February 11th, 2013
05:26 AM ET

Belief Blog's Morning Speed Read for Monday, February 11, 2013

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: 36 killed in stampede at Indian rail station near huge Hindu festival
A railroad station crush left 36 people dead Sunday among tens of millions of Hindu pilgrims flocking to the banks of the Ganges River for the world's largest religious gathering, authorities reported. The stampede occurred about 7 p.m. after someone fell from a platform bridge in Allahabad, the scene of this year's Kumbh Mela festival, North-Central Railway spokesman Sandeep Mathur said.

CNN: Americans reveal their 3 favorite sins
“Lead me not into temptation. I can find it all by myself.” That line, taken from the country music song “Lead Me Not,” evokes smiles because it underscores a truth: The struggle against temptation is universal. A new survey, however, gets specific about the type of temptations most Americans battle against, and shows that men and women seem to wrestle with different vices.

CNN: Amish leader gets 15 years for beard attacks
A leader of a breakaway Amish community in rural eastern Ohio was sentenced Friday to 15 years in prison for forcibly cutting the beards and hair of community members. Samuel Mullet Sr., 67, and 15 followers were found guilty last year in connection with what authorities said were the religiously motivated attacks on several fellow Amish people. Mullet and others were convicted of conspiracy to violate a federal hate-crime law.

CNN: Israeli football club torched after signing Muslim players
Arsonists attacked the administrative offices of leading Israeli football club Beitar Jerusalem on Friday, police said. The attack occurred just days after the club signed two Muslim players. No one was injured in the fire, which was discovered around 5 a.m., police said. But the blaze damaged the club's trophy room.

Tweet of the Day:

[tweet https://twitter.com/JohnnieM/status/300816447867875330%5D

[tweet https://twitter.com/YAmericanMuslim/status/300753364168347648%5D

Belief on TV:

Photos of the Day:

Nepalese Hindu devotees prepare to fill water pots from the holy Bagmati River at the Pashupatinath Temple during the month-long Swasthani festival in Kathmandu on February 10, 2013. Scores of married and unmarried women in the Himalayan nation are marking the month-long fast in the hope of a prosperous life and conjugal happiness.

Believers pray above a cross shaped by candles placed on jars of honey in the Church of the Blessed Virgin on February 10, 2013, during a celebration in honour of St. Haralampi, protector of the beekeepers.

Indian artist Ghachki paints idols of the Hindu goddess Mata Saraswati on the outskirts of Amritsar on February 8, 2013. The idols are in heavy demand ahead of the forthcoming Hindu festival of Basant Panchami which falls this February 14.

Enlightening Reads:

The Guardian: Egypt court bans YouTube over Innocence of Muslims trailer
YouTube has been temporarily banned in Egypt for carrying an anti-Islamic documentary that triggered deadly riots across north Africa and the Middle East in September. In what human rights activists have called a backwards step for internet freedom, Judge Hassouna Tawfiq ordered the government to block access to the video-sharing website for 30 days after the trailer for Innocence of Muslims sparked outrage.

Reuters: Patriarch warns Syrians of reliving Lebanon's errors
The head of Lebanon's Maronite Church evoked his country's long civil war to condemn the futility of conflict, on the second day of a controversial visit to Syria's war-ravaged capital Damascus. At a Sunday mass broadcast live on Syrian state television, Patriarch Beshara al-Rai appeared to dismiss the revolt against President Bashar al-Assad's 13-year rule as not worth the bloodshed.

The Guardian: Vatican hopes secret files exonerate 'Hitler's pope'
Pius XII has long been vilified as "Hitler's pope", accused of failing publicly to condemn the genocide of Europe's Jews. Now a British author has unearthed extensive material that Vatican insiders believe will restore his reputation, revealing the part that he played in saving lives and opposing Nazism. Gordon Thomas, a Protestant, was given access to previously unpublished Vatican documents and tracked down victims, priests and others who had not told their stories before.

Reuters: Chinese give Year of the Snake a raucous, colorful welcome
Chinese welcomed the arrival of the Year of the Snake with raucous celebrations on Saturday, setting off a cacophony of firecrackers in the streets and sending fireworks blazing into the sky to bring good fortune. Celebrations carried on into the early hours of Sunday, officially the first day of the Lunar New Year.

