August 31st, 2011
01:33 PM ET
By Rosalina Nieves, CNN
Los Angeles, California (CNN) - At first glance, the blown-up plastic bags affixed to a jungle gym-like frame residing in a University of Southern California courtyard looks like a piece of public art, pure and simple.
But the structure's creator says it’s something more: a sacred place for people of all faiths. He calls it an inflatable chapel.
“I wanted to create a spiritual structure, so I combined every symbolic piece of religion and geometrically combined them to represent them in this chapel,” says Gail Peter Borden, an architect and assistant professor at the USC School of Architecture who designed the structure.
July 8th, 2011
02:00 PM ET
By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor
(CNN) - Could Southern California’s Crystal Cathedral, which helped start the evangelical megachurch trend after it opened in 1970, become a real cathedral, as in the Roman Catholic kind?
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange, California, announced this week that it is exploring the possibility of buying the controversy-vexed church, which declared bankruptcy last fall.
Diocese Bishop Tod D. Brown has “followed the news of the ongoing Crystal Cathedral Ministries (CCM) bankruptcy proceedings and is concerned for the future of the landmark church remaining a functional part of the liturgical landscape for the region,” the diocese said in a Wednesday statement.
July 4th, 2011
06:23 PM ET
By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor
(CNN) - The Rev. Robert H. Schuller built the Crystal Cathedral, one of America's first megachurches, from the ground up but now the 84-year-old has been voted out by the church's board.
In a statement issued by the church Monday, church officials said Schuller's role with the board was merely changing.
"Now 84 years old, Dr. Schuller has been working toward semi-retirement, since total retirement is not an option for this pastor who is still just as passionate about his calling," the statement said. "Recently, the board of directors of Crystal Cathedral Ministries voted to change Dr. Schuller's position from that of a voting board member to the honorary Chairman of the Board Emeritus, a non-voting position," the statement added.
It continued to say the move would allow more time for speaking engagements and writing opportunities for Schuller.
"He will also continue to speak in the pulpit of the Crystal Cathedral and on the Hour of Power, and meet with staff in creative and vision-casting meetings," the church release read. "Hour of Power" is a weekly television program that was started by Schuller.
Schuller's granddaughter, Angie Schuller Wyatt, said the vote took place several days ago. "He was ousted by the board in the same way my father was. It was surprising, but not completely unexpected," she said.
June 22nd, 2011
05:58 PM ET
By the CNN Wire Staff
(CNN) - The Anti-Defamation League and a number of individuals have filed a lawsuit challenging a San Francisco ballot initiative that would criminalize the circumcision of males under age 18.
The lawsuit asks the Department of Elections to remove the proposal from the ballot for the November election on the grounds that San Francisco would not be able to enforce the ordinance even if it was approved. The petition asks that a judge intervene so the city and its residents will be spared from "wasting resources debating and voting on an ordinance that cannot become law."
"Existing California law is clear," said Nancy Appel, Anti-Defamation League associate director in San Francisco, in a statement. "Only the state can make rules about medical procedures and this initiative violates that law. Not only does this initiative waste time, energy and expense, but it also offends the notions of parental rights and freedom of religion. It is unconstitutional and, as we allege in this lawsuit, contrary to California law."
June 13th, 2011
03:01 PM ET
By Adam Cohen, TIME
In the 1960s and '70s, the San Francisco Bay Area was where the counterculture really started — the Free Speech Movement in Berkeley, the Summer of Love in Haight-Ashbury, gay rights in the Castro. Today, the Bay Area is challenging the larger culture in a new and controversial way: there will be a referendum on the ballot in November that would make it the first major city in the U.S. to outlaw circumcision.
The San Francisco debate over circumcision initially centered on the value of the procedure itself — opponents call it barbaric, supporters point to its long tradition and say it prevents disease. But increasingly the debate is becoming one about religion, in which critics accuse backers of the referendum of bigotry and insist a ban would violate the First Amendment's religious freedoms.Read the full story on San Francisco's circumcision ban
June 10th, 2011
02:33 PM ET
By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor
(CNN) - The nation’s largest evangelical Christian umbrella group has come out against San Francisco’s proposed circumcision ban, evidence that the voter initiative is beginning to galvanize national religious opposition.
Thursday’s announcement from the National Association of Evangelicals was noteworthy because unlike Jews and Muslims, Christians are not religiously mandated to practice circumcision.
“Jews, Muslims, and Christians all trace our spiritual heritage back to Abraham. Biblical circumcision begins with Abraham,” said National Association of Evangelicals president Leith Anderson. “No American government should restrict this historic tradition. Essential religious liberties are at stake."
June 7th, 2011
04:18 PM ET
Editor's note: LZ Granderson writes a weekly column for CNN.com. A senior writer and columnist for ESPN The Magazine and ESPN.com, he has contributed to ESPN's "Sports Center," "Outside the Lines" and "First Take."
By LZ Granderson, CNN Contributor
Grand Rapids, Michigan - Just so I'm clear, the state of California is broke, right?
Californians are facing billions in tax hikes and spending cuts that could mean more cutbacks in services and givebacks by state workers.
And yet, for some reason the debate over foreskin has a place.
You read me right, anti-circumcision activists convinced thousands in San Francisco to sign a petition, and now in the fall voters will decide whether to ban the procedure from being performed on boys younger than 18. Don't laugh, Santa Monica was looking at a similar vote up until this week, and the organization responsible for this movement wants to see this on the ballot all over the country.
I can see the lawn signs now - Circumcisions: Nip 'Em in the Bud.Read LZ Granderson's commentary
May 19th, 2011
05:20 PM ET
Mel Gibson’s latest movie venture, The Beaver, opens nationwide this weekend. The indie-flick is the actor's latest effort to salvage his career.
This Sunday, CNN Presents takes a closer look at Gibson's complicated life story, including his deep religious faith. The clip above is a excerpt from “Acting Out: The Mel Gibson Story," which airs on Sunday at 8pm on CNN, reported by Brooke Anderson.
May 18th, 2011
09:09 PM ET
San Francisco voters will decide whether to ban male circumcision in the November 8 municipal election.
Activists gathered enough signatures to put a proposal on the ballot, the city's election board confirmed Wednesday.
The measure aims to prohibit all male circumcisions in San Francisco. Led by Lloyd Schofield who is part of a Bay Area “inactivist” group, the advocates want to eliminate the surgery and liken it to "male genital mutilation."
Schofield and the "inactivists" seek to make it "unlawful to circumcise, excise, cut, or mutilate the whole or any part of the foreskin, testicles, or penis" of anyone 17 or younger in San Francisco. Under the proposal, a person who violates the proposed ban could be jailed (not more than one year) or fined (not more than $1,000). Exemptions for religious reasons would not be allowed.Read the full story on San Francisco's proposed circumcision ban on the CNN's Chart blog
May 9th, 2011
12:37 PM ET
By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor
(CNN) - I don't know whether to be surprised that it happened or surprised that it took so long: a California college has become the first in the nation to offer a major in secularism.
Some back story from The Times:
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.