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January 5th, 2013
09:34 AM ET

Priests in same-sex relationships may become Anglican Bishops

By Ben Brumfield, CNN

(CNN) - Men in a civil union will now be allowed to become bishops in the Church of England, but they are not allowed to have sex.

Intercourse between two men - or two women - remains a sin.

"Homosexual genital acts fall short of the Christian ideal and are to be met with a call to repentance and the exercise of compassion," according to Anglican doctrine.

Men and women in same-sex unions were already allowed to serve as priests in the Church of England, but there was a moratorium on advancement to the episcopate - becoming a bishop - while the church considered the issue.

The church announced Friday that if men in celibate civil unions may be priests, then there is no reason for them not to be bishops, as long as they are "living in accordance with the teaching of the Church on human sexuality."

Read the full story

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Anglican • Christianity • Church and state • Homosexuality • United Kingdom

November 9th, 2012
08:41 AM ET

New archbishop of Canterbury is former oil exec who faces global challenges

By Laura Smith-Spark, CNN

London CNN) - It's not a career path followed by many. On Friday, the Right Reverend Justin Welby, a former oil executive, was confirmed as the next archbishop of Canterbury, and as such will become head of the 77 million-member worldwide Anglican Communion.

Although Welby has been a bishop for just less than a year, his experience beyond the pulpit may be what has given him the edge over his rivals for the top job.

He will take over from Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, who has headed the church for more than a decade, in March.

Welby faces the challenge of holding together an increasingly fractured Communion as it wrestles with the issues of homosexuality and women bishops, as well as tensions between the shrinking Western provinces of the Anglican Communion, including the United States and United Kingdom, and the exploding growth of the provinces in the Global South, many of them in Africa and Asia.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Anglican • Christianity • United Kingdom

Twitter blocks content of German neo-Nazi group
Twitter's local censorship falls short of a demand by German police to shut down a group's account.
October 18th, 2012
11:27 AM ET

Twitter blocks content of German neo-Nazi group

By Ben Brumfield and Laura Smith-Spark, CNN

(CNN) - Twitter will withhold content from a neo-Nazi account at the request of German authorities, the first time it has put into action a policy of local censorship it adopted in January and a step that will probably reignite debate over freedom of expression on the Internet.

Alex Macgillivray, Twitter's general counsel, tweeted the company's decision Thursday: "We announced the ability to withhold content back in Jan. We're using it now for the first time re: a group deemed illegal in Germany."

But although Twitter, hailed by many as a powerful enabler of free speech, is taking its first step toward limiting hate speech, some groups say it still has a long way to go.

The Anti-Defamation League has said it "lags far behind" other social media networks in setting clear standards over racism.

A barrage of anti-Semitic abuse prompted by a series of hashtags in France has highlighted the problem there in recent weeks, with the French Union of Jewish Students adding its voice to the concerns raised by the ADL.

FULL STORY
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Germany • Judaism

September 19th, 2012
05:50 AM ET

Free speech or incitement? French mag runs cartoons of Prophet Mohammed

By Jim Bittermann, Pierre Meilhan and Holly Yan, CNN

Paris (CNN) - After a week of deadly, international protests against an anti-Islam film, a French satirical magazine is fueling the debate between freedom of expression and offensive provocation.

The magazine Charlie Hebdo published cartoons featuring a figure resembling the Prophet Mohammed in an issue hitting newsstands Wednesday.

FULL STORY
- A. Hawkins

Filed under: France • Islam

September 4th, 2012
08:07 AM ET

Christians take discrimination cases to Europe's top court

By Richard Allen Greene, CNN

Four British Christians urged Europe's top court Tuesday to rule that they faced discrimination because of their religious beliefs.

Two women accuse their employers of refusing to let them wear crosses openly at work.

Alongside them, a woman who declined to register gay civil partnerships and a man who did not want to give sex therapy to same-sex couples say they were unfairly dismissed from their jobs.

Gary McFarlane, the relationship counselor, said he was pleased with the way Tuesday's hearing went.

"Today, for the first time, I heard somebody talking about my rights," he said. "Surely I have some rights. I am a member of society. I have some beliefs."

