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Bulgarian bones could be John the Baptist's as claimed, scientists say
A reliquary box thought to have been used to carry the bones of John the Baptist.
June 22nd, 2012
07:55 AM ET

Bulgarian bones could be John the Baptist's as claimed, scientists say

By Richard Allen Greene, CNN

(CNN)– When the tools of modern science are applied to religious relics, the results are almost always the same: Science says the relics aren't what their supporters claim.

The most famous of them all, the Turin Shroud, is widely regarded as a Middle Ages forgery, and even the Catholic Church does not insist the shroud was actually used to wrap the body of Jesus himself.

So when Bulgarian archeologists announced two years ago that they had found the bones of John the Baptist, Tom Higham was skeptical.

He got a surprise.

FULL POST

- Newsdesk editor, The CNN Wire

Filed under: Belief • Bible • Christianity

June 21st, 2012
09:40 AM ET

Harsh anti-gay preaching alarms gay rights supporters and Christian conservatives alike

By Richard Allen Greene, CNN

(CNN) - The little boy with a buzz cut shows no sign of nervousness as he sings in front of the church congregation.

Dressed in a pressed white shirt and blue sweater vest, he holds the microphone and sings that the Bible is right, then lets loose the line that brings whoops from the congregation: "Ain't no homo gonna make it to heaven."

Next to him, an adult beams as worshippers rise to their feet and cheer.

FULL POST

- Newsdesk editor, The CNN Wire

Filed under: Christianity • Homosexuality

May 31st, 2012
05:17 AM ET

Church videos with harsh words for gays go viral online

By Richard Allen Greene and Dan Gilgoff, CNN

First it was a Christian pastor in North Carolina who told his congregation on Mother's Day that the way "to get rid of all the lesbians and queers" was to put them behind an electric fence and wait for them to die out.

That video went viral, fetching more than a million views on YouTube.

On Sunday, Pastor Curtis Knapp of Kansas preached that the government should kill homosexuals, in another videotaped sermon that drew lots of online attention.

FULL POST

- Newsdesk editor, The CNN Wire

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Church • Homosexuality

Vatican shows rare public anger over leak
May 30th, 2012
11:42 AM ET

Vatican shows rare public anger over leak

By Richard Allen Greene, CNN

(CNN)–The Vatican expressed rare public anger Wednesday in blasting the leaking of private papers from the pope's apartment, a scandal that observers say lifts the lid on a secret power struggle going on behind the closed doors of the Catholic Church.

A top Roman Catholic Church official called the theft of the documents "an immoral act of unprecedented gravity" and "despicable abuse of the relationship of trust that exists between Benedict XVI and those who turn to him."

Archbishop Angelo Becciu made the remarks to the Vatican's official newspaper six days after the pope's butler was arrested for leaking the papers.

Paolo Gabriele, 46, was arrested Wednesday on accusations of illegal possession of confidential documents, the Vatican said in a statement issued three days after the arrest.

FULL STORY

- Newsdesk editor, The CNN Wire

Filed under: Catholic Church • Pope Benedict XVI • Pope John Paul II • Scandal • Vatican

Vatican scandals lift lid on secret power struggle
May 29th, 2012
01:51 PM ET

Vatican scandals lift lid on secret power struggle

By Richard Allen Greene, CNN

(CNN) - Bad luck comes in threes, even for the pope.

The past week has seen his butler arrested, accused of leaking secret papers from the papal apartment; the head of his bank sacked for incompetence; and a demonstration on his front doorstep by protesters demanding that he reveal what he knows about Italy's most famous missing-person case.

It's bad PR for the Vatican, but it may be more than that, experts say. It could affect who becomes the next pope.

FULL POST

- Newsdesk editor, The CNN Wire

Filed under: Catholic Church • Pope John Paul II • Scandal • Vatican

Dalai Lama silent on monk self-immolations
May 14th, 2012
05:55 AM ET

Dalai Lama silent on monk self-immolations

By Richard Allen Greene

LONDON (CNN) - The Dalai Lama refused to answer a question Monday about whether Tibetan monks should stop setting themselves on fire to protest China's occupation of Tibet.

"No answer," he said, saying it was a sensitive political question and that he had retired from politics.

