    The grace of God is available
    To mankind in prayer
    Prayer changes things

    January 4, 2012 at 7:45 pm |
  4. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Please pray
    Prayer works
    Pray for my Lord and lover satan
    Prayer works

    January 4, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
    • An inconvenient truth

      What type of individual is so bad off they steal a name on an anonymous blog?

      January 4, 2012 at 7:43 pm |
  5. Glenn Dickinson

    Sampson my friend, I think you might have something to say, but it gets lost in all the hatred. Put down your anger. It won't take you anywhere worth going. Peace.

    January 4, 2012 at 9:46 am |
    • Sampson

      So you'd prefer I let children suffer and die? That my anger against serial killers is something I should put down?

      You are a sick individual to seek to silence me on this! I'd bet you're a Catholic, too. What a shameless piece of sht you are.

      January 4, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
  6. hippypoet

    no real point here, just the rantings of a mad man on a really good high!

    good morning cruel world, hows things? still peddling your crap so called belief systems for the meek... is meek another word for moron or low standings or perhaps just poorly educated? it sure seems so...why, i don't know, but i can tell you that being poorly educated does help with the believing in some clear bs but even some educated people can be brainwashed, all thats needed is an early start...i'd say 1.5-3 years of age. Any later and you risk other systems of sheepish belief invading there thoughts thru tv, family and friends....just terrible...in nature, animals are perhaps lesser then us in intelligence but not when it comes to living life – a.k.a. survival. They live in harmony and balance with each other while we create things to pretend harmony then kill in the name of it to offset the balance.

    January 4, 2012 at 9:10 am |
    • Wolf Blitzer

      A) "They live in harmony and balance with each other while we create things to pretend harmony then kill in the name of it to offset the balance" – Ummmm what? Can you even read what you just wrote? Animals kill each other all the time moron.

      B) Your grammar is atrocious and your education can't be much more than that of a teenager

      C) Your hatred of something has clearly blinded you and made you the exact thing you rail against. You seem very uneducated while claiming that it's others who are wrong, which is the ultimate sign of ignorance.

      I feel sorry for someone with an IQ equivalent to you. I can only hope that you're a kid who doesn't know better, if not then I feel sorry for people who have to deal with you in real life.

      January 4, 2012 at 9:55 am |
    • hippypoet

      mr. wolf you are a true moron. animals do kill each other every day all day long, yup thats true... but they do it to live unlike us who creates parks in which to go so we can hunt birds that we have clipped the wings of so they can't fly away! we humans are monsters when compared to anything else on this planet. Grammer has nothing to do with anything, nice deflection. And i think its hard for you to read because your use to reading plain straight forward things...makes life easier for the morons amougst us...you. I instead type as i would talk as if i was talking to a person who knew things other then who won the friday night game. Those who take offense at whats written here are normally only hurt by the understanding after reading it that they didn't follow it at all and therefore must chose one, realize you just don't understand it because of a lack of learning or are just an idiot...both must hurt i know but it will p@ss.

      January 4, 2012 at 10:14 am |
    • Brad


      On education: I'm all for putting ethics, logic, criticism and reason into our education system for kids from the earliest age possible and keep it up through university. In our current system I could have gotten my Doctor of Philosophy degree without ever having set foot in a class on philosophy. Early on it was left entirely up to me to educate myself on such things. At university a huge wealth of resources was available, but there was no requirement that anyone use those resources or have any preparation for using them. I guess the system was designed to put highly trained but narrowly focused people out into the work force, and even into academia. Producing good citizens and a solid underpinning for civilization – well, that was old school. Still is. My kids are turning out ok with the help of a good Performing Arts school and a lot of outside reading. They avoided the local education mill. I wish everyone could.

      BTW, one of my kids is Christian. The other is a non-theist. They are both well-capable of critical thinking and they have similar views on most everything apart from belief. Perhaps belief comes to people in a way that is apart from education or indoctrination (my wife and I were non-theists during their early years).

