Monthly Archives: August 2012

CNN Belief Blog

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

(CNN) — Bill Nye’s viral YouTube video pleading with parents not to teach their children to deny evolution has spawned an online life of its own, with prominent creationists hitting back against the popular TV host.

“Time is Nye for a Rebuttal,” Ken Ham the CEO of Answers in Genesis writes on his website. Answers in Genesis is the Christian ministry behind the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky.

Nye’s criticism of creationism went viral earlier this week, after being posted last Thursday.

“I say to the grownups, if you want to deny evolution and live in your world, that’s completely inconsistent with the world we observe, that’s fine. But don’t make your kids do it,” Nye says in his Big Think video, which has been viewed nearly 3 million times.

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CNN Belief Blog

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

(CNN) — Mitt Romney is famously quiet about his Mormon faith, but his campaign has said that some of Thursday’s speakers at the Republican National Convention will shed light on the candidate’s role in the church and that Romney may open about his faith, too.

Thursday’s invocation will be delivered by Ken and Priscilla Hutchins, Mormons whom Romney befriended in their Massachusetts ward the word Mormons use for church. Another Romney Mormon friend and former co-worker, Grant Bennett, will deliver a prime-time speech.

The speakers are part of the campaign’s broader attempt to humanize Romney at this week’s convention, which has played host to a prominent speech by Romney’s wife, Ann, and will feature speeches from more Romney friends on Thursday.

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CNN Belief Blog

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

(CNN)–Famed TV scientist Bill Nye is slamming creationism in a new online video for Big Think titled “Creationism Is Not Appropriate For Children.”

“Denial of evolution is unique to the United States,” Nye begins in a YouTube video posted on Thursday.  The video quickly picked up steam over the weekend and as of Monday morning had been viewed more than 1,100,000 times.

Nye a mechanical engineer and television personality best known for his program, “Bill Nye the Science Guy” said the United States has great capital in scientific knowledge and “when you have a portion of the population that doesn’t believe in it, it holds everyone back.”

“Your world becomes fantastically complicated if you don’t believe in evolution,” Nye said in the Web video.

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CNN Belief Blog

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

(CNN) — Roman Catholic Cardinal Timothy Dolan, America’s highest-profile Catholic official, will deliver the closing prayer at next week’s Republican convention, in another sign of how important the Catholic vote is expected to be this year.

The Archdiocese of New York confirmed Dolan’s role on Wednesday night, after it was reported by The Associated Press. News of Dolan’s role initially came in an interview of presumed GOP nominee Mitt Romney by EWTN, a Catholic television network, which is scheduled to air Thursday night.

Dolan is the president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the church’s U.S. arm, and has been an outspoken critic of the Obama administration’s rule requiring insurance companies to grant employees no-cost contraception coverage.

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CNN Belief Blog

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

(CNN) — Both Todd Akin’s claim that women’s bodies can prevent conception in cases of “legitimate rape” and the GOP’s newly-adopted platform language calling for a constitutional ban on abortion have provoked controversy for largely the same reason: They showcase the belief that all abortions should be illegal, without exception.

But even as Democrats and abortion rights groups use the controversies to reinforce allegations of a Republican-led “war on women,” don’t expect the anti-abortion movement to back away from calls for all abortions to be illegal — even for women impregnated by rape or incest.

“Philosophically, the consensus is very clearly that life is life and that it should be not be taken and that abortion is not a compassionate response to something terrible, even like rape,” said Marvin Olasky, the editor in chief of World magazine, an influential evangelical publication.

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CNN Belief Blog

Editor’s note: Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion scholar and author of “The American Bible: How Our Words Unite, Divide, and Define a Nation,” is a regular CNN Belief Blog contributor.

By Stephen Prothero, Special to CNN

Mitt Romney’s team invited reporters to go to church with him last Sunday, and The New York Times is reporting that the upcoming Republican presidential convention will showcase Romney’s faith in an effort to humanize him. So are we finally going to get a Mormon candidate for president?

Romney has been widely criticized for running against his past against what he did at Bain Capital and as governor of Massachusetts, and against his prior views on abortion and health care. And while he hasn’t flip-flopped on his membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, he has been loathe even to mention it in public.

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Swampland

Politics is tribal. When a candidate commits a typical gaffe, his opponents attack while his allies mount a defense. That’s just the way it goes. But once in a while, a candidate says something so devastatingly stupid everything gets turned around. A day after Missouri congressman Todd Akin told a local TV interviewer that victims of “legitimate rape” don’t get pregnant, national Republicans called for him to abandon his challenge to Senator Claire McCaskill while Democrats welcomed the chance to fight for the pivotal seat on more favorable ground.

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CNN Belief Blog

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…

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CNN Belief Blog

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

Washington (CNN) — For many conservative Christians, this week’s Family Research Council shooting that wounded a security guard and that the FBI is investigating as a possible act of domestic terrorism was hardly a one-off attack.

Rather, they say the incident is the latest evidence in what they allege is a growing war on religion from the left, an offensive they say extends from the Obama White House down to the liberal grass roots and even foreign governments.

“It’s easy to brush aside this incident as one act of a crazy man until you consider the past two weeks,” activist Dana Loesch wrote on the conservative site Breitbart.com in a piece titled “A literal war on religion?”

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CNN Belief Blog

By Dan Merica, CNN

Washington (CNN) — A prominent atheist group is using next month’s Democratic National Convention to take aim at the presidential candidates’ religion, putting up billboards targeting Mormonism and Christianity in Charlotte, North Carolina.

“Our political system is rife with religion and it depends too much on religion and not enough on substance,” said David Silverman, president of American Atheists, sponsor of the ads.

“Religion is silly and religion has components that are inherently divisive. … There is no place for any of that in the political system,” he said.

The billboards go up Monday in Charlotte and will stay up for a month at a cost of roughly $15,000. The Democratic convention runs September 3-6.

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

The billboard targeting Christianity features an image of Jesus Christ on toast and this description of the faith: “Sadistic God; Useless…

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