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Priest offers spiritual survival guide for recession
A priest and author says religious leaders aren't paying attention to older people hit by recession.
September 17th, 2011
10:00 PM ET

Priest offers spiritual survival guide for recession

By John Blake, CNN

(CNN) - Sooner or later, it happens to each of us, Richard Rohr says.

“There always will be at least one situation in our lives that we cannot fix, control, explain, change or even understand,” the Franciscan priest said.

Maybe you’ve been laid off from a job you held for years. Perhaps you’ve experienced a nasty divorce. Or maybe the crisis is more subtle: You suddenly realized that you’ll never have the life you dreamed of living.

Any life-changing moment can knock a person down. But it can also open doors if, as Rohr puts it, a person learns how to “fall upward.”

Rohr, a 68-year-old Roman Catholic author and internationally known speaker, says older Americans face a problem: Religious leaders aren’t paying much attention to them.

Much of contemporary religion is geared toward teaching people how to navigate the first half of their lives, when they’re building careers and families. Rohr calls it a “goal-oriented” spirituality.

Yet there’s less help for people dealing with the challenges of aging: the loss of health, the death of friends, and coming to terms with mistakes that cannot be undone, he says.

Rohr’s new book, “Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life,” is his attempt to fill that void. It also functions as a spiritual survival guide for hard times as millions of Americans young and old struggle to cope with “falling”: losing their homes, careers and status.

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- CNN Writer

Filed under: Belief • Books • Catholic Church • Christianity • Church • Economy

September 8th, 2011
12:17 PM ET

Church invites jobless to place resumes on altar

(CNN) - A Catholic church outside Buffalo, New York is taking prayers for the jobless to a new level, inviting unemployed parishioners to place their resumes on the alter

"It's tough times," said Father Bill Quinlivan, who came up with the idea to collect resumes and pray for them at a recent prayer service, told CNN Buffalo affiliate WGRZ. "So we go to God with that."

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- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Catholic Church • Economy • New York

My Take: Political pledges are unbiblical and unchristian
Grover Norquist, purveyor of a popular "no new taxes" pledge.
July 21st, 2011
12:19 PM ET

My Take: Political pledges are unbiblical and unchristian

Editor's Note: Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion scholar and author of "God is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions that Run the World," is a regular CNN Belief Blog contributor.

By Stephen Prothero, Special to CNN

Republicans like to present themselves as the party of God, Jesus and the Bible, but their recent orgy of oath taking is, in my view, both unchristian and unbiblical.

There are a holy host of practical and historical reasons for opposing the pledges being signed by many Republican presidential candidates: the anti-tax pledge promoted by Americans for Tax Reform and its founder, Grover Norquist; the “Marriage Vow” of the Family Leader organization opposing same-sex marriage and “Sharia Islam”; and the “Pro-Life Leadership Pledge” calling for pro-life appointees to government offices.

First, the practical reasons. Many of these oaths ask politicians to sign onto a lot of silliness that has nothing to do with the issue at hand. The original version of the "Marriage Vow" signed by Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum suggested that African-American families were better off under slavery than they are today. (That language has subsequently been excised.)

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- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: Church and state • Economy • Jon Huntsman • Michele Bachmann • Politics • United States

My Take: Rep. Ryan's political theology is wrong-headed but commendable
House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, a Catholic Republican from Wisconsin.
July 12th, 2011
01:09 PM ET

My Take: Rep. Ryan's political theology is wrong-headed but commendable

Editor's Note: Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion scholar and author of "God is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions that Run the World," is a regular CNN Belief Blog contributor.

By Stephen Prothero, Special to CNN

Over the last few weeks, liberal Catholics have lined up to challenge leading Republicans such as House Speaker John Boehner and House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (both Catholics) to choose between Jesus and the controversial libertarian philosopher Ayn Rand.

On the basis of Rand’s “Objectivism,” Republicans can justify cuts to programs for the poor even as they stand firm against raising taxes for millionaires. But can they do so on the basis of the New Testament Gospels and the social teachings of the Roman Catholic Church?

To his credit, Paul Ryan has stepped up to this challenge, first in an open exchange in April and May with Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York and, now, with a document called “Social teaching and the federal budget: a Catholic perspective,” published yesterday on his website.

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- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: Catholic Church • Church and state • Economy • Politics • United States

Jesus or Ayn Rand - can conservatives claim both?
Author Ayn Rand stands in New York City in this 1957 photo. Her criticism of religion outraged some, but her books remain popular.
June 29th, 2011
10:22 AM ET

Jesus or Ayn Rand - can conservatives claim both?

By John Blake, CNN

(CNN)– Can a person follow Ayn Rand and Jesus?

