June 20th, 2012
04:28 AM ET

Belief Blog's Morning Speed Read for Wednesday, June 20

By Laura Koran, 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: Southern Baptists elect first black president
More than 160 years after its founding as a pro-slavery church, the Southern Baptist Convention on Tuesday elected a black pastor for the first time to lead the denomination. The election of the Rev. Fred Luter Jr. of New Orleans comes 17 years after Southern Baptist leaders apologized for the denomination's onetime support of white supremacist and segregationist policies.

CNN: Hasidic child sex abuse allegations
Areas of Brooklyn, New York feel like a trip back in time. Ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities live a lifestyle that mirrors their ancestors from centuries ago. The dress, hair, language, education, food, values, prayers, traditions and community structure have been passed down and preserved through many generations and across oceans. All of those are an expression of the residents’ profound faith in God. What is not visible are shameful secrets: Child sex abuse scandals have been making headlines for years and bringing unwanted attention to a group bent on privacy.

According to a 2008 poll, 31% of Americans were raised Catholic, but only 24% describe themselves as Catholic.

CNN: 'Recovering Catholics' reveal spiritual journeys
Kristen Kelly was raised Roman Catholic, attended Catholic elementary school and considered herself a good Catholic, but when she was 21-years-old that changed. “A coworker asked me if I believe in Jesus Christ,” she says. Despite spending her entire life in the Roman Catholic Church she couldn’t answer the question.

Tweet of the Day:

[tweet https://twitter.com/publicreligion/status/215111972251906049%5D

Belief on TV:

Enlightening Reads:

Christianity Today: Q & A: Marco Rubio on His Faith of Many Colors
As speculation has grown over who Mitt Romney will pick as his running mate, Florida Senator Marco Rubio has topped nearly every list. Rubio has also drawn attention with the release of his memoir, An American Son, as well as his brief time in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, his baptism into the Roman Catholic Church, and his ties to an evangelical church. Christianity Today online editor Sarah Pulliam Bailey spoke with Rubio about his diverse faith background, how his faith influences his policy positions, and why Christians should be involved in the public square.

The New York Times: West Bank Mosque Is Set Ablaze and Vandalized
A West Bank mosque was burned and vandalized early on Tuesday, with graffiti warning in Hebrew of a “war” over the impending evacuation of the small, disputed Jewish settlement of Ulpana. Police officials said it was the fourth attack on a mosque in the last 18 months and part of a recent uptick in so-called price tag episodes by radical settlers.

The Jewish Telegraphic Agency: Hebrew National’s owner rejects suit’s claim that products are not up to kosher standards
Hebrew National boasts of "answering to a higher authority," but several class-action lawyers are hoping to take one of the country's largest kosher meat producers to an earthly court. A class-action lawsuit filed recently alleges that Hebrew National’s iconic hot dogs and other meats do not comport with the brand’s claim to be kosher “as defined by the most stringent Jews who follow Orthodox Jewish law.”

Religion News Service: Religious groups vie for Internet domain names
Religious groups have long vied for prime parcels of land, planting churches on town squares and monasteries amid isolated mountains. But now they’re targeting real estate in a less tangible sphere: cyberspace. For the first time in its history, the international nonprofit that doles out generic Internet domain names such as “.com” and “.edu” will allow more specific web address extensions like “.church.”

The Huffington Post: Belief In Hell Lowers Crime Rate, According To International Study
Religions are thought to serve as bulwarks against unethical behaviors. However, when it comes to predicting criminal behavior, the specific religious beliefs one holds is the determining factor, says a University of Oregon psychologist. The study, appearing in the Public Library of Science journal PLoS ONE, found that criminal activity is lower in societies where people's religious beliefs contain a strong punitive component than in places where religious beliefs are more benevolent. A country where many more people believe in heaven than in hell, for example, is likely to have a much higher crime rate than one where these beliefs are about equal.

Quote of the Day:

I really don't endorse criticisms of the President's faith. I don't think they are fair, to be honest. One key thing about Christianity is that it requires voluntary acceptance of faith. If someone says he is a Christian, it is a sign of Christianity in and of itself.

Republican Senator Marco Rubio of Florida tells Christianity Today, in response to those who doubt President Obama is a Christian.

Join the conversation…

The Obama administration wants to require insurance companies to provide free contraception coverage.

CNN: Key Catholic group drops support for White House contraception plan
The Obama administration’s key Catholic ally on its controversial plan to require health insurers to provide free contraceptive coverage is dropping support for the plan, potentially complicating the president’s relations with Catholics in an election year. The Catholic Health Association, which comprises 2,000 Catholic hospitals, health systems and related organizations, said Friday that although it had initially supported what the White House called a compromise on the contraception issue, it is now “deeply concerned” about the plan and says the White House “has not relieved our initial concerns.”

- CNN's Laura Koran

Filed under: Uncategorized

soundoff (24 Responses)
  1. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things

    June 21, 2012 at 8:52 pm |
    • Fladabosco

      History has shown that religion is not healthy for children, the planet, freedom, innocent civilians, people of other religions, little boys who trust priests, justice for the poor, education, knowledge of the world around us, social health, the arts...

      June 22, 2012 at 10:50 am |
    • Jesus

      Prayer doesn’t not; you are such a LIAR. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs!

