Obama proclaims National Days of Prayer and Remembrance
President Obama proclaimed the weekend as National Days of Prayer and Remembrance.
September 10th, 2011
01:56 PM ET

Obama proclaims National Days of Prayer and Remembrance

By Ashley Killough, CNN

Washington (CNN) – Commemorating the 10th anniversary of 9/11, President Barack Obama proclaimed this weekend, Friday though Sunday, as National Days of Prayer and Remembrance.

“Today, our nation still faces great challenges, but this last decade has proven once more that, as a people, we emerge from our trials stronger than before,” Obama said in a statement Friday.

The president called on Americans to honor the victims of the terrorist attacks through activities such as prayer, memorial services, the ringing of bells, and evening candlelight remembrance vigils.

Obama also urged citizens to remember those among “the 9/11 generation” of service members who have “come of age bearing the burden of war,” with some paying the ultimate sacrifice.

Read the full story here from CNN's Political Ticker
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: 9/11 • Barack Obama • Belief • Church and state • Politics • Prayer

August 6th, 2011
05:58 PM ET

Praying away the bad economy

Texas Governor Rick Perry tries to pray away the malaise of the economy during a religious gathering in Houston. Read the full report on CNN's Political Ticker.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Church and state • Politics • Prayer • Rick Perry

Perry prayer event hopes to pray away the malaise
August 5th, 2011
09:35 PM ET

Perry prayer event hopes to pray away the malaise

By Jim Acosta and Erika Dimmler, CNN

Houston, Texas (CNN) – Rick Perry seems to believe in the power of mixing prayer and politics.

The Texas governor has called on both Christians and politicians to attend his religious gathering, dubbed "The Response," in Houston this weekend.

In a video posted on "The Response" web site, Perry said he hopes worshipers at the event will help kick-start the nation's sluggish economy. In other words: pray away the malaise.

Read the full story at CNN's Political Ticker
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Politics • Prayer • Rick Perry • Texas

July 27th, 2011
12:40 PM ET

Reaction to pastor giving thanks for 'smokin' hot wife'

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

A Baptist preacher giving thanks to God for a "smokin' hot wife" in a prayer that opened a NASCAR race last weekend has generated reams of online commentary, with one religion blogger summing up some Christian reaction: "Shocking, I tell you, that a pastor might have a little fun."

The prayer came from Tennessee Pastor Joe Nelms, who told CNN he was taking a line from the Will Ferrell movie "Talladega Nights." In addition to the way it gave thanks for his spouse, Nelms' prayer was noteworthy for invoking NASCAR sponsors:

Thank you for the Dodges and the Toyotas. Thank you for the Fords. Thank you for Sunoco racing fuels and Goodyear tires.


- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Christianity • Prayer • Sports

The surprising history of prayer in space
Astronaut Buzz Aldrin on the moon in 1969, just after receiving communion aboard Apollo 11.
July 7th, 2011
09:22 AM ET

The surprising history of prayer in space

By Thom Patterson, CNN

It may be the first prayer ever uttered by a space traveler: "Dear Lord, please don't let me f- up."

Dubbed "Shepard's Prayer," this brief, irreverent plea is often attributed to the first American in space - the late Alan Shepard - although he reportedly said he was misquoted.

My Take: Space travel is a spiritual experience

As Friday's historic final shuttle launch approaches, Shepard's Prayer speaks volumes about the wide spectrum of religious beliefs among the relatively few men and women who've risked their lives by traveling into space.


- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Culture & Science • Prayer • Technology

June 17th, 2011
10:16 AM ET

Prayer and politics: How Friday became the Middle East's day of protest

By Mairi Mackay, CNN

(CNN) - Ever since he was a boy, Friday has been a day of prayer and rest for Murad Alazzany.

Following a rhythm as old as Islam itself, Fridays meant lunchtime prayers at the mosque and relaxing with friends and family for the rest of the day.

But that was before protests and revolutions across the Middle East smashed decades-old regimes and caused unprecedented civil unrest.