That’s the question posed by a provocative media campaign that claims that some prominent conservative leaders cannot serve two masters: Jesus and the controversial author of  "Atlas Shrugged," Ayn Rand.

The American Values Network, a group of political activists and pastors, sparked a debate when it recently released a video challenging some conservative and Republican leaders’ professed admiration for Rand,  an atheist who saw selfishness as a virtue and celebrated unfettered capitalism.

Eric Sapp,  AVN’s executive director, said the Republican Party cannot portray itself as a defender of Christian values and then defend the worldview of "the patron saint of selfishness" who scorned religion and compassion.

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- CNN Writer

Filed under: Belief • Books • Business • Christianity • Culture wars • Economy • Ethics • Politics

Protestant bishops call GOP budget 'morally indefensible'
House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan.
May 26th, 2011
12:14 PM ET

Protestant bishops call GOP budget 'morally indefensible'

Editor's Note: Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion scholar and author of "God is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions that Run the World," is a regular CNN Belief Blog contributor.

By Stephen Prothero, Special to CNN

What would Jesus think of the GOP budget now before the Senate? Not much, says a consortium of Protestant bishops.

In what is becoming something of a pig pile on the GOP from the Christian Left, more than two dozen bishops from mainline Protestant denominations sent a letter to Congress today denouncing proposed Republican budget cuts as "morally indefensible."

Following on missives from Catholics to House Speaker John Boehner, from Catholics and evangelicals to Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan and from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to Congress as a whole, Protestant leaders such as the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Katharine Jefferts Schori, are advancing the argument that the GOP budget is an immoral document.

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- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: Bible • Christianity • Economy • Ethics • Politics • Poverty • United States

My Take: Welcoming the GOP-Catholic exchange on the budget
New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan.
May 25th, 2011
10:05 AM ET

My Take: Welcoming the GOP-Catholic exchange on the budget

Editor's Note: Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion scholar and author of "God is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions that Run the World," is a regular CNN Belief Blog contributor.

By Stephen Prothero, Special to CNN

A couple weeks ago, some Catholic leaders called out House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan and House Speaker John Boehner for neglecting Catholic social teachings in their proposed 2012 budget.

Boehner avoided the issue in his recent commencement address at Catholic University, but Rep. Ryan tackled it head on in an April 29 letter to New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan, President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Dolan responded in a letter dated May 18, and Ryan responded in turn. All three letters are now available on the House Committee on the Budget website.

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- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: Bishops • Catholic Church • Christianity • Church and state • Economy • Poverty • United States

My Take: Culture war overtakes budget battle
An antiabortion ran in several publications on Thursday.
April 8th, 2011
09:15 AM ET

My Take: Culture war overtakes budget battle

Editor's Note: Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion scholar and author of "God is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions that Run the World," is a regular CNN Belief Blog contributor.

By Stephen Prothero, Special to CNN

Anyone who still believes that the Tea Party is about economics is not paying attention to what Tea Party partisans are drinking.

When it comes to money, the difference between the budgets that Democrats and Republicans want are miniscule - a few billion or so in a budget that will eventually come in at roughly $3.8 trillion. So why is this tiny difference worth shutting down the government? Because this game of chicken is not about money.

The old Religious Right put its cultural agenda front and center. It staked its identity on resisting the sexual libertinism of the 1960s. So it opposed abortion and homosexuality and stem-cell research.

Tea Party partisans have the same cultural agenda, but this incarnation of the Religious Right proceeds by stealth, in this case with riders to a budget bill - riders they know no Democratic president or Senate can ever accept.

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- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: Abortion • Culture wars • Economy • Opinion • Politics • Tea Party • United States

Spiritual lessons from financial crisis?
President Obama, flanked by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geitner and Elizabeth Warren, announcing her appointment in 2010.
February 8th, 2011
07:38 PM ET

Spiritual lessons from financial crisis?

By Becky Brittain, CNN White House Producer

Washington (CNN) – The Obama administration is turning to faith to figure out how to better protect consumers.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau hosted a roundtable on Tuesday with ministers, rabbis and other spiritual leaders to get their input on how the financial crisis has affected their congregations.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Business • Economy • Interfaith issues

Cuba's evangelical churches
February 6th, 2011
06:00 AM ET

As Cuban economy sputters, evangelicals rise

By Shasta Darlington, CNN

Havana (CNN) – For decades, Cuba’s evangelicals met behind closed doors, holding services in living rooms and converted garages.

But as the country confronts hard times, followers have come out of the shadows, turning to religion to meet both economic and spiritual needs.

On a recent Sunday morning, worshipers packed a Pentecostal church set up on the second floor of an apartment building in a working class suburb of Havana.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Americas • Cuba • Economy • Pentecostal

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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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