Religion News Service: On Grammy weekend, Christian music bounces back
Many experts say thanks to artists like TobyMac and Lecrae, the contemporary Christian music industry is experiencing a revival, with strong sales, record-breaking tours, and new success in the mainstream charts.

Quote of the Day:

Music, and especially singing, is the closest to ibadat (worship) and meditation. This can also transport you into another world, meaning it can connect you to God, to Allah in a direct, beautiful, easier manner… this is what Sufism is all about.

- Vilayat Khan, one of India’s most popular Sufi singers

Opinion of the Day:

CNN: My take: A word to Christians – Be nice
John S. Dickerson is author of the book “The Great Evangelical Recession: 6 Factors that Will Crash the American Church ... and How to Prepare” and senior pastor of Cornerstone in Prescott, Arizona. Dickerson writes: “we Christians have to acknowledge another reason why we are perceived as hateful: because many of our number are.”

CNN: My take: What would Mohammed do about U.S. pastor in Iran?
Qasim Rashid, national spokesman for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA, discusses Saeed Abedini, the American Christian pastor tried for his religious beliefs and sentenced to eight years in prison in Iran. Rashid writes that: “If Iran’s purpose was to protect what it thinks is Islam, it has failed.”

Join the conversation…

People pray at the interfaith vigil in honor of the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.

CNN: Lutheran pastor apologizes for praying in Newtown vigil
A Lutheran pastor has apologized after being chastised by his denomination's leader for offering a prayer at an interfaith vigil for the victims of the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. Pastor Rob Morris, who leads the Christ the King Lutheran Church in Newtown, violated the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod's rule against taking part in joint worship services, said the synod's president, Pastor Matthew C. Harrison.

- A. Hawkins

Filed under: Uncategorized

soundoff (38 Responses)
  1. December

    I am going to have to give up my beverage of Dewars with 2 ice cubes for lent.

    February 11, 2013 at 1:35 pm |
  2. Archibald Smythe-Pennington, III

    Ugg! Where is the sunshine? From the 1982 album ...Famous Last Words, it's "It's Raining Again" from the British progressive pop-rock band Supertramp.
    Three years prior to Famous Last Words, Supertramp went big with the quadruple-platinum, two-Grammy winner Breakfast in America, which included "The Logical Song" and "Take the Long Way Home". Be sure to check out Supertramp's "Very Best of" album which includes the original version of "Give a Little Bit" (covered by the Goo Goo Dolls in 2005).

    February 11, 2013 at 12:32 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      Ah, Supertramp...when nothing but the finest tramp will do.

      February 11, 2013 at 12:43 pm |
    • meifumado

      could not get the video up? all i see is the link.

      February 11, 2013 at 2:56 pm |
    • Archibald Smythe-Pennington, III


      February 11, 2013 at 3:26 pm |
  3. Topher

    Good morning, everyone! What shall we talk about today?

    February 11, 2013 at 10:22 am |
    • December

      Anybody participating in Lent this year? The past 2 years I have given up soft drinks. I'm trying to think of something more challenging this year. What are others planning on giving up this year?

      February 11, 2013 at 10:47 am |
    • Topher

      You can always tell lent is coming up because all the fast-food restaurants bring out new fish choices.

      February 11, 2013 at 10:53 am |
    • LinCA


      You said, "Anybody participating in Lent this year?"
      One year, many years ago, I gave up religion for lent. I am such a good catholic, I've yet to go back to it.

      February 11, 2013 at 10:55 am |
    • ME II

      Only partially joking, why don't we ever hear of anyone giving up oxygen for lent?

      February 11, 2013 at 10:57 am |
    • midwest rail

      I'm giving up fish. 😉

      February 11, 2013 at 10:59 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      As a non-theist, can I bless others? There is this statement above: "Life is filled with opportunities to bless others. Take advantage of them."

      February 11, 2013 at 11:06 am |
    • Chuckles

      Lent makes me sad, I much prefer the Jewish Yom Kippur, just give up everything for a day and god forgives all your indiscretions. Much easier and I always got to skip school.

      February 11, 2013 at 11:07 am |
    • December

      > can I bless others?

      I think so.

      Especially with this definition: Something promoting or contributing to happiness, well-being, or prosperity; a boon.

