February 16th, 2012
04:30 AM ET

Belief Blog's Morning Speed Read for Thursday, February 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:

A growing chorus of progressive Catholic activists say the American bishops, above, do not speak for all Catholics on public policy matters.

CNN: Liberal Catholics challenge bishops on Obama’s contraception rule
America’s Catholic bishops have criticized the White House’s mandate for insurers to provide free contraception coverage to employees, but plenty of other Catholic groups have endorsed the plan – some taking swipes at the bishops in the process.

CNN: The sweet appeal of the Nation of Islam’s bean pie
February is Black History Month. February is also National Pie Month. What could one possibly have to do with the other, you might ask? Meet the bean pie – a sweet, delectable dessert made from navy beans.

CNN: Pastor, wife accused of killing ‘possessed’ children
A pastor and his wife are in custody accused of killing three of their children by starving them to ward off evil spirits, police in South Korea said Wednesday.

Tweet of the Day:

From Sarah Posner (@sarahposner): Rep. Issa talking about his "religious freedom" hearing tmrw http://bit.ly/zkUPKC My preview: bit.ly/x0Q0W2

Enlightening Reads:

Jewish Journal: Diplomat challenges U.S. Jewish views on France
Francois Zimeray, France’s ambassador-at-large for human rights, was in Los Angeles recently, and during a two-hour breakfast of croissants and assorted fruits, shared two observations: First, though Israel has real enemies in the world, it also has a lot of friends, and not everybody wants to put down the Jewish state.

U.S. Catholic: Chaplain: Honduran prison, site of fire, had triple number of inmates
The prison in Comayagua, Honduras - scene of a fire that killed more than 300 inmates - was holding more than three times the population it was designed to house, said the prison chaplain, Father Reinaldo Moncada.

The Christian Post: Secular Music in the Church Endangers Sacredness?
A New Jersey mega church’s latest effort to better engage with culture by embracing some of pop culture’s most popular songs reignites the debate over whether churches should utilize secular music to be relevant.

Huffington Post: Mother Dolores Hart, Former Elvis Co-Star, To Walk Red Carpet In Religious Garments
Nearly 50 years after leaving Tinseltown to become a cloistered Benedictine nun, Mother Dolores Hart, who co-starred with Elvis Presley in 11 movies, is returning to Hollywood to appear at the Academy Awards next Sunday. And she'll be wearing her religious habit.

Just for Fun:

Sun Sentinel: See nun. See nun run. Run, nun, run.
Hey, son. Hey, hun. Don’t feel under the gun, but here comes the Nun Run.
It's a maranun, er, marathon, planned for March 10 in Tempe, Ariz., by the Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration. How marathon? Try a 10K, 5K run/walk and one-mile walk.

Today’s Opinion:

Seven games, seven wins.

CNN: My Take: The real miracle of Jeremy Lin
Steven Prothero, a Boston University religion scholar writes that he doesn’t “believe in miracles. But I believe in Jeremy Lin.”

Join the conversation…

Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal.

CNN: Mormons apologize for posthumous baptisms of Weisenthal’s parents
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has apologized for "a serious breach of protocol" in which the parents of the late Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal were posthumously baptized as Mormons.

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Uncategorized

soundoff (53 Responses)
  1. hippypoet


    just some more food for thought...just remember folks, if its in the bible, its the true word of god... 🙂

    February 16, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
    • another repentant sinner

      The B I B L E
      Yes that's the book for me
      I stand alone on the word of God
      The B I B L E

      February 16, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
  2. AGuest9

    Back in the day, I would have loved to have seen some of the nuns run. They could barely walk!

    February 16, 2012 at 11:03 am |
  3. hippypoet

    nice answers please – Do you think its reasonable to believe in something without taking in all that which has been attributed to it?

    February 16, 2012 at 10:14 am |
    • William Demuth


      The Jordan River is a cesspool.

      I am more incognito than Stragelove, but I am a huge fan!

      Always remember, just because you aren't paranoid, that dosen't mean you are safe!

