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Vatican calls for new global financial authority amid economic crisis
The new Vatican document cites Pope Benedict XVI's calls for putting ethical concerns over economic ones.
October 24th, 2011
01:35 PM ET

Vatican calls for new global financial authority amid economic crisis

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

(CNN) - Against the backdrop of the European debt crisis and the birth of the Occupy Wall Street movement, the Vatican on Monday called for a new “global public authority” to help reform the world’s finance and economic systems.

New ideologies are “reducing the common good to economic, financial and technical questions, (placing) the future of democratic institutions themselves at risk," said Roman Catholic Bishop Mario Toso at a Monday press conference.

The document, called "Towards reforming the international financial and monetary systems in the context of a global public authority" quotes former Pope John Paul II in bemoaning the “idolatry of the market.”

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Belief • Catholic Church • Money & Faith • Pope Benedict XVI

September 25th, 2011
08:11 PM ET

N.J. church reverses money flow, collection plate holds cash for congregants

From Rachel Garrett, CNN

(CNN) - A New Jersey church - already a bit different in that its three congregations gather weekly at two hotels and a middle school - put a new spin on the collection plate Sunday by having congregants take cash-filled envelopes from the plate in hopes that the money will be put to charitable use.

"People are cynical about religion and expect to come to church and be shaken down, but really, it's all God's money," Liquid Church pastor Tim Lucas said prior to Sunday services. "Every bill in the U.S. economy says 'In God we trust,' and we're going to put that to the test."

The Morristown, New Jersey-based nondenominational Christian church claims to collect $30,000 in weekly offerings from its three congregations, which gather at hotel facilities in Morristown and New Brunswick, and at a middle school in Nutley. The 10-year-old church, which says in its materials that more than 2,000 people attend its weekend services, planned to disperse that same amount - $30,000 - on Sunday, with congregants getting envelopes containing $10, $20 and $50 bills.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Church • Money & Faith

July 5th, 2011
03:13 PM ET

Hoard of treasure uncovered in Indian temple

By Harmeet Shah Singh, CNN

New Delhi (CNN) - Jet-setting spiritual gurus. Gilded temples. Sprawling ashrams. Tons of offerings.

India's religious wealth belies the nation's dire poverty.

An inventory under way of a hoard of jewels, gold, diamonds, gems, antique idols stashed for hundreds of years in a centuries-old Hindu shrine in southern India is generating comparisons with the economic costs of the country's mega programs and foreign investment plans running into billions of dollars.

Under orders of India's Supreme Court, officials since last week have been auditing precious royal offerings kept in underground vaults of the famed Sree Padmnabha Swamy temple in the coastal state of Kerala.

Read the full story about the new focus on India's religious wealth
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Asia • Hinduism • India • Money & Faith

Texas governor's modest Christian giving raises eyebrows
June 13th, 2011
02:14 PM ET

Texas governor's modest Christian giving raises eyebrows

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

(CNN) - Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who recently attracted national attention for publicly mixing Christianity and politics, is putting some of his money where his mouth is - but not, critics say, very much.

According to an analysis of his tax returns by the San Antonio Express-News, the Republican Perry has given half a percent of the $2.68 million he earned as governor to churches and religious organizations.

Here's the Express-News:

By comparison, Americans averaged gifts of nearly 1.2 percent of their income to churches and religious groups from 2004 to 2008, according to Empty Tomb Inc., an Illinois-based research firm specializing in U.S. church-giving trends.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Christianity • Money & Faith • Politics • Texas

I lost my inheritance to the doomsday prophet!
Eileen Heuwetter was shocked to find out that her deceased aunt left nearly her entire estate to Family Radio, the group behind predictions that the world would end May on 21.
June 1st, 2011
10:52 AM ET

I lost my inheritance to the doomsday prophet!

By Blake Ellis, CNN Money

New York (CNNMoney) - When the world didn't end on May 21, many people who had given up their earthly possessions were left with nothing.

But one believer never lived to see the day. She left nearly her entire estate - around $300,000 - to the group behind the failed prediction, leaving some family members out in the cold.