FULL POST

- Newsdesk editor, The CNN Wire

Filed under: Britain • Christianity • Church and state • Europe • Religious liberty

Mohammed retakes top spot in English baby names
August 14th, 2012
12:19 PM ET

Mohammed retakes top spot in English baby names

By Richard Allen Greene, CNN

Mohammed reclaimed its place as the most popular name for baby boys born in England and Wales in 2011 - convincingly ahead of Harry, in second place, according to data released by the government this week.

The government declared that Harry was the most popular boy's name, but if you add up the five most popular different spellings of Mohammed, that name comes top.

Mohammed is also the most popular boy's name of the past five years for England and Wales, ahead of Oliver and Jack. It came first or second every year since 2007, the only name to do so.

And it could become even more popular in 2012, given the adulation around long-distance runner Mo Farah, who won two gold medals for Britain at the Olympics.

FULL POST

- Newsdesk editor, The CNN Wire

Filed under: Islam • Muslim • United Kingdom

My Take: Jews and Muslims should unite against Germany circumcision ban
Arsalan Iftikhar says the debate on circumcision is really about religious freedom.
July 17th, 2012
07:41 AM ET

My Take: Jews and Muslims should unite against Germany circumcision ban

Editor's note: Arsalan Iftikhar is an international human rights lawyer, founder of TheMuslimGuy.com and author of the book "Islamic Pacifism: Global Muslims in the Post-Osama Era."

By Arsalan Iftikhar, Special to CNN

(CNN)–According to recent reports, a German court's ban on circumcising baby boys has provoked a rare show of unity between Jews, Muslims and Christians who see it as a threat to religious freedom, while doctors warn it could increase health risks by forcing the practice underground. This recent ruling has global media commentators on all sides of the political aisle debating whether this issue is an affront to religious freedom or a victory to protect the foreskins of young male babies around the world.

Several prominent writers, including Michael Gerson of the Washington Post, rightfully challenged this recent legal decision by a local German court in Cologne, which would effectively criminalize ritual circumcision for infant males as an exercise of religious freedom for minority religious communities in the country.

Gerson and others have been highlighting this most recent issue vis-à-vis Europe’s infamous history of anti-Semitism, which has long been a sociopolitical stain of xenophobia across European lands.

However, it is quite interesting to note that most of these same commentators are not even adequately addressing the fact that the German case in question actually involved a Muslim family, not a Jewish one.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Church and state • Germany • Islam • Judaism

June 30th, 2012
10:00 PM ET

Despite fights about its merits, idea of American exceptionalism a powerful force through history

This is the first in a series exploring the concept of American exceptionalism. On Monday, we examine areas in which other countries lead the way.

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

(CNN) – It’s safe to say the first European arrivals to New England wouldn’t recognize today’s debate over whether America is exceptional.

Though the United States wouldn’t be born for another century and a half, the Puritans arriving in the early 1600s on the shores of what would become Massachusetts firmly believed they were on a mission from God.

In other words, they had the exceptional part down pat.

Fleeing what they saw as the earthly and corrupt Church of England, the Puritans fancied themselves the world’s last, best hope for purifying Christianity - and for saving the world.

The Puritans never used the word “exceptionalism.” But they came to see Boston as the new Jerusalem, a divinely ordained “city upon a hill,” a phrase Massachusetts Bay Colony founder John Winthrop used in a sermon at sea en route from England in 1630.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: 2012 Election • Barack Obama • Catholic Church • Christianity • Europe • Mitt Romney • Politics • Protestant • Religious liberty • United Kingdom • United States

Portugal cancels holidays after Vatican talks
The Vatican signed off on Portugal's move to eliminate four holidays.
May 9th, 2012
10:18 AM ET

Portugal cancels holidays after Vatican talks

By Sofia Fernandes and Richard Allen Greene

(CNN) - Portugal is eliminating four holidays to try to boost its economy, the government announced - but only after getting the agreement of the Vatican.

The economically struggling European country will stop giving workers a day off for Corpus Christi and All Saints' Day, starting next year, the government said.

It will also eliminate two civil holidays to be fair, the statement said Tuesday.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Catholic Church • Portugal

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

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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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