By Arielle Hawkins, 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: Democrats update platform with Jerusalem, God reference
Democrats voted to update their party's platform Wednesday evening at their convention to include a reference to Jerusalem being the capital of Israel, as well as the insertion of the word "God," neither of which was included in their platform this year but was in previous platforms.
CNN: Rising anti-Islamic sentiment in America troubles Muslims
When the nation pauses to remember 9/11 next week, a group of Tennesseans will gather at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Franklin for a commemoration. But it will be more than that. On the program, called "The Threat in Our Backyard," is a lecture on Islam in public schools and a short film on Sharia finance. It's a program organized by people who feel the American way of life is threatened by Islam – in particular, Sharia, or Islamic law. Valarie Kaur, a legal advocate and hate crimes specialist, says proponents of anti-Sharia bills are battling an imaginary threat, and blames tough economic times and an amplification of hateful speech for incidents like the temple shooting and the momentum behind the anti-Sharia campaign.
CNN: Catholic nun brings her star power to DNC
Sister Simone Campbell got what may have been the biggest media platform of her life on Wednesday night, when she addressed the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina. By asking her to speak at their convention, the Democrats appear keen to capitalize on Campbell's budding celebrity at a moment when the official Roman Catholic Church has been critical of the Obama administration, claiming that it is infringing on religious liberty.
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The Guardian: Islamic Green Lantern introduced by DC Comics
DC Comics introduced a new Green Lantern on Wednesday – a Muslim from Dearborn, Michigan, who leaves behind street racing to join an intergalactic police force. Simon Baz, the muscular protagonist in his early 20s with the Arabic word for courage, "al-shuja'a," tattooed on his arm, is the latest example of superhero diversity in the comic book world. His debut comes after DC unveiled a gay Green Lantern in June and Marvel Comics presented a half-black, half-Latino Spider-Man last year.
Religion News Service: Muslim delegates at Democratic convention quadrupled since 2004
The number of Muslim delegates attending the Democratic National Convention has quadrupled since 2004, according to a Muslim advocacy group. The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations counts more than 100 Muslim delegates representing some 20 states at the Democratic convention in Charlotte, N.C., this week. That's up from 25 delegates in 2004, according to CAIR.
The Jerusalem Post: Clerics and politicians visit Latrun Monastery
Political and religious leaders continued to express their solidarity with the monks of the Latrun Monastery that was vandalized early Tuesday morning. Several delegations visited the site during the course of Wednesday. Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon visited the monastery during the afternoon and met with the abbot of the monastery, Father Rene. “In the name of the government of Israel and the people of Israel, I came here to shake your hand,” Ayalon told the Abbot. “This act of terrorism against you harms not only the people of the monastery but also the Jewish people and the State of Israel.”
Religion News Service: Catholic bishop says church’s credibility on sexual abuse is ‘shredded’
The U.S. Catholic bishops' point man on sexual abuse has said that the hierarchy's credibility on fixing the problem is "shredded" and that the situation is comparable to the Reformation, when “the episcopacy, the regular clergy, even the papacy were discredited.”
Excerpt of the Day:
Many of us believe that is only us mortals who struggle with our prayer, who can find prayer dull or dry or boring, who wonder if God hears us, if God cares, if it's all worth the effort. How lovely it must be to be a saint, we think, and to find prayer always easy and sweet and consoling and useful. We're sure that all the saints had to do is close their eyes to be instantly rewarded with warm feelings of God's presence. But the example of Mother Teresa - who struggled with great interior darkness for the latter half of her life - shows us that, in the end, the saints really are like the rest of us, struggling in every way that we do, even where we would least suspect it: in the spiritual life. Sometimes they have to struggle even more.
Over time, with the help of her Jesuit spiritual director, Mother Teresa came to view this painful darkness, as detailed in the book Come Be My Light, as the "spiritual side" of her ministry, a way of completely identifying with Christ, even in his feelings of abandonment on the cross. "I have come to love the darkness," she wrote in one letter, "for I believe it is a part, a very, very small part, of Jesus's darkness and pain on earth.
Rev. James Martin, S.J., Catholic priest and author of The Jesuit Guide to Almost Everything and My Life with the Saints, reflects on Mother Teresa’s life.
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CNN: Christians take discrimination cases to Europe's top court
Four British Christians urged Europe's top court Tuesday to rule that they faced discrimination because of their religious beliefs. Two women accuse their employers of refusing to let them wear crosses openly at work. Alongside them, a woman who declined to register gay civil partnerships and a man who did not want to give sex therapy to same-sex couples say they were unfairly dismissed from their jobs.