      February 16, 2012 at 10:43 am |
    • AGuest9

      You are referring to "cherry picking", hippypoet?

      February 16, 2012 at 10:58 am |
    • hippypoet

      cherry picking does state what i am getting at but it states what i would prefer those who believe would question themselves rather then have it stated to them...that method clearly works wonders!

      facts are like myths to believers, the irony here is its myths they believe to be facts and no fact will dismiss the myth in there heads. LOVE IT.

      February 16, 2012 at 11:12 am |
    • Brad

      As I said yesterday, it is right and essential to try to discern which attributes are true and which aren't. Discard the ones that aren't. This is an obligation on the individual believer. "No true Catholic doesn't follow the teachings of the Bishops" doesn't wash.

      February 16, 2012 at 11:29 am |
    • William Demuth


      I doubt there is ANYTHING most of us accept completly.

      Even the most devout I know will occasionaly admit rejecting some dogma or another.

      February 16, 2012 at 11:37 am |
    • hippypoet

      brad, you find yourself in a tight spot... you said "it is right and essential to try to discern which attributes are true and which aren't."

      You telling me that you KNOW which attributes that been attributed to god are real and which ones aren't?
      How can you tell the difference?

      i don't mean to patronize you brad, its just a nag in me needs to find answers... and here there are none, so all answers are bs – the first answers given were made up and from there they have been either expanded or new ones made up in the absence of use of the original answers due to something not foreseen. (normally science disproved something)....so please try all you like, but know from the first you are destined to fail...like all others.

      The only use of religion is either personal comfort or personal gain! But its always personal!

      February 16, 2012 at 11:46 am |
    • Brad


      I did say " try". As you know well, the information that believers have to work with is incomplete and inconsistent, even contradictory at times. The obligation I mentioned includes an obligation to be critical and skeptical. The core belief for me is as obvious to me as a neon sign, I can't deny that God exists any more than I can deny my coffee cup exists. The problem comes from the mostly human-contrived attributes that have accreted over the centuries. Good examples are the verses below mentioned by Doc Vestibule and Primewonk – do these point to true attributes of God? I see justification by men of their actions using God's name. Other people see something else.

      February 16, 2012 at 12:22 pm |
    • hippypoet

      ok, thats a good answer- but it still doesn't answer the original question...Do you think its reasonable to believe in something without taking in all that which has been attributed to it?

      god minus all things attributed to god is nothing.
      There is nothing god is that hasn't been attributed to god by men, even existence!

      i like to reword things for fun and to make them a bit more clear! most likely an adaption because of the way i converse. 🙂

      if one was to take all that has been attributed to god at face value and completely believe it as truth – the world would then be a very different place! Many would be put to death or just abused because its your gods laws!!!!!!! ALL 613 of them! And we must obey or that is also a sin and worthy of penalty.

      here is a list of sins, just for amusement – http://www.amazingbible.org/Doc.uments/Bible_Studies/Sin_list_part_6.htm (take out the . in the middle of the word doc.uments or it won't work)

      Why has any taken the idea of god as a real existing being and not taken to hold that which is said of god as god's works or actions? Is it because somethings are just too farfetched to fathom its factual existence? if so, i share your thoughts only on a different level of understanding.

      Its like saying, i chose to believe in god but i acknowledge that science has clearly proven some things that were attributed to god in the past as false, but everything else that has been attributed to god is totally real . So we are to take religion on the same basis as we do justice, its true and real until proven not.... what the fu.ck is that sh!t.

      the world was created in 6 days...then god being such a grand and powerful god apparently needed to rest..... this part confuses me... what type of god needs to rest? people get tried, gods do not...this is even a god or is it something else entirely?

      food for thought... don't starve your brain due to beliefs telling you to!

      February 16, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      I didn’t go read the list but I have read the Old Testament and perhaps I can help. Under the law, the consequences for sin or payment for sin required a blood sacrifice. Either a designated animal or the sinner, as the case may be. Under the new covenant brought about by the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, his blood paid it all. It pays for the sin today, yesterday, and forever for the believer. For example, adultery was a sin punishable by death, but Jesus told the people if you look at a woman with lust in your heart you have committed adultery. The point is that the flesh is sinful by nature whether in thought or deed. No one is good. We all need forgiveness.