      January 4, 2012 at 10:52 am |
    • Wolf Blitzer

      @hippy – Dude your written skills clearly show a lack of education. Stating that you "instead type as i would talk as if i was talking to a person who knew things other then who won the friday night game" is possibly the most moronic thing I've ever heard, and the fact that you think this makes your intelligence superior is absolutely astounding.

      Bro you sound more like a crazy man tripped out on drugs than anybody who can think critically. You're either on drugs or you've done too many in the past which has fried your barin. But I'm sure you'll automatically dismiss what I write since it doesn't agree with your preconceived idea.

      January 4, 2012 at 11:16 am |
    • Wolf Blitzer

      I meant to say *writing* not written.

      January 4, 2012 at 11:17 am |
    • hippypoet

      wolf, my written skills show only a lack of care in one of two things, either the willingness to learn proper english grammer and spelling or to type whatever here with said english rules... the answer is both, i don't nor have i ever cared about such things as they are truly not important to the overall message. when people get all huffy over my misuse of words or just plain wrong use of them i laugh, because i can bet my life that you still understood my meaning but rather then discuss the issue i brought up chose to insult thru the means of an english teacher – that i care not for... my point was a valid one and it makes me sad that you think yourself so far above me that you won't even bother with the conversation... tisk tisk.

      Brad – thats awesome and i agree, i wish the system of school wasn't so robotic... pushing out mike and mary all day is not the way to teach anyone anything. I am glad for you that you have both religious and non religious in the same house and are getting along, perhaps not all the time but at least some of the time... always a good thing. 🙂

      January 4, 2012 at 11:41 am |
    • Watching pots call kettles black

      There is no better comedy than watching someone who says "dude" and "bro" insult another person's writing skills.

      January 4, 2012 at 12:00 pm |
    • JohnR

      @hippypoet Animals do often kill more, sometimes a lot more, than they need to eat so that they can survive. They don't do it on the scale that humans do, but they don't do much of ANYTHING on the scale that humans do.

      January 4, 2012 at 12:05 pm |
    • Chuckles


      I think Chimps are the only other animals to have ever been found to kill without specific goal of eating their kill. Everything else may kill more than what they'll eat for lunch but it's to have a meal for the next couple of days instead of wasting energy and time hunting everyday.

      As for Hippy's writing style. I'm not a huge fan and sometimes I think the point gets lost within the weird syntax used because it's easier to understand when spoken and not written, however that's more of an opinion and I also had an equally hard time reading Virginia Wolfe and other writers who use the stream of consciousness method. Everyone has their own writing style and the cool thing about the written word is although there are rules to grammar, syntax, and dic.tion, part of the art and the best literature around is when those rules are broken and people experiement.

      Not to mention, this being a comment board on a website, you don't exactly need a doctorate in english to write on this board. If you understand the message then the poster has achieved their goal.

      January 4, 2012 at 12:12 pm |
    • DamianKnight

      Chuckles doesn't know what he's talking about.


      January 4, 2012 at 12:16 pm |
    • Chuckles


      Pish Posh, I always know what I'm talking about. Didn't you know? I have a doctorate in astronomy, biology, genetics, neuroscience, sociology, religious studies and anything else that's every come up on this board.

      P.S. As a side note, I'm planning on moving to your fair city in about a month and a half, so if you feel the earth quake beneath your feet it's not just any ole earthquake, it's this guy.

      January 4, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
    • DamianKnight

      Are you being serious about moving to the great state of California?

      If so, let's hook up, get a beer and have a Star Wars marathon.

      January 4, 2012 at 12:20 pm |
    • JohnR

      @Chuckles No, it's a lot more than just chimps.

      January 4, 2012 at 12:22 pm |
    • Chuckles

      I am indeed serious, let's just say that like most Americans, I got tired of beltway politics, actually really just the east coast in general. California seems more my speed.

      And beer and star wars? Don't mind if I do!

