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February 24th, 2012
11:12 AM ET

Obama apologizes to Afghanistan for Quran burning

From Masoud Popalzai and Nick Paton Walsh, CNN

Kabul, Afghanistan (CNN) - Afghan rage over the burning of Qurans by NATO troops continued Thursday even after a President Barack Obama apologized for the "error."

Afghanistan erupted in violent demonstrations after the troops burned the Islamic religious material at the beginning of the week.

Two American troops were killed Thursday by a man wearing an Afghan National Army uniform, a U.S. official said, asking not to be named discussing casualties. The gunman is thought to have been acting in conjunction with a protest outside the base, the official said.

In a letter delivered to Afghan President Hamid Karzai, Obama called the act "inadvertent," Karzai's office and National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor said Thursday.

FULL STORY
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Afghanistan • Islam • Quran • TV-The Situation Room

February 24th, 2012
04:26 AM ET

Belief Blog's Morning Speed Read for Friday, February 24

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: White House, State Department condemn Iran on pastor’s execution orders
Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, an Iranian Christian charged with leaving Islam, has received a local trial courts final verdict, according to sources close to his legal team, and may now be executed for leaving Islam.

Marco Rubio - a man of many faiths.

CNN: Sen. Marco Rubio's religious journey: Catholic to Mormon to Catholic to Baptist and Catholic
A new wrinkle emerged Thursday in the autobiography of a rising Republican star: Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, was once a Mormon. Rubio, a Cuban-American who has played up his Catholic roots on the campaign trail and today attends Catholic churches as well as a Southern Baptist megachurch, was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as a young boy.

FULL POST

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Uncategorized

White House, State Department condemn Iran on pastor's execution orders
Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani shown in an Iranian prison.
February 23rd, 2012
07:59 PM ET

White House, State Department condemn Iran on pastor's execution orders

By Dan Merica, CNN

Washington (CNN) - Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, an Iranian Christian charged with leaving Islam, has received a local trial courts final verdict, according to sources close to his legal team, and may now be executed for leaving Islam.

Jodran Sekulow, executive director of the American Center for Law and Justice, said he was informed on Monday by the pastor's legal team that the final execution order had been issued. At this point, said Sekulow, the pastor could be executed without the legal team's knowledge.

The White House issued a pointed statement on Thursday, strongly condemning the reports and renewed calls for Iranian authorities to release the pastor.

FULL POST

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Christianity • Iran

Sen. Marco Rubio's religious journey: Catholic to Mormon to Catholic to Baptist and Catholic
February 23rd, 2012
04:50 PM ET

Sen. Marco Rubio's religious journey: Catholic to Mormon to Catholic to Baptist and Catholic

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

(CNN) - A new wrinkle emerged Thursday in the autobiography of a rising Republican star: Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, was once a Mormon.  Rubio, a Cuban-American who has played up his Catholic roots on the campaign trail and today attends Catholic churches as well as a Southern Baptist megachurch, was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as a young boy.

Rubio's attendance in the church was little-known and made a splash when details of a forthcoming memoir were reported Thursday by the Miami Herald and the website BuzzFeed.

Thursday afternoon, Rubio's spokesman elaborated on his complex journey of faith.

"He had already planned on discussing his faith journey in his memoir," Alex Conant said. "His faith journey was part of the pitch to the publishers.”

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Belief • Catholic Church • Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints • Politics

Americans are polarized on religion but agreeable about it, authors say
Two authors describe Americans' ability to get along with people of different religions as the 'Aunt Susan effect.'
February 23rd, 2012
03:17 PM ET

Americans are polarized on religion but agreeable about it, authors say

Editor's note: Listen to the CNN Radio interview with Robert Putnam and David Campbell, authors "American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us":

By Katie Glaeser and Emma Lacey-Bordeaux, CNN

Forget the economy. Debate about contraception, abortion, same-sex marriage, even Satan, has attracted just as much attention on the presidential campaign trail in recent weeks.

While culture war issues make headlines galore, an exhaustive study of Americans' religious attitudes shows the public as a whole might not find the debate so enticing.

Robert Putnam and David Campbell are authors of the recent book "American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us" and say that Americans have a knack for being able to disagree about hot button issues without being disagreeable.

"America is very unusual in being able to live comfortably with the people we disagree with," says Putnam, a Harvard University professor who also wrote the book "Bowling Alone."

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Books

February 23rd, 2012
04:34 AM ET

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

CNN: For the rush on Ash Wednesday, ashes on the go
If not on this Ash Wednesday, groups of Methodists and Episcopalians took to the streets in cities across the country to make sure you got them, representing a growing ashes-on-the-run movement.

CNN: After Anne Frank baptism, Mormons vow to discipline members
Reacting to a report that well-known Holocaust victim Anne Frank had been baptized by proxy in a Mormon temple, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints says it is committed to disciplining members of its church who conducted such baptisms, which violate church policy.

FULL POST

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Uncategorized

February 22nd, 2012
10:47 PM ET

For the rushed on Ash Wednesday, ashes on the go

By Gabe LaMonica, CNN

(CNN) - Got ashes?

If not on this Ash Wednesday, groups of Methodists and Episcopalians took to the streets in cities across the country to make sure you got them, representing a growing ashes-on-the-run movement.

In Washington, Julie Bringman of the Foundry United Methodist Church led a group of four Methodists outside the Dupont Circle Metro station with manila folders emblazoned with the question “Got Ashes?” in black ink.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Christianity • Lent

February 22nd, 2012
09:21 PM ET

Oliver Stone's son on 'accepting Mohammed'

By Dan Merica, CNN

(CNN) – A week after news outlets reported on the conversion of Oliver Stone's son Sean to Islam, Sean denied he'd converted while also saying he has "accepted Mohammed."

“I happen to agree with what Mahatma Gandhi, he said 'I’m Hindu, a Jew, a Christian, a Muslim and a Buddhist,'” Stone said in an interview with CNN.

But Stone also referred to himself as a Muslim, calling Islam “an extension of the Judeo-Christian heritage. Mohammed is a prophet in that same line going back to Abraham.”

Iran's semi-official Fars News Agency reported last week that Sean had converted to Islam, and news outlets around the world picked up the the story.

But in the Wednesday CNN interview, Stone said he did not “feel like I have become a Muslim.”

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Islam • Movies

After Anne Frank baptism, Mormons vow to discipline members
A picture of Anne Frank, perhaps the most famous victim of the Holocaust.
February 22nd, 2012
05:11 PM ET

After Anne Frank baptism, Mormons vow to discipline members

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

(CNN) - Reacting to a report that well-known Holocaust victim Anne Frank had been baptized by proxy in a Mormon temple, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints says it is committed to disciplining members of its church who conducted such baptisms, which violate church policy.

Word of the Frank baptism came a week after the issue of Mormon posthumous proxy baptism of Jews attracted national attention. This controversy surfaced after it was reported that the dead parents of Jewish Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal had been baptized in a Mormon temple.

The church apologized for that baptism, blaming it on a technical glitch in its system for submitting names for posthumous proxy baptism.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Judaism • Mormonism

iReport: Ash Wednesday in the Philippines
February 22nd, 2012
04:53 PM ET

iReport: Ash Wednesday in the Philippines

Manila, Philippines (CNN iReport)– iReporter "armantaylo" shot these photos Wednesday of Catholics receiving the imposition of ashes at the famous Basilica of the Black Nazarene in Manila, Philippines. "The service went peacefully but the line to get anointed is never ending, as passerby also join the line," he said.

See the pictures here form CNN iReport
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Catholic Church • Christianity

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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.

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