November 19th, 2011
10:31 PM ET
By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor
Editor’s note: This is part of an occasional series of stories looking at the faith of the leading 2012 presidential candidates, including Mitt Romney, Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich. We profiled the faith journey of Herman Cain before he suspended his campaign.
(CNN) – On a bright spring day in 2007, a black-robed Herman Cain officiated the wedding of a young couple at a mansion outside of Atlanta. The sun sparkled on the pair’s wedding rings as Cain, an associate minister at a nearby church, held them aloft.
All seemed perfect.
When it came time for the bride and groom to exchange vows, however, Cain was dissatisfied with the volume of the groom’s “I do.”
"Say it louder," Cain told Matt Carrothers.
“When he tells you to say, ‘I do,’” the groom recalled, “it almost sounds like the voice of God telling you that and you take it very seriously.”
In the race for the Republican presidential nomination, Herman Cain is not seen as a candidate who wears his faith on his sleeve. Mitt Romney’s Mormonism, Rick Santorum’s Catholicism and Michele Bachmann’s evangelical Christianity have all garnered much more attention than Cain’s Baptist-flavored beliefs.
On the campaign trail, Cain is more apt to talk about his business acumen and leadership skills than his faith. His unlikely rise as a straight-talking White House contender was pegged largely to the popularity among fiscal conservatives of his “9-9-9” tax plan.
But those who know Cain describe him as a devout Christian who leans on his faith in times of hardship. That would appear to include the present moment, when a flurry of sexual harassment allegations and a viral video of a Libya interview gaffe are renewing doubts about Cain’s legitimacy as a candidate.
November 12th, 2011
05:00 AM ET
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
In the never-ending debate over whether the United States is a Christian nation, recent events support the nay-sayers. I am referring to the troubles of Herman Cain and Joe Paterno.
How we respond to ethical conundrums often boils down to empathy. In the abortion debate, do you identify with the woman who wants an abortion or with the fetus? Concerning the federal deficit, do you identify with the wealthy person who might see his taxes rise or with the poor person who might see her unemployment benefits extended?
October 18th, 2011
10:29 AM ET
Editor's note: LZ Granderson, who writes a weekly column for CNN.com, was named Journalist of the Year by the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association and is a 2011 Online Journalism Award finalist for commentary.
By LZ Granderson, CNN Contributor
Grand Rapids, Michigan (CNN) - Vote for me or burn in hell.
I can't imagine someone running for office saying that.
And yet four candidates - Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Rick Perry and Rick Santorum - have said they had a sense that God was leading them to run. How far can we be from "vote for me or burn in hell" when it seems we're already comfortable with "vote for me, I've been called by God"?Read LZ Granderson's commentary
October 18th, 2011
08:54 AM ET
By Eric Marrapodi and John Blake, CNN
Editor’s note: CNN’s John Blake was formerly a member of Antioch Baptist Church North. He left 13 years ago.
Atlanta (CNN) - Herman Cain has vaulted to the top of the polls as a Republican presidential candidate, but there’s one audience that may prove tougher for him to win over: his hometown church.
Cain, a conservative who recently said African-Americans were “brainwashed” into voting Democratic, is an associate minister at an Atlanta megachurch that has been a stronghold of liberal activism and is led by a pastor who cites Malcolm X as one of his influences.
Cain is a longtime member of Antioch Baptist Church North, which sits near the former college and home of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
The church, founded by freed slaves 134 years ago, boasts 14,000 members and an operating budget of more than $5 million. For years Antioch has hosted a “who’s who” of civil rights activists as guest speakers, including Jesse Jackson and Andrew Young.
Antioch’s powerful senior pastor, the Rev. C.M. Alexander, doesn’t share Cain’s political philosophy, Atlanta clergy say. But Cain and Alexander are so close that Cain sang “The Impossible Dream” for the pastor’s 50th anniversary celebration. The Atlanta businessman-turned-presidential hopeful is well liked by many members of his church, though some disagree with his politics, Antioch pastors say.
Cain’s piety may be just as fascinating as his politics, interviews suggest.
October 12th, 2011
11:57 AM ET
By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor
(CNN) - A handful of Republican candidates took aim at Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 tax plan at Tuesday night’s presidential debate, but only one went so far as to imply it could be the devil's work.
“When you take the 9-9-9 plan and you turn it upside won, the devil is in the details," Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota said during the New Hampshire debate, alluding to the number 666, which is commonly connected to Satan.
The New Testament’s Book of Revelation identifies 666 with the mark of the beast, sometimes referred to as the antichrist or the devil.
June 13th, 2011
11:17 PM ET
By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor
(CNN) - There weren’t too many sharp differences among the Republican presidential candidates in Monday night’s New Hampshire debate, but a crack did emerge over how Islam and Muslims ought to be treated in the United States.
The CNN debate opened with discussions on economic issues, but later veered toward faith-based matters like the role of religion in candidates’ decision making, abortion, gay marriage – and how the United States ought to treat Muslims living within its borders.
The exchange on that issue opened with a question to former Godfather’s Pizza CEO Herman Cain, who had said previously that he wouldn’t feel comfortable appointing a Muslim to his presidential Cabinet.
“I would not be comfortable because you have peaceful Muslims and then you have militant Muslims – those that are trying to kill us,” Cain said at Monday night’s debate. “And so when I said I wouldn’t be comfortable, I was thinking about the ones who are trying to kill us.”
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