      June 22, 2012 at 11:34 am |
  2. hippypoet

    Awakened Desire

    I dream of a night where i can blink eye and put out the light.
    It's obvious to me now to get to sleep is held by slits allow.
    When it came time for shut-eye and goodbye.
    My spirit was set free for great depravity.
    I bit my lip and clenched my fist,
    But these tainted desires, these thoughts persist.
    At the reach of each arm lay a tangible temptation.
    Through the act of sin i find i love this abomination.
    I caress her legs and run my fingers down her skin.
    The warmth of her body, like a blanket I wrap myself in.
    I @ssume her throne and bathe in her power.
    I rock her earth and debase her flower.
    Shy the sigh and give to scream instead.
    Don't hold back, Lay with three in the artists bed.
    One for me and one for you,
    Lets find out what an extra four lips can do.
    You have your toy and I have mine.
    How fast can you make those eyes shine?
    I make you my own and show you my cure.
    You'll never walk right again, that you can be sure.
    So I pull out and set my loin free.
    I see in friends eye desire my specter be.
    She charges hell's inferno and makes me her own.
    But little does this wretch know there is no room for her on my throne.
    Know if others fire burns in my eye, there will be no sleep for me.
    For I find I have a grave gift of deplorable debauchery.

    June 20, 2012 at 7:08 pm |
    • junior

      Ignorance of scripture is ignorance of Christ.

      June 20, 2012 at 7:31 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      Ignorance of logic is ignorance promoted by religions.

      June 20, 2012 at 7:33 pm |
    • hippypoet

      well.... i find ignorance to be a reflection of ones self....and religion is just an outlet for ones yerning to be accecpted by others who are as equally ignorant as yourself.


      June 20, 2012 at 7:56 pm |
  3. nom

    Death is only a few minutes away at any time.
    Don't waste your time with religious insanity. Do something intelligent with your life.

    June 20, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
    • Lady Gaga's Shocking Exploding Panties Disaster!

      Death is only a few minutes away? Do I take the 17 bus, or is the subway faster?

      June 20, 2012 at 6:33 pm |
  4. J.W

    Is it possible to be a Christian and disregard the Bible? If I believe in God and Jesus, do I have to believe the Bible is the word of God?

    June 20, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
    • Fobe

      Technically, yes and no respectively.

      Beliefs can be as va.gue and unstructured as a person's ignorance will let them believe.
      Going by the texts written to be deliberately va.gue, you only have to believe that the name "Jesus" is a name to be "saved".
      You are not required to believe in a god, or messiah. Only that there was someone named "Jesus" at one time in history.

      June 20, 2012 at 1:12 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      I don’t think it would be possible to disregard the bible and be a Christian. There are Christians who don’t read and study the bible much. They listen to what the preachers and teachers say and that is enough for them. But, how would they ever know anything about God or Jesus without the bible even if they are getting it second hand? Once you became a Christian you could continue to be one without reading and studying the bible, but I don’t know how you would be able to learn and grow. It would be difficult without accepting the bible as the written word of God.

      June 20, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
    • ME II

      "Is it possible to be a Christian and disregard the Bible?"

      I would have to wonder how one would even know about Jesus, in order to be "Christian", without at least some 'regard' for the Bible, even second-hand.

      June 20, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
    • ME II

      Sorry, @Robert Brown, don't know why I didn't see your response.

      June 20, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
  5. ME II

    I find the article, "The Huffington Post: Belief In Hell Lowers Crime Rate, According To International Study" very intriguing.

    I wonder how it compares with studies on the effectiveness of the death penalty in deterring crime?

    June 20, 2012 at 10:09 am |
    • ME II

      There seem to be arguments from both sides, but I haven't read enough of them. Anyone have a definitive paper on this?


      June 20, 2012 at 10:11 am |
    • HeavenSkunt

      Atheists have a lower incarceration rate than christards or muzzies.

      June 20, 2012 at 11:26 am |
    • ME II

      What's your point? Other than having to resort to name calling, that is.

      BTW I'm not a Theist, I just found the article interesting.

      June 20, 2012 at 12:00 pm |
    • HeavenSkunt

      My point is, if a belief in hell reduces crime, than why is it that christards and muzzies, who both believe in hell, have higher incarceration rates than atheists, who do not believe in hell.

      How hard was that to figure out from my previous statement?

      Are you stupid?

      June 20, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
    • ME II

      "How hard was that to figure out from my previous statement?"

      Considering that my question was about how this new study relates to the deterrent effect of the death penalty, I felt it necessary to ask how your statement related to my question, i.e. "what's your point?".

      What you're saying is that is wasn't related at all. Thank you.

      June 20, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
  6. HeavenSkunt

    Unfortunately, I have faith that people of faith will never accept scientific explanations.

    June 20, 2012 at 9:56 am |
  7. Doc Vestibule

    Atheism is a negative statement that says only what one does NOT believe.
    It does not imply any behaviours, morals, or ethical characteristics whatsoever.
    That being said, I do have faith.
    Not the kind that demands willful suspension of disbelief in order to accept supernatural dogma as Truth, but rather faith based on the evidence of progress resulting from the application of the scientific method for the last 150 years.
    I have faith in my species' insatiable curiosity about the universe and our place in it.
    I have faith that there will always be people who add data to help our exploration of the universe, though the answers they seek likely will not come in their own lifetimes.
    I have faith that while some things are unknown, nothing is ultimately unknowable.

    June 20, 2012 at 8:46 am |
    • Len

      Did you suddenly have a stroke, Doc? You sound like an idiot this morning.

      June 20, 2012 at 9:57 am |
    • Fladabosco

      There are things that are unknowable. That is why so many people confuse 'truth' with 'belief.'

      Here's one I believe is unknowable: why would god make it such a puzzle to pick the right religion? If Christians are right then Buddhists are wrong. If Zoroasters are right then Muslims are wrong. If Mormons are right then Baptists are wrong.

      If there is a god why wouldn't it be so obvious there would be no doubt?

      June 22, 2012 at 10:56 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.