December 7th, 2012
04:19 AM ET

Belief Blog's Morning Speed Read for Friday, December 07

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: West Point cadet quits over religion
Military development. Academics. Athletics. Three pillars of Army values that cadets at America's most prestigious military academy live by. But West Point cadet Blake Page says there is one other unspoken pillar at the United States Military Academy: religion. That's why, with just five months left before graduation, Page quit. And he did it in a most public fashion – in a fiery blog post.

CNN: Mormon website embraces LGBT community
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which has fought against same-sex marriage throughout the United States, launched a website on Thursday that preaches understanding and compassion for the gay and lesbian community.

CNN: The Belief Blog's Hanukkah kitsch gift list
Americans love kitsch, and the holidays bring out the best in our love/hate relationship with products that are so bad they just might be great. Each December you can find some terror-stricken parents ambling through toy stores like zombies in search of the perfect gift for their children. But if no perfect gift can be found, you can always turn to kitsch. That awful holiday faithy kind. It's so bad it just might work. Hanukkah is no exception.

Belief on TV:

Photos of the Day:

Photo credit: PHILIPPE DESMAZES/AFP/Getty Images

People look at 'The Sarabande of Magnificent Animals' on December 6, 2012 in Lyon, central eastern France, during the 14th edition of the 'Fete des Lumieres' (Festival of Lights), a secular version of a religious tradition devoted to Virgin Mary and dating back 152 years ago.

Photo credit: PHILIPPE DESMAZES/AFP/Getty Images

A picture taken on December 6, 2012 shows the Saint-Jean cathedral enlightened in Lyon, central eastern France, during the 14th edition of the 'Fête des Lumières.

Enlightening Reads:

Haaretz: N.Y. shul rabbis backtrack on support for Palestinian UN bid
On Thursday, the rabbis backtracked. In an unusual mea culpa, the three rabbis at the helm of the progressive synagogue Congregation B’nai Jeshurun, on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, sent a note to congregants all but pleading for forgiveness. It followed an email to synagogue members on Friday celebrating Palestine’s admittance to United Nations membership. That led to an uproar – and a front page article in Tuesday’s New York Times.

The Guardian: Voodoo in Africa: Christian demonisation angers followers
But for the gentle hissing of pythons, Dah Dangbénon's voodoo temple could have been mistaken for a new-age hippy gathering. Seated in a semicircle on fraying raffia mats, devotees listened rapturously as the high priest talked at length about oneness with the cosmos. "There can be no equilibrium without respecting the universal laws of nature, and our ancient knowledge and traditions," said Dangbénon, a silver-haired man whose toenails were painted an improbable bright pink. He rolled his eyes exasperatedly when explaining how a faith that expressly forbade killing another human being had been "fetishised" by outsiders.

Religion News Service: The sacred ran through jazz legend Dave Brubeck’s music
"I approached the composition as a prayer," famed jazz pianist and composer Dave Brubeck said of his "To Hope! A Celebration," a contemporary setting for the Roman Catholic Mass, "concentrating upon the phrases, trying to probe beneath the surface, hoping to translate into music the powerful words which have grown through the centuries." Brubeck died Wednesday (Dec. 5) of heart failure, a day before his 92nd birthday.

JTA: 1 million sign on for ‘virtual march’ marking ‘87 Soviet Jewry rally
More than 1 million people have signed on to join a "virtual march" commemorating the Washington rally 25 years for the Soviet Jewry movement, according to a coalition marking the 1987 event. Freedom 25, a coalition of 20 organizations, was aiming to attract 1 million people online to remember Freedom Sunday, when some 250,000 demonstrators gathered on Dec. 6, 1987 to demand that Jews be allowed to leave the Soviet Union. The rally advanced the Soviet Jewry movement, eventually allowing millions of Russian Jews to leave for the United States, Israel and elsewhere, and influenced U.S. foreign policy.

Reuters: Turkey fines TV channel for airing blasphemy in Simpsons episode
Turkey’s broadcasting regulator is fining a television channel for insulting religious values after it aired an episode of “The Simpsons” which shows God taking orders from the devil. Radio and television watchdog RTUK said it was fining private broadcaster CNBC-e 52,951 lira ($30,000) over the episode of the hit U.S. animated TV series, whose scenes include the devil asking God to make him a coffee.

JTA: For Jewish Deadheads, the music never stopped
Nearly 20 years after the death of frontman Jerry Garcia, Jewish fans of the Grateful Dead still gather to maintain the sense of community that first attracted them to the band.

Quote of the Day:

Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, the spiritual leader of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, presides over a sermon to his followers.

Speaking from an Islamic perspective, we should strive for the entire world to unite together. In terms of currency the world should be united. In terms of business and trade the world should be united. And in terms of freedom of movement and immigration, cohesive and practical policies should be developed, so that the world can become united.

