October 10th, 2014
12:03 PM ET
By Sara Grossman, Special to CNN
(CNN) - On Sunday, pastor Jim Garlow of Skyline Church in California stood before his congregation of more than 2,000 and told them he would be making an unusual announcement.
The pastor proceeded to warn his audience against voting for a candidate in the upcoming midterm elections who supports gay marriage and abortion, even if that candidate, Carl DeMaio, is a Republican.
Garlow, an outspoken evangelical who played a major role in organizing Christian groups in support of California’s anti-gay marriage Proposition 8, spoke plainly: He would not be supporting the Republican in this race.
“I know enough that you cannot have the advancing of the radical homosexual agenda and religious liberty at the same time, in the same nation,” he preached. “One will win, and one will lose.”
Instead, Garlow told his followers he would be endorsing DeMaio’s rival, Democratic incumbent Scott Peters, representative for California’s 52nd District, to send a scathing message to Republican leadership that candidates who back abortion and gay rights are unacceptable to the party’s Christian base.
Garlow is one of a growing number of Americans who say that religion should play a greater role in politics, according to the findings of a recent study by the Pew Research Forum's Religion & Public Life Project.
The study found that almost three-quarters of the American public — 72% — believes that religion’s influence is waning in public life, the highest level in Pew Research polling over the past 10 years.
And many Americans say that trend is a bad thing, the study found.
“A growing share of the American public wants religion to play a role in U.S. politics,” the Pew study authors write.
What kind of role?
August 22nd, 2013
03:07 PM ET
By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor
(CNN)–The mother of a gay detective has been booted from the Tennessee church she attended for decades.
Elders at Ridgedale Church of Christ told Linda Cooper and two relatives that their public support for Kat Cooper, Linda Cooper's gay daughter, went against the church's teachings, local media reported. In a private meeting, reports say, Linda Cooper was given a choice: publicly atone for their transgressions or leave the church.
Linda left the church.
Kat Cooper is a detective with the Collegedale Police Department. This month, she fought successfully for health benefits for her same-sex spouse, Krista, from the town.
August 15th, 2013
03:48 PM ET
By Laura Smith-Spark, CNN
(CNN) - As violence again scars Egypt, Christians in the country believe they're being targeted amidst the chaos following a government crackdown on Muslim Brotherhood protest camps in Cairo.
There have been dozens of attacks on Christian churches, homes and businesses in the past 24 hours. Full details of the attacks are still emerging, as the country reels from its bloodiest day in recent history.
Bishop Angaelos, the Cairo-born head of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom, said he was told by colleagues in Egypt that 52 churches had been attacked in the space of 24 hours beginning Wednesday, as well as numerous Christian homes and businesses across the country.
Ishak Ibrahim, a researcher with the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, told CNN he had confirmed attacks on at least 30 churches so far, in addition to the targeting of church-related facilities, including schools and cultural centers.FULL STORY
April 6th, 2013
05:20 PM ET
By the CNN Wire staff
(CNN) -After a lifelong battle with mental illness, the youngest son of Pastor Rick Warren has committed suicide, his family said.
Matthew Warren, 27, died from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound on Friday, said Deputy Daniel Aikin, with the Orange County Coroner's Office.
The family shared news of his death in an e-mail to church staff.
Rick Warren and his wife founded Saddleback Valley Community Church, a megachurch in Southern California.
"No words can express the anguished grief we feel right now," the pastor wrote in the note, a copy of which was sent to CNN.
April 2nd, 2013
10:34 AM ET
(CNN)–A mother who was with her husband and five children in St. Peter's Square for the holiday helped lift her young son with cerebral palsy, Dominic, into the arms of Pope Francis for a blessing after Easter Mass. Christiana Gondreau describes the touching moment to CNN's Wolf Blitzer.
"There was not a dry eye around us. It was really, really moving," she says. "Not in a million years, really, did I expect to end the Easter Sunday Mass with a kiss from the pope. It was very beautiful."
March 28th, 2013
05:26 PM ET
By Sherisse Pham, CNN
(CNN)–His children cry out for him. His wife wonders about his “survival battle.”
Such is the struggle of the family of an American pastor recently sentenced in Iran to eight years in prison for his Christian beliefs.
The couple's two children "miss him terribly. They cry, they ask for him," wife Naghmeh Abedini says. "They're struggling every day."
Her husband Saeed Abedini, a U.S. citizen of Iranian birth, was arrested and charged in Iran last June during a visit. Abedini, 32, converted to Christianity from Islam and then became a pastor, living in Boise, Idaho. He has reportedly been detained in Tehran's notorious Evin Prison since late September. In the Islamic Republic of Iran, a Muslim who converts to another faith can face the death penalty.
"They've charged him with Christian gatherings, and they're saying it is a threat to the national security," Naghmeh Abedini said.FULL STORY
March 25th, 2013
10:10 AM ET
Editor's note: Marc D. Stern is the general counsel of the American Jewish Committee and a contributor to the book, "Same-Sex Marriage and Religious Liberty."
By Marc D. Stern, Special to CNN
(CNN) - It was inevitable that the debate over same-sex marriage would have a strong religious component. This is partly because it involves such questions as the interpretation of biblical passages that, on their face, condemn homosexuality as a sin. But it also involves squaring the authority of ancient texts with modern theological understanding and developments in biology. And of course, the importance of love and human autonomy as religious values should be considered.
Those issues surfaced in the various briefs filed in the Supreme Court, some of which are written as if the court must inevitably choose one religious point of view as the winner and the other as the loser. This is a false choice. The Court can make all winners, or at least avoid allowing one side to suppress the other's deepest beliefs.
The U.S. Supreme Court has not been asked - nor could it possibly answer - the question of what God or the Bible thinks about same-sex marriage. Religious groups are divided on that question, some supporting and others opposing same-sex marriage. And even if the religious viewpoint were clear, it should play no direct role in deciding whether the Constitution requires the states or the federal government to recognize same-sex marriage. Our government should not act to further one or another religious view of contested moral issues.FULL STORY
March 22nd, 2013
10:39 AM ET
By Kat Kinsman, CNN
(CNN)–All over the world, people gather to celebrate Passover – the holiday that commemorates the Jewish people's escape from slavery in Egypt. For seven or eight days (depending on where you live), families and friends come together for festive seder meals packed with ritual foods and a few dietary restrictions (for instance, no leavened grains).
And while many traditions remain the same the world over, favorite regional recipes can bring communities closer together. Here, families from Israel, Estonia and India share a few of their favorites, courtesy of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, to make your celebration a little larger in spirit.
March 19th, 2013
05:55 AM ET
Washington (CNN) – American Catholics are very enthusiastic about the choice of Pope Francis to head the Roman Catholic Church, according to a new national survey.
But a CNN/ORC International survey also indicates that you shouldn't expect them to pay any more attention to the new pope's teachings on issues like birth control than they paid to his predecessors.
"Pope Francis is starting off with a huge reservoir of goodwill in the U.S. Eighty-eight percent of American Catholics questioned in our survey approve of his selection as pope," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.
By contrast, an ABC News/Washington Post poll in April, 2005, found only 60% of Americans Catholics approved of the selection of Pope Benedict, the predecessor to Francis.
The new poll's release comes as Francis, known until his election as pope last week as Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina, is inaugurated Tuesday at a ceremony at the Vatican.
While they support his election as pope, nearly three-quarters of American Catholics say they are more likely to follow their own conscience on difficult moral questions than the teachings of the pope.FULL STORY
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.