Prosecutor: Parents' belief in faith healing led to infant's death
May 24th, 2013
05:22 PM ET

Prosecutor: Parents' belief in faith healing led to infant's death

By Sarah Hoye, CNN
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Philadelphia (CNN)–When Brandon Schaible got a rash, his parents prayed.

When the 7-month-old became irritable with diarrhea and lost his appetite, his parents, Catherine and Herbert Schaible, prayed again.

When Brandon had trouble breathing and gasped for air, his parents called a pastor - this, in spite of the fact that a judge had ordered them to call a doctor.

Brandon Schaible died on April 18 from bacterial pneumonia, dehydration and strep, according to the district attorney’s office – all treatable with antibiotics.

On Wednesday his parents were charged with third-degree murder.

The Schaibles are lifelong members of the First Century Gospel Church in Philadelphia, one of several religious groups in the U.S. that relies on faith, and eschews most medical care.


- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Christian Science • Christianity • Crime • Culture & Science • Faith & Health

My Faith: Praying away the cookies
Indulging in cookies can be tempting during the holidays. The author suggests prayer can give you strength to stop overeating.
December 23rd, 2011
11:30 AM ET

My Faith: Praying away the cookies

Editor's note: Keith Wommack is a Christian Science practitioner and teacher. He also is a media and legislative liaison for Christian Science in Texas. He has been described as a spiritual spur (since every horse needs a little nudge now and then).

By Keith Wommack, Special to CNN

(CNN) - With Christmas cookies, fruitcake and eggnog tempting us at every corner, it is hard not to gain weight during the holiday season. Yet it is not just holiday foods that are enticing.

Oversized and disproportionate - that about sums it up when the average American is 20 pounds overweight. The director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently said, "Obesity, and with it diabetes, are the only major health problems that are getting worse in this country, and they are getting worse rapidly."


- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Christian Science • Christmas

March 22nd, 2011
12:53 PM ET

Pole dancing for Jesus in Texas?

From CNN Houston affiliate KTRK

In the quaint turn-of-the-century community called Old Town Spring, Texas, where Victorian style shops line the streets, one business stands out - pole fitness for Jesus. There's no preaching, just teaching.

Set to Christian music, church-going women spin and slither around poles. But the instructor and the students say it's not about sex.

"This is my second class," student Tiffany Booth said.

For them, this is about getting closer to God.

"God gives us these bodies and they are suppose to be our temples and we are suppose to take care of them and that's what we are doing," instructor Crystal Dean said

Booth was raised in church. Now, the pole is her temple.

Read the full story about the Christian pole dancing class at KTRK.com
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christian Science • Culture wars • Texas

March 18th, 2011
12:56 PM ET

Franklin Graham sending 90 tons of aid to Japan

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

The Rev. Franklin Graham on Friday was readying what he described as an airlift of more than 90 tons of emergency supplies from North Carolina to earthquake- and tsunami-ravaged Japan.

“I want the people of Japan to know that God hasn’t forgotten them, that God does care for them and that he loves them,” said Graham, who is organizing the effort through his group Samaritan’s Purse.


- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Asia • Christian Science • Japan • Leaders

January 9th, 2011
09:39 AM ET

Wounded Arizona congresswoman had strengthened Jewish identity

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

One detail popping up in many of the profiles of Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords to appear since she was shot on Saturday is that the congresswoman has increasingly come to define herself as a Jew.

Elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2006, Giffords was the first Jewish woman from Arizona to serve in Congress. The JTA reports that Giffords made her Jewish background part of her House campaign, which saw her win in a traditionally Republican district:

“If you want something done, your best bet is to ask a Jewish woman to do it,” said Giffords, a former state senator, said at the time. “Jewish women - by our tradition and by the way we were raised - have an ability to cut through all the reasons why something should, shouldn’t or can’t be done and pull people together to be successful.”

Giffords had not always identified strongly as a Jew.


- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Christian Science • Judaism • Politics • Violence

On trial: Faith, delusion or excuse for crime?
November 15th, 2010
02:32 PM ET

On trial: Faith, delusion or excuse for crime?

By Jessica Ravitz, CNN

He's a self-proclaimed prophet who called his bed an altar.

He wore robes, grew his beard long and penned a rambling manifesto.

He said he received revelations and was destined to take 49 wives.

And he is on federal trial for kidnapping Elizabeth Smart, now 23, and moving her across state lines for sex.

Smart testified that Mitchell handed out a pamphlet stating the "Declaration of Our Faith" while preaching on the streets.

The lawyers for Brian David Mitchell do not dispute that he abducted Smart, then 14, and held her captive for nine months. But they say his religious beliefs were delusions, that their client was insane and therefore cannot be held responsible for his actions.

Smart, in her courtroom testimony last week in Utah, countered that he "used religion…to justify everything." And that is the prosecution's case: that Mitchell's religious "revelations" were all self-serving.

Jurors will have to decide: To find Mitchell insane, they must believe that he suffered from mental illness or defect at the time he kidnapped and held Smart captive, and that it kept him from knowing that what he was doing was wrong. Or they may find him guilty; that he used his purported beliefs to justify his crimes.

It is a long-awaited and complicated trial, one likely to focus more on the letter of the law than the veracity of faith. But this is certain: When it comes to determining competency vs. criminality, religious beliefs are sometimes central to the debate.


Donald Miller’s 'Blue Like Jazz' set to film
October 18th, 2010
12:09 PM ET

Donald Miller’s 'Blue Like Jazz' set to film

Donald Miller’s Christian memoir "Blue like Jazz" is finally poised to become a film.

A month ago, Miller announced that plans for the film version of the book had been scrapped because filmmakers couldn’t get enough funding.

The film has been anticipated for years. Miller is a popular author who is in demand among multiple audiences: evangelicals, progressives and “emergent” church folks who don’t easily fit into any category.


- CNN Writer

Filed under: Books • Christian Science • Christianity • Culture & Science • Movies

August 8th, 2010
03:22 PM ET

Opinion: Same-sex marriage will hurt families, society

Editor's note: Bishop Harry R. Jackson Jr. is senior pastor of Hope Christian Church in Beltsville, Maryland, and founder and Chairman of the High Impact Leadership Coalition (HILC). He shares his thoughts on traditional marriage in "The Black Pulpit," a weekly series of opinion pieces that explores faith in the black community. CNN's "Black in America: Churched" premieres October 14.

By Bishop Harry R. Jackson Jr., Special to CNN

The institution of marriage is unique. It is the one institution that binds women and men together to form a family, and this serves broad societal purposes.

In California, a U.S. District Court Judge last week overturned Proposition 8, the California Marriage Protection Act. It was passed in November 2008 by California voters to recognize "only marriage between a man and a woman."

The majority of Californians, including two-thirds of the state's black voters, have just had their core civil right - the right to vote - stripped from them by an openly gay federal judge who has misread history and the Constitution to impose his views on the state's people.

Read the full story

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christian Science • Culture wars • Gay marriage • Gay rights • Opinion • Politics

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.