      February 11, 2013 at 11:12 am |
    • Deist for Pres.

      I offered to forgive and bless tbt, if it would just stop posting, He/she declined, if that helps.

      February 11, 2013 at 11:12 am |
    • meifumado

      the only thing good about lent is that wendy's has the premium cod sandwich at this time.

      February 11, 2013 at 11:38 am |
    • HotAirAce

      If believers give up their childish delusional beliefs in some god and the jesus and other myths, I will give up showing them how stupid they are.

      February 11, 2013 at 12:38 pm |
    • Johnny Guitar

      I'll be practicing Mardi Gras debauchery all year long again.

      February 11, 2013 at 1:28 pm |
    • Rollo Tomasi

      I wonder why Topher wants to talk when he never listens and his mind is so tightly shut that no other viewpoint can get in?

      He must think he is converting people, but his answers are so bad and his beliefs are so weird that he can only be converting more people to atheism.

      February 11, 2013 at 1:47 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Topher, Chad, John, etc. would have to get their heads out of their azzes so that their eyes, ears and brain might work.

      February 11, 2013 at 4:54 pm |
  4. myweightinwords

    Busy Monday here on the Belief Blog, eh?

    I've been contemplating something over the weekend. The word "worship".

    It is a decidedly (in my experience) Abrahamic word. It has a connotation (again, in my experience) that doesn't really carry outside of the three Abrahamic faiths. Frequently, in conversing with Christians (and some Muslims, to be fair), I am told that people who are not of whichever faith they think is "correct" are worshiping themselves or worshiping idols or worshiping the devil.

    Personally, I left worship behind when I left Christianity.

    What then does the word "worship" mean to you?

    February 11, 2013 at 9:11 am |
    • Robert Brown


      Thanking and praising God.

      February 11, 2013 at 2:26 pm |
      • myweightinwords

        But explain to me why a god needs or desires praise?

        February 11, 2013 at 2:29 pm |
      • myweightinwords

        But explain to me why a god needs or desires praise?

        February 11, 2013 at 2:30 pm |
      • myweightinwords

        But explain to me why a god needs or desires praise?

        February 11, 2013 at 2:31 pm |
    • myweightinwords

      Sorry about that. It kept showing like it wasn't going through.

      February 11, 2013 at 2:31 pm |
    • Robert Brown


      I don’t think he needs or desires our praise. He loves us and desires that we love him back.

      February 11, 2013 at 2:37 pm |
      • myweightinwords

        So what good does "worship" do?

        February 11, 2013 at 2:37 pm |
    • Robert Brown


      I don’t know if it benefits God, but it sure does do the worshiper a lot of good.

      February 11, 2013 at 2:48 pm |
      • myweightinwords

        It never did me any good, other than a false high, and the come down was a harsh one.

        February 11, 2013 at 3:05 pm |
    • lunchbreaker

      Based on what I understand about the Christian God, He is a perfect unchanging being. It would seem He just is what He is. God apparently has no choice in what He does, as what He does is the only right choice, so He has to do the right thing. Does a being that does nothing more than his nature deserve praise?

      February 11, 2013 at 4:03 pm |
  5. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Pray without ceasing
    Prayer changes things

    February 11, 2013 at 7:28 am |
    • Mirosal

      Prayer is utterly useless, and your own doctrines confirm this. So get off your knees, unless that's your usual position, uncla'sp your hands, grab a hammer and saw, and build something that actually benefits mankind.

      February 11, 2013 at 7:53 am |
    • Jesus

      Prayer does 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!

      February 11, 2013 at 8:26 am |
  6. End Religion

    I heard he was dissatisfied with the amount of gold filigree sewn into all his garments and his personal communion chalice wasn't encrusted with quite enough jewels.

    February 11, 2013 at 6:40 am |
    • meifumado

      I heard he was picking up acting and will be the emperor in the next star wars movie.

      February 11, 2013 at 10:01 am |
  7. realbuckyball

    So did the cardinals tell the hypochondriac pope to quit, or is he just mad they wouldn't give him a new embroidered tablecloth, and crown for Easter ?

    February 11, 2013 at 6:35 am |
    • Mirosal

      He's probably retiring because Viagra isn't helping him with the altar boys anymore.

      February 11, 2013 at 6:40 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.