      January 4, 2012 at 12:22 pm |
    • DamianKnight

      Whereabouts in CA are you moving to?

      January 4, 2012 at 12:24 pm |
    • Chuckles


      Really? I heard that fact not too long ago (while watching planet of the apes...go figure). What other animals in nature kill for the sake of killing.

      I will revise my statement above to say that animals will also sometimes kill in self-defense or perceived self-defense and not just for food, but I'd still label that as "survival".

      January 4, 2012 at 12:29 pm |
    • Chuckles


      As of now I'm looking to live in downtown, but I know it's pretty pricey (probably as bad as DC!) so I'll start there and work my way out.

      January 4, 2012 at 12:32 pm |
    • DamianKnight


      Also, it's been recorded that lions sometimes kill for sport. That movie The Ghost and the Darkness is based on the true story of two lions killing 130 people in Africa over a period of 9 months.

      January 4, 2012 at 12:34 pm |
    • hippypoet

      wow, who would-a thought a good morning bake would have lead to this – and such a lovely conversation too.... lol

      pot, bringing people together since the first seed was planted.

      January 4, 2012 at 12:35 pm |
    • DamianKnight

      First thing you'll realize is "Nor Cal" is considered pretty much everything north of Bakersfield (which is fairly close to L.A.) to Eureka (which is on the border of Oregon), so that's a HUGE area. Hahahahaha! Are you moving to Fresno? Bay Area? Sacramento?

      I can help you out if you're moving to the Bay Area. I generally know about crime rates, good places to live, etc.

      January 4, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
    • hippypoet

      ANY animal killing humans for sport is also for survival, we pose the greatest threat to all life on this planet! and that was a good movie but i found myself hoping the lion was going to kill again after every kill. The less hunters the less pointless needless killing and faster the lions may have gotten back to the every day life of simba. 🙂

      January 4, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
    • Chuckles


      See? I'm already learning so much! I thought Nor Cal pretty much referred to the Bay Area, so yea that's what I'm planning on. I have a couple of friends who sent me a long email basically breaking up the city in the "yay live here!" to "scary run away!" parts. I will be going there though!

      I was going to say something along those lines. I have not the seen the movie so I'll let my as.s do the talking here but considering humans are at the top of the food chain, pose a hueg threat and if they're near lions it sounds like their intruding on lion territory – which sounds to me as a type of defense.

      January 4, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
    • DamianKnight


      Hahahahaha! It's even worse than that. There's North Bay and East Bay. I only really know about the East Bay. Basically, stay away from Richmond, and some areas of Pittsburg. Bay Point's nice if you stay on the Concord side. Concord used to be really nice, but it's become a small time crime hot spot, being that it's so close to Walnut Creek, Pleasant Hill and Danville, which are the wealthier areas.

      Also, try not to get into anything real far on Highway 4. It's miserable and there's nothing really out there, yet. Well, except Antioch, but there's no real reason to go out there. I like to stay on the 680 corridor, so that includes Martinez, Concord, Pleasant Hill, Walnut Creek, Alamo, Danville, San Ramon and Pleasanton. Lafayette and Orinda off of 24 are nice places too, but they're pricey.

      January 4, 2012 at 12:47 pm |
    • JA

      someone said beer and star wars so I came running. What's goin on everybody! To the contrary, hippy's writing style is real and free. I hate it when someone criticizes spelling and grammar. Also see a lot of criticism on face-book. It's a friggin forum people! not english class! I understand that some might say insulting things, but a comeback that consists of spelling and grammar criticism is not a comeback at all. If you dislike one's opinion, simply ignore it. If you disagree, then state a valid argument and provide proof to the best of your ability.

      January 4, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
    • hippypoet

      thank you JA. Very nicely put. 🙂

      January 4, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
  7. david


    Leave Cee Lo alone

    January 4, 2012 at 7:55 am |
    • Harry N

      I think a lot of people will be leaving that loser alone now thanks to his lack of talent. Don't worry. He'll be plenty alone.