      February 16, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
    • hippypoet

      oh goodie!

      so you just said that any believer can sin all they want because they aren't really sinning since jesus died for the sins of the past, present, and future...


      why aren't there more christians then if you can do whatever you want without fear of reprisal by god?

      i have heard some great cop-outs in my time, thats a good one!

      you should really read up on your beliefs? you make yourself appear a dum.b@ss, i'm sure you are one, but for appearences sake – maybe you wish not to post moronic drool like that!

      why don't post where is says in the bible that every sin is forgiven by the death of jesus and now you no longer have to observe the 613 laws made by god...please post that and i will post an apology. i'll wait!

      February 16, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      I had trouble with this for several years. As a matter of fact, when God was speaking to my heart I resisted. Why? Because I knew Christians were supposed to be good and I knew I could not. I told God let me go another week and see if I can be good. After a couple of weeks of doing this I realized I couldn’t be good and I couldn’t resist any longer either. I accepted Christ and he saved me and forgave me. What I have learned since is that no one can resist temptations of the flesh without the power of God. So, I was putting the cart before the horse. I was trying to live the Christian life without Christ. Paul wrote a lot about the war between the flesh and the spirit. I do the best that I can but I doubt a day goes by that I don’t at least sin in thought. So, we know we have forgiveness for sin but it doesn’t give us a license to sin or even the desire to do so. Quiet the contrary, because he gave us forgiveness we love, serve, and obey him. I think Paul summed it up best in the 6th Chapter of Romans when he said, “15What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.” Then later on he explains why, “18Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.”

      February 16, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
    • hippypoet

      maybe i should have been more clear – see, my understanding of the bible is that one part, the old part, is more the bible then people remembering events or other people – its straight god doing godly things...but the new part, isn't a bible, its a list of people who claim to have known or knew people who claim to have known jesus.... aka hearsay! Paul walking around without anyone to tell him what he is saying isn't correct is just paul creating rumors about the grandeur of jesus and his pops in letters and suppposed face to face meetings – which btw there is no proof to confirm this ever actually happened in the first place, just letters years after claiming such!

      i wanna see where it says that after the death of the messiah, the sins of man are forgiven... does it say that in any prophecy about the messiah or is it just claims by men after the fact?

      February 16, 2012 at 3:35 pm |
  4. To Whom It May Concern

    Trying to expIain all the intricacies of Christianity in a comments section is pointless, theres simply too much material to discuss. I will say this, i was once skeptical also and often times pondered the same questions the atheists ask (i.e. is there a God, did Jesus actually exist and perform miracles or were they hoaxes, if God is real then why do bad things happen to good ppl, etc).

    I decided that I wasn't going to take this issue lightly and decided to look into my questions further. I bought some books, did some research by all sides and compared claims vs counter claims etc (theres a lot of false websites out there, it can be tough to discern without taking in all sides from all angles). I didn't, and still dont, want to believe in something just because it makes me "feel good." i want to believe in the truth whatever direction it points to. Long story short, i came to the conclusion that Jesus was real, and the claims that were made were also real. Once i decided that he probably was real, I invited Christ into my heart. Words can't describe exactly how He changes you, but once He does your life is transformed.

    Im not here to tell you to believe in Christianity because I said so, but simply give my account. I hope everyone searches their soul, is truly honest with themselves on the inside, and does as much research as they can (with open mind from all sides). I don't go around preaching my faith and i live and let live, but I try to be a good person (and ofcourse we all mess up and do bad things from time to time, im certainly not perfect) and if anyone is to ever ask then i simply respond. I will only discuss topics if theyre brought up in front of me, i dont go out trying to push my beliefs.

    I wish the best for everyone and please dont take your decisions lightly. Cheers.

    February 16, 2012 at 9:28 am |
    • hippypoet

      "but once He does your life is transformed"

      how exactly was your life transformed?