- Hadhrat Mirza Masroor, fifth Khalifa of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, addressed the European Parliament on December 04, 2012.

Join the conversation…

My Take: The religious roots of our political gridlock
Mark Osler, a professor of law at the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis, explains how the divide between Democrats and Republicans on issues like the fiscal cliff is “is tangled up in the faith differences of our legislators.”

- A. Hawkins

Filed under: Uncategorized

soundoff (45 Responses)
  1. Keena Dry

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    June 29, 2013 at 11:34 am |
  2. Rana Khalil Ahmed

    About God..Three in one and one in three, is not a right concept.It can make a great confliction.
    As we see that the basic principles of nature never change.God is only One.
    Request to friends,Pls continue this disscusion with arguments those exist?

    December 15, 2012 at 3:23 am |
  3. Ahmadi

    I think we need to settle down and be more sensible about faith. This collisions of faith is only damaging the world. Instead of debating each other, we must find common grounds among each other. I am an Ahmadi Muslim, the main stream has declared us non-muslims, but does that bother us? no, never. We continue to do what we beleive in and we continue to build good relationship with our non-muslims brothers and sisters and we continue to strive to be the part of the society we live in, no matter where we are in the world. Do not challenge people on their beliefs, religion is a personal matter and it must remain personal. Our social obligation to society is what we should focus on. Look where the world is going? when was the last time you heard a "good" news? This clash of faith has to stop. We live in age of educated, we can think and act on our own, we do not need a third person to tell us what is right and what is not. Religion does not belong to Clerics or Pastors or Rabbis. We should be able to to know what is right and what is not and follow the heard like sheeps. The world needs peace and love, now more than ever. Peace be upon you all.

    December 10, 2012 at 6:21 pm |
  4. Chick-a-dee

    @ Mirosal: I don't think so. We'll just have to agree to disagree.

    December 8, 2012 at 9:43 pm |
  5. Chick-a-dee

    @ Akira: King's & UTD. And you?

    December 8, 2012 at 9:41 pm |
    • Akira

      Purdue, Chick.

      December 9, 2012 at 1:09 am |
  6. Chick-a-dee

    Keep wondering darling. Someday, when/if you attain the age & prerequsites for undergraduate work, you will have the opportunity to take a logic class that will explain fact-based knowledge and faith-based knowledge and how to write for each. Spoiler: each type of knowledge is valid. Each has its own construct for proofs which are nonapplicable to the other.

    December 8, 2012 at 12:33 am |
    • I wonder

      .... I'm counting to ten so that I don't tear into you, you pompous little twit. Meh.

      December 8, 2012 at 1:08 am |
    • Akira

      Uh huh.
      Where did you attend college at, Chick?

      December 8, 2012 at 8:12 pm |
  7. Chick-a-dee

    Apparently, the concept of eternal just doesn't get through to this audience.

    December 7, 2012 at 9:03 pm |
    • I wonder

      Apparently the concept of verified evidence escapes you.

      December 7, 2012 at 10:19 pm |
  8. ME II

    Arrgghh!!!! I missed it.

    IQ2 had a debate last night I think on religion and science, Krauss v D'Souza.


    Here's Fox's take on it: http://www.foxnews.com/science/2012/12/07/science-vs-god-does-progress-trump-faith/?intcmp=features

    December 7, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
    • ME II

      I guess it was on the 5th.

      December 7, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
    • ME II

      @Dan, Eric, Stephen,

      Where the article?

      December 7, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
    • Lodents for Lomney

      D'Souza is such a fricking looser. Anything with him is a total waste of time. He a Utilitarian.
      Shocking anything THAT stupid:
      a.) got a PhD,
      and b.) is a college president.
      He's an embarrassment to himself and his school.

      December 7, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
  9. lionlylamb

    Paganism is of mankind's laments, due the penance forsaking does have needs. The quagmires of repentances dare challenges duly ones soul to seek yet never to find the fondness of being a servile offering nary to be made in haste. Tis it not now a seasoned condition for offering up gifted presence to the fielded folds of ones flock? We are bought and sold like mice in a maze. With reproofed vibrations being distanced valuations, the lingering wavelike breaths are salient reminders of re-verbalized aspirations. The cakes need to be eaten but not without the additions of icing aplenty. Eat well this common season's rebuttals and cherish deeply ones friendly rankings no matter what wrung one is perched upon.

    December 7, 2012 at 10:45 am |
    • In a word


      December 7, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
  10. myweightinwords

    Greetings everyone!

    Today at my workplace we are selling hand made scarves and hats, knitted and crocheted by various people who work here, to raise funds for a local homeless shelter and a local food bank. Whatever doesn't sell will be donated to the homeless shelter to be passed out to those in need.