He handed over political leadership of the Tibetan community to an elected prime minister last year.

Self-immolation is becoming an increasingly common form of protest for Tibetans who want genuine autonomy from China and accuse Beijing of repression.

More than 30 of them took place in the last year in China, Tibetan advocacy groups say.

The Dalai Lama was speaking in London, where he is accepting the Templeton Prize, an award worth £1.1 million ($1.74 million) which honors "outstanding individuals who have devoted their talents to expanding our vision of human purpose and ultimate reality."

The Dalai Lama will give $1.5 million to the aid organization Save the Children, he said.

He is giving another $200,000 of the prize money to the Mind & Life Institute, and $75,000 to his own monastic community.

FULL STORY
- Newsdesk editor, The CNN Wire

Filed under: Buddhism • China • Dalai Lama • Tibet

May 4th, 2012
02:56 PM ET

Ahead of elections, French Muslims feel like scapegoats for nation’s problems

By Richard Allen Greene, CNN

Clichy-sous-Bois, France (CNN) - There's no doubt in university student Ouissem Satouri's mind about who he is. He’s Muslim. And he’s French. And there’s no contradiction between the two.

“I’m sitting here with you in a French cafe, wearing French clothes and having a French book in my bag, and I'm never asking myself if I am French or not,” says Satouri, who’s studying politics in Paris. “I am speaking French, I am living in France, I am dreaming in French, I want to live in France. I am French. But I am Muslim also.”

“You don't have to ask yourself if you are Muslim or French,” he says. “You don't have to take a position.”

Though France is home to Western Europe’s largest Muslim population, the question of whether someone could be both has surfaced here recently, ahead of a cliffhanger presidential election on Sunday. Many French politicians refer to Muslims as “immigrants” even though many, like Satouri, are the French-born kids of immigrants.

FULL POST

- Newsdesk editor, The CNN Wire

Filed under: France • Islam • Politics

Jews reclaim Jesus as one of their own
Some Jewish leaders are encouraging Jews to see Jesus as one of their own.
April 5th, 2012
02:36 PM ET

Jews reclaim Jesus as one of their own

By Richard Allen Greene, CNN

(CNN) - The relationship between Jews and Jesus has traditionally been a complicated one, to say the least.

As his followers' message swept the ancient world, Jews who did not accept Jesus as the Messiah found themselves in the uncomfortable, and sometimes dangerous, position of being blamed for his death.

Mainstream Christian theology's position held that Judaism had been supplanted, the Jewish covenant with the divine no longer valid, because of the incarnation of God as Jesus and his sacrifice on the cross.

Jews, for their part, tended largely to ignore Jesus.

That's changing now.

FULL POST

- Newsdesk editor, The CNN Wire

Filed under: Jesus • Judaism

Muslim voters could swing election, report finds
Owla Awada manages a popular bakery in Dearborn, Michigan, a possible battleground state in November.
April 3rd, 2012
03:35 PM ET

Muslim voters could swing election, report finds

By Richard Allen Greene, CNN

(CNN) - The number of Muslims in the United States is tiny - less than one in 100 Americans - but their votes could sway the results of the presidential election in November, a new study says.

That's because they are concentrated in a number of key swing states, says Farid Senzai, the author of the report.

Take Florida, for example, the state that famously swung the 2000 presidential election for George W. Bush over Al Gore.

Bush won by 537 votes - while a get-out-the-vote phone bank contacted 23,000 Muslims in one day during elections in 2008 and 2010, the report says.

FULL POST

- Newsdesk editor, The CNN Wire

Filed under: 2012 Election • Islam • Politics

March 20th, 2012
10:17 AM ET

Vatican begs forgiveness of Ireland abuse victims

By Richard Allen Greene and Peter Taggart, CNN

(CNN) - The Vatican begged forgiveness from Irish victims of child sexual abuse by priests as it released a major report into the problem Tuesday, but victims responded with anger and disbelief at the report's finding that new safeguards are working.

"With a great sense of pain and shame, it must be acknowledged that within the Christian community, innocent young people were abused by clerics," a high-level Catholic Church committee found.

"Those who should have exercised vigilance often failed to do so effectively," the committee found.

FULL POST

- Newsdesk editor, The CNN Wire

Filed under: Catholic Church • Ireland

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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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