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October 20th, 2012
04:26 PM ET

Mother Marianne becomes an American saint

By Jen Christensen, CNN

(CNN) - An American health care pioneer will receive the Roman Catholic Church's highest honor this weekend.

On Sunday, Mother Marianne Cope - along with another North American, Kateri Tekakwitha - will become a saint, a designation so difficult to achieve that only 10 other Americans have been canonized before her.

Saint Marianne Cope, as she will soon be known, may be best remembered for her work with patients suffering from Hansen's disease - or lepers, as they were called at the time.

In Hawaii in the late 1800s, people were so afraid of the disease that even those with simple, unrelated rashes were often banished to the remote island of Molokai. They remained at this leper colony for the rest of their lives, far away from family and friends. Their children became orphans.

An island priest who was worried about this health crisis wrote to nearly 50 different religious congregations asking for help. But the work was perceived as so dangerous that only Mother Marianne responded. Before she made her long journey to the remote islands, though, she radically changed medical practices on the mainland.

FULL STORY
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Catholic Church

August 20th, 2012
11:40 AM ET

Girl held on Pakistan blasphemy charge

By Katie Hunt and Nasir Habib, CNN

(CNN) - An 11-year-old Christian girl has been arrested and detained on charges of blasphemy for allegedly desecrating pages from the Quran in the Pakistan capital Islamabad.

According to a statement released by the President's office on Sunday, the girl, identified as Ramsha, was accused by a local resident of burning pages of the Muslim holy text after she gathered paper as fuel for cooking.

Local media reports said the girl has Down syndrome. CNN was unable to confirm these reports, however Qasim Niazi, the police officer in charge of the police station near where the incident took place, said the girl did not have a mental disorder but was illiterate and had not attended school.

The accused girl had told him she had no idea there were pages of the Quran inside the documents she burnt, he added.

Niazi said that 150 people had gathered on Friday where the neighborhood's Christian population lived and threatened to burn down their houses.

"The mob wanted to burn the girl to give her a lesson," he told CNN.

Other Christian families living in the area have fled fearing a backlash, he added.

FULL STORY
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Islam • Islamic law • Pakistan • Quran

August 1st, 2012
10:27 AM ET

'Veiled TV' makes debut in Egypt

(CNN)--CNN's Ian Lee reports on a new Egyptian TV station run exclusively by fully veiled women.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Islam

July 27th, 2012
10:33 PM ET

What's at stake for Romney in Israel

By Tom Foreman and Eric Marrapodi, CNN

(CNN)—Mitt Romney will be glad handing and photo opping in Israel until Monday during the second leg of the presumptive GOP nominee's international campaign trip.

It is unmistakably aimed, in part, at a traditional Democratic voting bloc: Jewish Americans who are politically active in fundraising, campaigning and voting.

"I think Mitt Romney is going to Israel certainly to court the Jewish vote," said Randall Balmer, the chairman of the religion department at Dartmouth College and author of "God in the White House."

"It's definitely sending a message that Israel is important for Romney, that he, he has warm feelings about Israel, that he cares about Israel," said Nathan Guttman, a Washington correspondent for the Jewish Daily Forward. "It's sort of important for this kind of a Jewish electorate. But again, we should keep in mind that this is the minority of Jewish voters."

He added, "Most of them are Obama voters to start with; they won't be swayed by it; they don't really care much."

But Romney may have an even larger voting bloc in mind during his trip.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Israel • Judaism • TV-The Situation Room

Chick-fil-A's marriage stance causing a social storm
July 19th, 2012
08:18 AM ET

Chick-fil-A's marriage stance causing a social storm

By Brad Lendon, CNN

(CNN)–The fact that Chick-fil-A is a company that espouses Christian values is no secret. The fact that its 1,600 fast-food chicken restaurants across the country are closed on Sundays has long been testament to that.

But the comments of company President Dan Cathy about gay marriage to Baptist Press on Monday have ignited a social media wildfire.

10 religious companies (besides Chick-fil-A)

"Guilty as charged,", Cathy said when asked about his company's support of the traditional family unit as opposed to gay marriage.

Chick-fil-A controversy shines light on restaurant's Christian DNA

"We are very much supportive of the family – the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that," Cathy is quoted as saying.

CNN's This Just In Blog has the full social media reaction to the latest Chick-fil-A flap
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Christianity

July 18th, 2012
11:09 AM ET

Pastor handles deadly snakes

(CNN)–CNN's Gary Tuchman takes you inside a snake-handling church in Tennessee.

The death of a Mack Wolford, one of the best known snake handling pastors, put the obscure tradition back in the spotlight in late May.

Death of snake handling preacher shines light on lethal Appalachian tradition

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Content Partner • TV-Anderson Cooper 360

June 19th, 2012
11:53 AM ET

Hasidic child sex abuse allegations

By Ella Chick, CNN

(CNN)–Areas of Brooklyn, New York feel like a trip back in time. Ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities live a lifestyle that mirrors their ancestors from centuries ago. The dress, hair, language, education, food, values, prayers, traditions and community structure have been passed down and preserved through many generations and across oceans. All of those are an expression of the residents’ profound faith in God.

What is not visible are shameful secrets: Child sex abuse scandals have been making headlines for years and bringing unwanted attention to a group bent on privacy.

For Hasidim, every waking act is defined by the laws of the Torah; they depend on the teachings of rabbis to guide them in all parts of their day. Influence from the secular world threatens to invade their insular community.

Now revered leaders of the community are accused of protecting child predators and punishing the victims who dare to speak out about what was done to them, all to avoid outside involvement.

FULL STORY
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Judaism

FBI recovers rare first-edition of the Book of Mormon
The FBI recovered a stolen first-edition of the Book of Mormon.
June 14th, 2012
04:15 PM ET

FBI recovers rare first-edition of the Book of Mormon

By Carol Cratty, CNN

(CNN)–Law enforcement agents have recovered a rare first-edition copy of the Book of Mormon that was reported stolen from a Mesa, Arizona, bookstore in late May.

The FBI announced Thursday the religious book, first published in 1830 in New York, was located two days ago in Herndon, Virginia, and a suspect was arrested.

The Book of Mormon is considered scripture by members of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints, on par with the Bible.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Books • Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints • Mormonism

June 8th, 2012
03:00 PM ET

My Take: Syria’s Christian conundrum

Editor’s note: Hind Aboud Kabawat is a Syrian attorney. She is also a conflict resolution specialist and senior research analyst at the Center for World Religions, Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution, which is based at George Mason University in Virginia. The views expressed in this article are solely those of Hind Aboud Kabawat.

By Hind Aboud Kabawat, Special to CNN

(CNN)–One of the most perplexing aspects of the Syrian revolution is the deep ambivalence felt by so many of the country’s Christians when faced with the prospect of freedom after four decades of authoritarian dictatorship. Some Christians have enthusiastically embraced the prospect of democratic change and a more open civil society, but many have not.

As a Christian, this provokes a great deal of sadness in me and others who are committed to transforming Syria into an open, democratic, inclusive, secular and religiously tolerant society. But the problem is that many, if not most, Christians in Syria do not believe that this will be the outcome of changing the regime.

FULL STORY
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity

April 25th, 2012
11:23 AM ET

Romney's days as a Mormon bishop

(CNN) - CNN's Mary Snow looks at the years Mitt Romney spent as a Mormon church leader in Massachusetts.

You can also read the entire Belief Blog  series of stories looking at the faith of the 2012 GOP presidential candidates, including Mitt Romney, Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich and Herman Cain.


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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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