      February 16, 2012 at 9:32 am |
    • been there done that prayer works

      From death to life, you have to experience salvation.

      February 16, 2012 at 9:46 am |
    • William Demuth

      I have spent half a century reading several hundred thousand pages about the Christian Faith.

      I read the Bible in its entirety before I was eight (KJV) and I estimate I have read it at least a dozen times since.

      I have attended religious gatherings, masses, retreats, political rallies and think tanks and read banned books by the HUNDREDS.

      I can assure you after extensive consideration, that Christianity in general, and specifically Catholicism is nothing more than a cult designed to entrap weak minded individuals.

      It is a poison, and egocentric racisim, and it needs to be wiped from our planet like the disease it is.

      February 16, 2012 at 9:46 am |
    • To Whom It May Concern

      @hippy – It's hard to explain in words but you will know once it happens. To put it as simply and succinctly as I can; My whole att.itude regarding a vast array of things changed. My outlook on things changed and I began to see the big picture on what was really important in life and what God wanted from me. Many smaller things that were important before now seemed trivial. Not only that, but the grace that I was given was also the most generous thing I had ever experienced, especially because I didn't deserve it (no matter how good we try to be, we all fall short), and how can I not show love and kindness towards fellow man when so much was shared with me? That's probably a pretty bad job at explaining it, and I apologize for that. It's hard to put into words, but the way He changed me was proof by itself (aside from the research, study,etc) that He was real.

      @William – I'm not claiming to be an expert, and there is certainly religious dogma that exists, afterall Jesus was against many of the things that the Jewish hierchy stood for at that time. But I digress, I wish you well on your journey and I find that focusing on Jesus was a source of strength for me as opposed to the fallacies of humans and the Church....because they are abound.

      Cheers 🙂

      February 16, 2012 at 10:18 am |
    • Observer

      William, I imagine you as a sort of Dr. Strangelove. Physically consumed by your strange hates like a man blinded and consumed by syphilis. But funny sometimes. Is there any way you would consider dipping yourself seven times in the Jordan River? It might help.

      February 16, 2012 at 10:24 am |
    • hippypoet

      you said this "My outlook on things changed and I began to see the big picture on what was really important in life"

      after this, you can build up your own personal experiences all you like, i asked "how exactly was your life transformed" you answer is you preceive things differently...not because of god or jesus, but rather because now you believe someone is watching you judging you on everything and so you best act good or god forbid – love the puns... this story is no greater a tale of thought manipultation then that of telling a child to behave of santa won't bring him any gifts!

      You have your carrot infront of your face, get walking the line buddy! LOL...we are supposed to be some higher species of life yet all the things we do are equal to animals – its just that we get to rationalize it better!

      February 16, 2012 at 10:26 am |
    • William Demuth

      So true Poet!

      I am ALWAYS amused by those who claim morality is based in Christianity!

      They need supernatural carrots and sticks to figure out right from wrong.

      Many of them merely parrot nonesense that is destructive and bigoted.

      I have noticed MANY Christians want to distance themselves from the Old Testament, which I suspect shall not bode well for Jewish Christian relations in the decades to come.

      February 16, 2012 at 10:47 am |
    • To Whom It May Concern

      @hippy – Fair enough and feel free to believe what you want. Just know that the way He showed himself to me was more proof than many of the other things. It wasn't thought manipulation, He changed me and let himself be known. As I have also said before, I don't want to believe in something just because it makes me feel good, I want to believe in the truth whichever way it points. We have differing opinions but nonetheless I wish the best for you. Cheers.

      February 16, 2012 at 11:00 am |
    • Robert Brown

      To whom it may concern,

      Very good post. I read somewhere once that we should not try to win the argument or debate, rather sow with compassion. That stuck with me. It is God who saves. We can only politely try to explain and leave the rest to the Savior, as you have done.