    Many make donations of some kind this time of year. What organizations do you support with your time or money? Why do you chose those organizations?

    December 7, 2012 at 10:39 am |
    • JWT

      Financially I support the local mental health hospital and the schizophrenia society as I have a son with sz. Also the local food bank and a woman`s shelter as i find them worthwhile causes with a growing need.

      Timewise I used to support youth sports until my agoraphobia and depression got too bad.

      December 7, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
    • Chick-a-dee

      The National Multiple Sclerosis Society – http://www.nationalmssociety.org/index.aspx
      I live with this.

      The Society of St. Vincent de Paul – http://www.svdpusa.org/
      They provide real assistance directly to those who need it and don't make them jump through hoops to get it.

      Good Shepherd Rescue of North Texas – http://www.petfinder.com/shelters/TX274.html
      GSDs are awesome animals!

      December 7, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
  11. ME II

    "Reuters: Turkey fines TV channel for airing blasphemy in Simpsons episode"
    Probably best. ... but, not because of the supposed blasphemy.

    December 7, 2012 at 10:19 am |
  12. mama k

    I'm still confused about this Mitochondrial eve woman. If she lived ~200,000 years ago, then how do those generational stats work out in Genesis? They say in there that Lamech lived 777 years. So, to make things work out in light of M Eve, is the Christian supposed to multiply those by 10? That would mean Lamech lived 7770 years. It'a already hard enough to believe the 777 figure.

    December 7, 2012 at 9:09 am |
    • Saraswati

      Are the young earth and mitochondial eve folks the same people? I've always assumed they were different groups.

      December 7, 2012 at 9:11 am |
    • Robert Brown

      When I read about the mitochondrial Eve, I thought science is agreeing with the bible. All humans descended from Eve.

      December 7, 2012 at 10:14 am |
    • ME II

      When is Mitochondria and what do we do the evening before it?


      December 7, 2012 at 10:22 am |
    • mama k

      Robert – I have to assume that it is not a problem for those who believe that science and the Bible agree, but who obviously are also not young-earth creationists. But even so, I wonder how the Vatican or other Christians interpret Genesis or reinterpret Genesis each time new, older evidence of man's existence on this planet is discovered.

      December 7, 2012 at 10:30 am |
    • Primewonk

      Mitochondrial Eve is simply the matrilineal most recent common ancestor. She lived in Africa about 200,000 years ago. There are 2 types of DNA. Nuclear DNA – which makes up your genetic code. It comes from your parents, who got theirs from their parents, ...

      Mitochondrial DNA is a special type of DNA that is in the mitochondrial of cells. This is passed on from the mother. Your mtDNA is almost identical to your mother's, which was almost identical to her mothers, ... It is these small changes that drive the clock letting us know how far back we are.

      Mitochondrial Eve was one of many other females alive at the time. The lines of descendents from other women alive at the time died out. Mitochondrial Eve's mtDNA was not special, it was the same as her mother, and her mother, ...

      There is also a Y chromosome Adam. This man also lived in Africa, but he lived more recently, 50,000 years ago or so, and from a different area than Eve.

      Naming these two folks "Adam and Eve" is almost as stupid as naming the Higgs Boston the "God Particle".

      December 7, 2012 at 10:39 am |
    • Honey Badger Dont Care

      The story about how the god particle got it's name is actually a pretty funny one.

      December 7, 2012 at 10:48 am |
    • Primewonk

      You mean the "Goddàmn Particle "?

      December 7, 2012 at 10:56 am |
    • Robert Brown

      mama k,
      I am sure it obvious by now that I am not a scientist. That was the thought I had when I read about the mitochondrial Eve. I can honestly say I don’t know how old the earth or humans are. There are bible scholars who have counted the years based on the people recorded in the bible and their ages when they died. Some say there are gaps in the genealogies given because of the way the father was considered the head of a family and when it says so and so begat so and so, the father could actually be the great great, ever how many greats you want, grandfather of the son mentioned, for example, Jesus the son of David. I have read some good commentaries on the first twelve chapters of Genesis and there are lots of thoughts on it. I have even had a few of my own, but when and if you meet God for yourself, the questions about things like this, while interesting, are not the most important things.

      December 7, 2012 at 11:05 am |
    • Honey Badger Dont Care


      Sounds like you're sayin that the bible has flaws in it.

      December 7, 2012 at 11:29 am |
    • lionlylamb

      Robert Brown, mama k et al,

      Have you not read that "a day is as a thousand years" God time wise? Psalms 90:4 "For a thousand years in thy sight [are but] as yesterday when it is past, and [as] a watch in the night."

      2Peter 3:8 But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day [is] with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.