Yemen's uprising started in January this year, spurred on by the Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions, and since then, Fridays have had a very different flavor for Alazzany and tens of thousands of Yemenis like him.

Alazzany, who is an assistant professor at Sanaa University, still goes to Friday prayers, known as Jumu'ah, but not in a mosque. Instead, he prays in the street alongside fellow activists and anti-government demonstrators.

Read the full story on how Friday prayers are feeding the Middle East protests
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Middle East • Prayer • Syria

My Faith: How saying a blessing changed my secular family's meals
June 12th, 2011
01:00 AM ET

My Faith: How saying a blessing changed my secular family's meals

Editor's Note: Katia Hetter is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly.

By Katia Hetter, Special to CNN

"Hey, we didn't sing the blessing!"

After all these months, my 3-year-old daughter's words still startle me.

Since my family's move from New York to Atlanta, Georgia, last year, almost everything in our lives has changed. That includes the instruction of a blessing before eating. We do it to take a pause from the business of our schedules and to remember all that is good in our lives.

I like our new tradition, but it still surprises me. I rarely heard a blessing spoken before a meal during my childhood.


- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Food • Opinion • Prayer

Judge blocks Veteran Affairs from barring 'Jesus Christ' prayer
More than 6,000 people are expected to attend a Memorial Day ceremony at Houston National Cemetery.
May 27th, 2011
01:47 PM ET

Judge blocks Veteran Affairs from barring 'Jesus Christ' prayer

A federal judge in Texas has told the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs that it cannot censor a pastor's invocation at a Memorial Day ceremony.

The VA had ordered the Rev. Scott Rainey to remove a phrase using Jesus Christ from the prayer, arguing the line excluded other beliefs held by veterans, KHOU-TV in Houston reported.

On Thursday, U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes disagreed, writing the government cannot "gag citizens when it says it is in the interest of national security, and it cannot do it in some bureaucrat's notion of cultural homogeneity," according to a report in the Houston Chronicle.

Read the full story about the judge's prayer ruling on CNN's This Just In blog.
- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Christianity • Church and state • Prayer • Texas

May 27th, 2011
10:12 AM ET

Imam fights street crime with mosque fight club

Editor's Note: This piece comes from a new CNN special “Stories: Reporter.” Tune in Saturday at 7:30PM EDT to see the full story.

By Eric Marrapodi, Dan Lothian, Chris Turner & Tom Foreman, CNN

Philadelphia (CNN) - Listen to the FBI and you will know that violent crime dropped over almost the whole country last year; murder, aggravated assault, forcible rape. Listen to people in some parts of Philadelphia and you will know that the Northeast is not part of that trend. Here the numbers keep climbing.

Violence comes to their streets as surely as sunset. Abandoned houses share corners with makeshift memorials to victims; often young men who get caught up in events they don't anticipate and can't escape.

"Around here it's not every safe to walk up the streets," one kid said. "Someone could come up to you and start shooting at you for no reason; just 'cause you're from that 'hood."

That is why Imam Suetwidien Muhammad chose this place to start hitting back.


- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Belief • Islam • Leaders • Muslim • Pennsylvania • Prayer • United States

May 8th, 2011
12:01 AM ET

In the heart of tornado-ravaged Bama Nation, a new battle cry: ‘Let go! Let God!’

By Wayne Drash, CNN

Tuscaloosa, Alabama (CNN) – The Rev. Kelvin Croom walks down the hall toward the sanctuary his father built 30 years ago with the help of legendary Alabama football coach Paul “Bear” Bryant.

“Just glad to be alive,” a deacon says.

“I know what you mean,” Croom responds.

With its painted cement block walls and low ceilings, the hall has the feel of a locker room corridor. In rooms off the hall, church members rummage through debris, trying to salvage anything they can. Windows shattered when the tornado hit. The roof of the fellowship hall upstairs blew off and crashed into nearby homes.


- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Alabama • Baptist • Belief • Church • God • Houses of worship • Pastors • Prayer

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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.