September 22nd, 2010
09:37 AM ET

Accused pastor crusaded against homosexuals

Editor's note: CNN's John Blake first covered Bishop Eddie Long as a religion reporter for the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

As Bishop Eddie Long poked through a salad in his church office one summer day in 1999, he shot a weary look at a person ticking off his ministry's successes.

His Atlanta megachurch had already reached 25,000 members. He had been invited to the White House, built a global television ministry and drove around town in a $350,000 Bentley.

But Long told the visitor who had come to write about him that the pressures of being a high-profile pastor could be brutal.

"You don't want any of this," he said in a raspy baritone as he shook his head. "You don't want any of this ..."

Long didn't get more specific about those pressures.

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- CNN Writer

Filed under: Church • Georgia • Homosexuality • Leaders • Pastors • Scandal • United States

September 22nd, 2010
09:25 AM ET

Exclusive: Bishop Long's rep: Abuse claims 'without merit'

Two men have filed suit claiming that prominent Atlanta pastor Eddie Long used his position as a spiritual authority and bishop to coerce young males at his New Birth Missionary Baptist Church into sex. The church is denying the allegations.

Art Franklin, the spokesperson for Bishop Long, talked to American Morning's Kiran Chetry and John Roberts exclusively about the allegations.

Art Franklin: Good morning, Kiran and John. How are you guys?

Kiran Chetry: Great, thank you. Disturbing allegations for sure from two men who tell our Ed Lavandera they have texts and e-mail that is will corroborate their story. What is Bishop Long's side?

Franklin: I want to be clear from our perspective. There's been a lot of chatter since yesterday. But these complaints that have been filed against Bishop Long are definitely without merit and as we swiftly stated yesterday upon learning of the accusations, and as you said, Bishop Long categorically and adamantly denies the allegations and there's really unfortunate that the men gone down the road, taken this course of action against someone who helped them like numerous individuals and families in tough situations.

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- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Georgia • Pastors • Scandal • Sex abuse • United States

September 21st, 2010
08:29 PM ET

CNN Exclusive: Men allege sexual coercion by prominent Atlanta pastor

See PDFs of lawsuits filed by Maurice Robinson and Anthony Flagg.

Two Georgia men have filed a lawsuit claiming that prominent Atlanta, Georgia, pastor Eddie Long coerced them into sex.

The suits, filed Tuesday in DeKalb County, Georgia, allege that Long used his position as a spiritual authority and bishop to coerce young male members and employees of his New Birth Missionary Baptist Church into sex.

"Defendant Long has a pattern and practice of singling out a select group of young male church members and using his authority as Bishop over them to ultimately bring them to a point of engaging in a sexual relationship," the suits allege.

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- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Church • Georgia • Leaders • Pastors • Scandal

September 15th, 2010
06:37 PM ET

UK bans pregnant nun ice cream ad

London, England (CNN) - Britain's advertising watchdog has censured an Italian ice cream manufacturer over an advertisement depicting a heavily pregnant nun that appeared ahead of a papal visit to the UK.

The ad featuring the strapline "immaculately conceived" over an image of the expectant sister spooning from a tub of Antonio Federici ice cream was "likely to cause widespread offense," the Advertising Standards Authority ruled.

The ASA said the publishers of Lady magazine, which carried the ad, had received several complaints from readers.

The watchdog rejected the manufacturer's claims that it was "using gentle humor" to convey the message that "ice cream is our religion."

"We considered the use of a nun pregnant through immaculate conception was likely to be seen as a distortion and mockery of the beliefs of Roman Catholics," the ASA ruling said.

Read the full story here.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Catholic Church • Culture wars • Europe • Food • Scandal • TV • United Kingdom

September 6th, 2010
10:35 AM ET

Shakedown by Jamaica's radical sheik

Editor's note: Drew Griffin and Todd Schwarzschild, of CNN's Special Investigations Unit bring us this report on a radical Jamaican sheik.

He has influenced convicted terrorists such as Richard Reid, the so-called shoe-bomber. His sermons were found in the apartment of suicide bombers who struck London, England, in 2005. Even one of the 9/11 plotters is said to have been a follower of Sheik Abdullah El-Faisal.

Now in Jamaica, El-Faisal is less than a two-hour flight from the United States. No airline will allow him on board; he is widely thought to be on U.S. and UK no-fly lists. But history suggests El-Faisal might not need to travel to be influential among jihadists bent on violence against the U.S. and other Western nations.

The authorities on the Caribbean island keep tabs on him. Jamaica's Muslim leadership has banned him from preaching in established mosques, just in case his radical rhetoric stirs a Jamaican jihad. That's why we came here, at El-Faisal's invitation, to find out his plans.

Little did we know his plans included raising money from a most unusual source - CNN.

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- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Islam • Muslim • Scandal • TV

September 1st, 2010
04:04 PM ET

Irish cardinal: I will not resign after scandals

Editor's note: Watch CNN's interview with Cardinal Brady in a special report by Nic Robertson on "Connect the World" on CNN International at 9 p.m. London time/4 p.m. ET.

Months after the revelation that he helped cover up for one of Ireland's most notoriously abusive priests, the country's top Catholic churchman, Cardinal Sean Brady, says he has "moved on" and will not resign.

"I've moved on there, I think, and I got a lot of support in my decision," he told CNN in a rare interview.

Read the full story

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Bishops • Catholic Church • Europe • Ireland • Scandal

July 25th, 2010
05:51 PM ET

Status report: Ted Haggard's new church

[cnn-video url= http://www.cnn.com/video/?/video/living/2010/07/19/co.haggard.new.church.kusa%5D

Fallen evangelical leader Ted Haggard says the church he founded last month is quickly gaining new worshippers. KUSA reports.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Leaders • Scandal

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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.