Eileen Heuwetter was shocked to find out that her aunt left the majority of her estate to Family Radio, the group responsible for the doomsday warnings that the world would end on May 21. She and her sister were each left $25,000 from their aunt's estate. The rest is going to Family Radio.

The network of Christian radio stations based in Oakland, Ca., is almost entirely funded by donations. According to IRS filings, the group brought in $18 million in contributions in 2009 alone.

Heuwetter, the executor of the will, knew how much her aunt loved the radio station and admired its leader, Harold Camping, who is viewed as a prophet by many of his followers.

Read the full story here from CNNMoney.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Church • Money & Faith • United States

May 20th, 2011
10:39 AM ET

Doomsday church: Still open for business

By Annalyn Censky, CNNMoney

New York (CNNMoney) - By now, you've probably heard of the religious group that's predicting the end of the world starts this weekend.

Harold Camping and his devoted followers claim a massive earthquake will mark the second coming of Jesus, or so-called Judgment Day on Saturday, May 21, ushering in a five month period of catastrophes before the world comes to a complete end in October.

At the center of it all, Camping's organization, Family Radio, is perfectly happy to take your money - and in fact, received $80 million in contributions between 2005 and 2009. Camping founded Family Radio, a nonprofit Christian radio network based in Oakland, Calif. with about 65 stations across the country, in 1958.

Read CNNMoney's story about Family Radio's financials, and why some employees are planning to come to work Monday

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: End times • Money & Faith

April 11th, 2011
11:40 PM ET

Should Christians tithe?

A survey released last week from the National Association of Evangelicals found most of their  leaders don't believe tithing is a biblical requirement for Christians. 

Tithing refers to the tradition of giving ten percent of one's earnings to a church.  CNN's T.J. Holmes talked with NAE President Leith Anderson and Pastor Brian Kluth about the practice and the new survey.

Read more about the survey results.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Church • Money & Faith • Uncategorized

Survey: Minority of evangelical leaders say Bible requires tithing
April 7th, 2011
12:48 PM ET

Survey: Minority of evangelical leaders say Bible requires tithing

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

Thou shalt not be required to financially support your church - but you should anyway.

That’s the upshot of a new informal survey of evangelical leaders finding that less than half believe that the Bible requires church members to tithe, the practice of giving at least 10 percent of one’s income to the church.

The survey, conducted by the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) among its 100-member board of directors, found that 42% of evangelical leaders believe the Bible requires tithing, while 58% do not.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Christianity • Church • Money & Faith

Survey: Recession's effects fading for some churches
March 30th, 2011
12:22 PM ET

Survey: Recession's effects fading for some churches

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

(CNN) - The worst of the recession may be over for some of America’s churches, a survey released Wednesday on religions donations indicated.

According to the survey, called State of the Plate, 43% of churches saw a rise in contributions in 2010, compared to 36% that saw an increase the year before.

Meanwhile, 39% of churches saw their giving dip last year, down from 47% that reported declines in 2009.

The survey, which is not scientific, garnered responses in February and March from 1,507 churches, most of them U.S.-based. The survey included responses from 86 churches from other countries, primarily Canada.

“Giving increases have begun to provide a glimmer of hope for many churches,” the survey reported.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Christianity • Church • Money & Faith

March 18th, 2011
11:39 AM ET

Woman who says she was forced to wear Santa hat gets $55,000

From CNN Raleigh, North Carolina affiliate WRAL:

Belk Inc. has agreed to settle a federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission lawsuit that alleged the chain's Crabtree Valley Mall department store fired a woman because of her religious beliefs.

The lawsuit alleges that Myra Jones-Abid was working as a gift wrapper at Belk's in November 2008 when store managers ordered her to wear a Santa hat and Christmas-themed apron during the holiday season.

Jones-Abid is a Jehovah's Witness, and her religious practices prohibit her from celebrating holidays like Christmas, according to the lawsuit.

Read the full story about the lawsuit at WRAL.com

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Money & Faith • North Carolina • United States

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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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