      Such as is written does leave one to wonder when calculating biblical ages regarding the aged universe of our Cosmologic ordered assemblies. Science does not want to contend that there are immeasurable universes within a singular Cosmos of yet more unknowable numbers of Cosmos onto infinity and beyond!

      December 7, 2012 at 11:45 am |
    • ME II

      I don't think Earth and the universe were created in 6 days nor 6 thousand years. The universe is 13+ billion years old.

      December 7, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
    • Chick-a-dee

      What is the relationship between Mitochondrial Eve and the seven mitochondrial strains identified for Europe? Have they identified other strains for other continents?

      p.s. Those who adhere to the "new earth" ideas are neither scientifically correct nor theologically sound. The Church has never supported a literal interpretation of the old testament. Christians who are not in communion with the Catholic Church have to field these questions themselves since they stirred them up on their own without any authorization.

      December 7, 2012 at 6:59 pm |
    • Chick-a-dee

      289 Among all the Scriptural texts about creation, the first three chapters of Genesis occupy a unique place. From a literary standpoint these texts may have had diverse sources. The inspired authors have placed them at the beginning of Scripture to express in their solemn language the truths of creation — its origin and its end in God, its order and goodness, the vocation of man, and finally the drama of sin and the hope of salvation. Read in the light of Christ, within the unity of Sacred Scripture and in the living Tradition of the Church, these texts remain the principal source for catechesis on the mysteries of the "beginning": creation, fall, and promise of salvation.

      337 God himself created the visible world in all its richness, diversity and order. Scripture presents the work of the Creator symbolically as a succession of six days of divine "work", concluded by the "rest" of the seventh day. On the subject of creation, the sacred text teaches the truths revealed by God for our salvation, permitting us to "recognize the inner nature, the value and the ordering of the whole of creation to the praise of God."

      Catechism of the Catholic Church

      December 7, 2012 at 7:09 pm |
  13. Chick-a-dee

    @ all & mirosal: Get moving kids! You're going to make yourself late for school if you keep messing around!

    December 7, 2012 at 8:54 am |
    • Jack

      How funny that someone with the name "Chick-a-dee" would accuse others of being childish.

      December 7, 2012 at 10:33 am |
  14. Chick-a-dee

    "Advent, this powerful liturgical season that we are beginning, invites us to pause in silence to understand a presence. It is an invitation to understand that the individual events of the day are hints that God is giving us, signs of the attention he has for each one of us." -Pope Benedict VXI

    December 7, 2012 at 8:37 am |
  15. All The Religious News From Around The World

    In a perfect record of such flawless constancy that it must be the work of God, no supernatural occurance happened anywhere in the universe today. This is over 5,000,000,000,000 days in a row that nothing supernatural happened, and that presumes that time started with the universe. If time somehow preceded the universe, then the record is a perfect infinity.

    One might mistake that for a belief that there is no god, but such perfection can only come from Jesus.

    December 7, 2012 at 4:45 am |
    • Mirosal

      But, your Jesus guy was only born about 2000 years ago (IF he existed in the first place). What about the billions of years BEFORE your "savior" walked the Earth? As'suming, of course, he he really did walk and talk amongst us mere mortals.

      December 7, 2012 at 6:31 am |
    • lionlylamb

      Lap-lustered deisms denials do forlorn the flagellum of the ridiculer in "bemoaning laments" reprisals within the base commoners tribulations of tried and still trying lack-lustered piteous nuances. We are all as peas in the pods of life's abundances in the matrix of living measures meant to reasonably prove or deny the bustles and hustles toward infidelities accruals. God forbade as we do deny and still yet we are. Where then does justifiable will become an averaged domicile of cursed acquittals for the ills meanderings sake?

      December 7, 2012 at 11:27 am |
    • Chick-a-dee

      @ Mirosal: God is eternal, having no beginning and no end. God is the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. One God in three persons. Jesus is God. God is eternal.

      Are you confusing yourself with your question? Is this too difficult a concept for you? Or, are you trying to stir up something?

      December 7, 2012 at 7:15 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Mirosal isn't confusing himself. He's asking YOU to explain. Why don't you do that, and cite the sources for your 'facts'?

      December 7, 2012 at 7:17 pm |
    • I wonder

      Chick a dee,

      Maybe Mirosal might have said "billions of people" instead of "billions of years".

      Where is Amenhotep today?
      Where is Aristotle today?
      Where is Aesop today?
      Where are cave-people, Oooga and Uggha today?
      - multiplied by billions... all lived before your "savior".

      December 7, 2012 at 7:26 pm |
    • Mirosal

      @ Chick-a-dee your "god" is NOT eternal as you claim. The Greeks and Romans thought their gods were also eternal. But, stop believing, and they fade away. Same with yours. In time, your "god" shall also be relegated to the realm of mythology where it rightfully belongs.

      December 8, 2012 at 2:16 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.