      February 16, 2012 at 11:03 am |
    • hippypoet

      yup, thought manipulation!

      there is no way around that one...sry.
      and as you said, you may BELIEVE what you WISH....you may WISH to REREAD this one. it has meaning beyond what you meant! 🙂

      February 16, 2012 at 11:09 am |
    • Learning from parables

      Very true and well stated. Reminds one of the parable of the sower. Keep sowing...

      February 16, 2012 at 11:10 am |
    • hippypoet

      Look, here is an easy concept to grasp, shut up and be a good person...why does an imaginary figure need to be the reason or cause...more importantly, why do YOU NEED a reason or a cause to be good?
      Does doing good bother you? so to save yourself the guilt of not doing these good things, have you "found" god and thru this delusion started doing that which YOU were "unable" to do on your own?

      very confusing. See, there is a lot of you going on here...very little god or jesus – it was you who held the belief that these creations contain attributes of good and thru them will be made a better person... i have a lucky rabbits foot if ya want it – it totally works too! i swear to god! 🙂 lol

      when will you people open your friggin eyes and see its all just you, no grand power, no supernatural force, it was and always has been you behind it all. All the good and bad things in your life are thanks to you...Your life is owned to 2 people, your mother and father, your upbringing is owned to whoever did it...nothing here has to do with god in anyway. Its YOU who choses to place attributes of what you wish you were in the idea of god and then claim belief and then personal change! Its thought manipulation 101! get over it!

      those humans raised without the knowledge of your god are as moral, ethical,, loving, and comp@ssonite as you and yours – i wonder how that is.....maybe its just that all these so called godly qualities are nothing but the best character traits a person can strive for and so have created an ultimate idea for a foundation of what these qualities can do when placed in one body! MY My My, how earthly of concept!

      Vanity is a very human trait!

      One more thirsty question. its a 3 part question :
      What makes this god more or less then the many others that, if this one exists, also exist?
      Do you deny them existence while claiming the existence of yours?
      If the others exist, why don't you view your god as vain for claiming to be the only true god?

      February 16, 2012 at 11:38 am |
    • To Whom It May Concern

      @hippy – I read your post, and while I disagree, I'll stick to my first sentence which said that there are simply too many intricacies to discuss on a comments section. Please do your own research into the inquiries you question, but make sure to have an open mind because if your decision's already made and nothing can change your mind then there's really no point no matter which way the evidence leads. Cheers.

      February 16, 2012 at 11:55 am |
    • hippypoet

      lol, good sidestep – i'm moving on now. A simple ask – answer is too much for you. No worries, i'm sure god will answer all of your questions!

      February 16, 2012 at 12:06 pm |
    • Peter F

      @To Whom It May Concern,

      Thanks so much for sharing!!! What an amazing testimony of how God points us to the truth.

      February 16, 2012 at 1:14 pm |
  5. 2 Corinthians 13:11-14

    Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.
    Greet one another with a holy kiss. All God’s people here send their greetings.
    May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

    February 16, 2012 at 7:55 am |
    • been there done that prayer works


      February 16, 2012 at 7:56 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      "Then Zipporah took a sharp stone, and cut off the foreskin of her son, and cast it at his feet, and said, Surely a bloody husband art thou to me."
      Exodus 4:25

      February 16, 2012 at 8:09 am |
    • Primewonk

          "At that time the Spirit of the LORD came upon Jephthah, and he went throughout the land of Gilead and Manas.seh, including Mizpah in Gilead, and led an army against the Ammonites.  And Jephthah made a vow to the LORD. He said, "If you give me victory over the Ammonites, I will give to the LORD the first thing coming out of my house to greet me when I return in triumph.  I will sacrifice it as a burnt offering." 
          "So Jephthah led his army against the Ammonites, and the LORD gave him victory.  He thoroughly defeated the Ammonites from Aroer to an area near Minnith – twenty towns – and as far away as Abel-keramim. Thus Israel subdued the Ammonites.  When Jephthah returned home to Mizpah, his daughter – his only child – ran out to meet him, playing on a tambourine and dancing for joy.  When he saw her, he tore his clothes in anguish.  "My daughter!" he cried out.  "My heart is breaking!  What a tragedy that you came out to greet me. For I have made a vow to the LORD and cannot take it back."  And she said, "Father, you have made a promise to the LORD.  You must do to me what you have promised, for the LORD has given you a great victory over your enemies, the Ammonites.  But first let me go up and roam in the hills and weep with my friends for two months, because I will die a virgin."  "You may go," Jephthah said. And he let her go away for two months.  She and her friends went into the hills and wept because she would never have children.  When she returned home, her father kept his vow, and she died a virgin.  So it has become a custom in Israel for young Israelite women to go away for four days each year to lament the fate of Jephthah's daughter."   (Judges 11:29-40 NLT)