      January 4, 2012 at 10:19 pm |
  8. Sampson

    "The suffering people experience when they are sick can help them grow closer to Jesus, Pope Benedict XVI said in his message for next month’s World Day of the Sick."

    So the natural extension of this would be to promote sickness and suffering in order to scream for help while receiving only the knowledge that death will put an end to all the sickness and suffering.

    And to "seek God" because the Pope says horrible torture, sickness, insanity, and all forms of suffering are "good" because they will make you turn to anything at all in the hopes of ending the suffering.

    Insert Jesus here, the mental slavery chains upon your mind shaped to fit every occasion in the shape of the Trinity, locked with non-deserved guilt and unrealistic hope, and pinching you in all your most tender places while covering your eyes, ears, heart, and soul.
    Reject this torture for the mind! Reject the call for suffering!

    Some say the Pope is the Anti-Christ.

    I think this aspect of the disgusting foulness known as the Catholic Church definitely points in that direction.

    Using this religious viewpoint as their justification for 1) inflicting suffering on others and, 2) ignoring the suffering of others, all while encouraging and engineering the suffering of everyone they can,.....is a clear indication that the Catholic religion is psychopathic in thought, word, and deed and should be abolished by all peace-loving and caring people everywhere....especially any Catholics who never look closely at what the whole Church is doing!

    To cleanse the Catholic Church, either it will take outside force or forces from within, or both.
    Stop the criminals who use their religion as justification for horrible things!
    Stop the psychopathic actions of the Catholic Church!

    Obliterate this criminal organization that has committed crimes against humanity for almost TWO THOUSAND YEARS!!!!
    What more do you need to see the truth?
    The Pope is RIGHT THERE telling everyone that suffering should be visited upon everyone for the singular purpose of screaming for mercy!

    RIGHT THERE IN FRONT OF THE WHOLE WORLD this slick sleazeball has the gall to unashamedly stand there and proclaim the evil rationalizations of the people behind the Inquisition. They would skin people alive, burn them alive, torture them for hours, days, years, and you people just don't understand the psychopathic mindset behind all that evil torturing of innocent people, including all men, women, and children.
    With the smell of burned and rotted flesh wreathed around them like wisps of smoke from hell, these psychotic murderers and torturers only want you to say whatever they want you to say.
    And you will say anything to make the pain stop.
    Anybody would do anything to avoid more torture, more suffering.

    But this guy is telling you suffering is good while he burns your children alive in his fantasies of Hell, while imagining looking down on your suffering from Heaven where, thanks to psychotic "reasoning", people like him will be pampered forever while being praised for torturing innocent people to DEATH!!!!

    That is Heaven to him.....to see your eternal suffering down his nose while he is (of course) perfectly deserving of eternal happiness for visiting the most horrendous things upon innocent people.
    Things that would send anyone screaming from the room if they didn't have mantras, dogma, and brainwashing to hold them in place under their thumbs....

    For killing children, he gets eternal happiness. For burning people alive, he gets a crown in Heaven.
    For ra.ping children, he gets eternal happiness for destroying their lives.
    And who thinks this is something to follow, to worship, to believe in?

    And who is so ignorant, so insanely and willfully ignorant, as to pretend this does not exist when this evil man makes world-wide proclamations about it? The bald-faced shamelessness of it just makes my jaw drop!

    January 4, 2012 at 7:51 am |
    • Doubt

      Even if this pope's opinions about suffering are as well-developed as you think they are he's irrelevant to me.

      January 4, 2012 at 9:29 am |
    • Sampson

      Be sure and tell them that as they set you on fire. I'm sure it will make a strong impression on them. They might even laugh.

      January 4, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
  9. Roxane Boutin

    Are you going to have that new program on every morning? I hate it, where are all the other news people. Don't care if it an election year, still want the regular news, Don't we get politics shoved down our throat every day anyway? Please go back to what you had before.

    January 4, 2012 at 7:16 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.