      February 16, 2012 at 8:19 am |
    • been there done that prayer works


      February 16, 2012 at 8:31 am |
    • Brad

      You can learn a lot about people from their favorite Bible verses.

      February 16, 2012 at 8:31 am |
  6. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things

    February 16, 2012 at 7:07 am |
    • Primewonk

      Spam! Spam! Spam! Spam!
      Lovely spam! Wonderful spam!
      Spam spa-a-a-a-a-am spam spa-a-a-a-a-am spam.
      Lovely spam! Lovely spam! Lovely spam! Lovely spam!
      Spam spam spam spam!

      February 16, 2012 at 8:21 am |
    • bringoutyourdead

      demon tries to undermine prayer in deadly fear of what prayer represents

      February 16, 2012 at 8:30 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      I'll have the Lobster Thermidor a Crevette with a mornay sauce served in a Provencale manner with shallots and aubergines garnished with truffle pate, brandy and with a fried egg on top and prayer.

      February 16, 2012 at 8:38 am |
    • captain america

      Then have it in canada with your national anthem and leave American lobsters to US. There's your sign

      February 16, 2012 at 9:09 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Since it's a Monty Python bit, that would be a British lobster.

      February 16, 2012 at 9:15 am |
    • hippypoet

      oh come on, don't you have anything without spam in it?

      February 16, 2012 at 9:27 am |
    • just sayin

      Spamalot, but that is in a different time, long, long ago.

      February 16, 2012 at 9:31 am |
    • captain america

      I would have said that but I respect a Kingdoms (Spamalot) rights to self determination. There's your sign

      February 16, 2012 at 9:35 am |
    • hippypoet

      well, you could always eat the sir robin's minstrels if the spam is too much for you!

      February 16, 2012 at 9:35 am |
    • hippypoet

      canadian hateing loser –
      want a sign – follow the sandle!

      February 16, 2012 at 9:36 am |
  7. Muneef


    February 16, 2012 at 6:55 am |
    • Brad

      "Jamal Hamdan's lead in exposing the lie that the Jews present were descendants of the Israelites who came out of Palestine during the periods before birth, and has proved in his book "Jews Anthropology" published in 1967, the empirical evidence that the modern Jews who claim they belong to Palestine are not the descendants of Jews who left Palestine before the birth, but they belong to the empire of "Khazar Tatar," which has existed between the "Caspian Sea" and "Black Sea", and converted to Judaism in the eighth century AD, which was confirmed a decade later, "Arthur Koestler" author book the thirteenth tribe, which was released in 1976."

      I've followed a little of the genetic anthropology of Jews. One interesting finding is that there is a set of Y-chromosome markers found in the Kohanim that are found among most groups that identify themselves as Jewish. This strongly indicates a common origin. The date of that common origin appears to be greater than 100 generations, so I think the claim that most Jews in Israel/Palestine are descendants of the original Jews of the region is well-supported. Jamal Hamdan could have benefited from modern scholarship.

      February 16, 2012 at 8:27 am |
    • gayjesus

      Jews. Jews never change.

      February 16, 2012 at 9:42 am |
    • Muneef

      Interesting...in such case you will find the same chromosome applying to all in the area whether Muslims or Christians ?
      Any way does that gives a reason for who dispute his findings to assassinate him in this manner ?

      February 16, 2012 at 8:23 pm |
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.