Obama hosting Easter prayer breakfast
WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama hosts an Easter Prayer
Breakfast at the White House today.
Obama and Vice President Joseph Biden are joining Christian
leaders from across the country for what the White House calls a
time of prayer and reflection. At last year's Easter Prayer
Breakfast, Obama said Jesus Christ took on the sins of the world to
offer "salvation through his death and resurrection."
This year's gathering in the East Room comes as Catholic bishops
and other clergy are protesting the administration's requirement
that church-affiliated groups provide insurance that covers
sterilizations and contraceptives, including abortifacient drugs.
Obama also has hosted White House events marking Jewish and
Muslim religious holidays.
Prison Fellowship founder critically ill
LANSDOWNE, Va. (AP) - Prison Fellowship Ministries says its
founder, Chuck Colson, remains in critical condition following
weekend surgery to remove a blood clot from his brain, but has
shown what it calls "some early signs of potential for recovery."
The 80-year-old Colson is hospitalized in northern Virginia,
where he suffered a brain hemorrhage while speaking last Friday.
The ministry's CEO, Jim Liske (LIHS'-kee), says Colson's friends
and family are "hoping and praying" for a full recovery.
Liske adds that Colson, who usually spends Easter with inmates
at a prison service, would want Christians to pray for Prison
Fellowship's Easter events this weekend in prisons in New York and
PREGNANT TEACHER FIRED
Judge in Ohio OKs fired pregnant teacher's lawsuit
CINCINNATI (AP) - A federal judge has given the go-ahead for
trial in a lawsuit against the Archdiocese of Cincinnati by a
Catholic school teacher fired after she became pregnant through
The archdiocese fired Christa Dias in 2010, saying the single
woman violated Roman Catholic doctrine by using artificial
But U.S. District Judge Arthur Spiegel said in his ruling that
Dias was a non-Catholic computer teacher with no role in
ministering or teaching Catholic doctrine.
An archdiocese spokesman says parents who pay to send their
children to Catholic schools expect them to be taught in an
environment reflecting Catholic moral teaching and that employee
contracts specify they will abide by church teachings.
The Cincinnati Enquirer reports that Dias wants compensation for
medical bills and other expenses.
IMMIGRATION LAW AD-CLERGY
Clergy group to air ad against AL immigration law
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - A television ad by a coalition of
Alabama faith leaders speaks out against the state's
toughest-in-the-nation immigration law and urges Alabamians to
contact their legislators to fix the statute.
The group unveiled the ad to reporters on Tuesday. It will air
in Alabama's capital city over the next two weeks.
The commercial claims the law has hurt the state's economy, bred
a climate of fear and divided families.
The Rev. Angie Wright of Birmingham says the group wants "as
much change as politically possible," but is not calling for the
The group behind the commercial is Faith Leaders for Welcoming
Alabama. It's a coalition of almost two dozen clergy leaders from
across the state.
RELIGIOUS SCHOOL SHOOTING-HOSPITAL
3 survivors of CA college shooting out of hospital
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) - Three surviving victims of a shooting
rampage at a California Christian college are out of the hospital.
Highland Hospital spokeswoman Jerri Randrup says the hospital
received a total of five victims of the shooting at Oikos
Oakland Police say two of them died. A total of seven people
were killed when a gunman opened fire Monday morning at the school.
Police later arrested 43-year-old One Goh, a former student.
Police say Goh was angry about his expulsion from the school in
January and was targeting a female administrator. When he learned
she wasn't there, he began shooting people.
Jordan says Goh also had been upset about teasing from
classmates over his poor English skills.
NYPD beefs up security ahead of Passover holiday
NEW YORK (AP) - New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly says
security will be increased at religious sites around the city
during the Jewish holiday of Passover.
Authorities say no specific threats have been reported in the
city for the weeklong holiday, which starts at sundown Friday.
The New York Police Department has sharpened its focus on
anti-terrorism after the 9/11 attacks. It has kept a constant eye
on militant groups for signs that they might attack the largest
Jewish population outside of Israel.
The NYPD dispatched extra patrols to more than 50 locations
throughout New York after a recent string of killings in France.
During those attacks, an armed man on a motorbike attacked a
Jewish school in Toulouse. The shooting left a rabbi, his two young
sons and a schoolgirl dead.
Boston archdiocese to sell closed parish's land
WELLESLEY, Mass. (AP) - The Boston Archdiocese has agreed to
sell a former Wellesley parish that's been occupied for more than
seven years by parishioners protesting the closing.
The deal with the town of Wellesley would sell the property of
St. James the Great for $3.8 million. Town officials say they'd use
the land for recreational facilities, including playing fields and
a swimming pool.
The deal must be approved by local voters. It's also contingent
on a Vatican ruling on an appeal by parishioners. They argue the
archdiocese can't justify its decision to convert the St. James
church building from holy to secular use.
The archdiocese says a Vatican body, the Congregation for the
Clergy, has rejected the appeal. But a vigil leader said
parishioners will appeal to the Vatican high court.
Jury hears dozens of memos from Philly archdiocese
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Confidential memos outlining multiple
allegations of sexual abuse against a now-defrocked priest have
been read to jurors in the landmark clergy abuse trial under way in
The memos describe how the archdiocese handled allegations made
against the Rev. Stanley Gana in the 1990s. Prosecutors are trying
to show that the archdiocese didn't do enough to protect children
from Gana after the accusations arose.
Monsignor William Lynn supervised more than 800 priests as the
secretary for clergy in Philadelphia from 1992 to 2004. He's the
first U.S. church official charged over his handling of abuse
complaints against priests.
Prosecutors charge that he kept dangerous priests in parish work
around children to protect the church's reputation and avoid
scandal. He faces up to 28 years in prison if convicted of
conspiracy and child endangerment.
PRAYERS AGAINST POLE DANCING
Churches protest pole dancing at tavern
ADAIRVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Churches in Kentucky and Tennessee are
uniting in an effort to stop a tavern on the state line from
allowing pole dancing.
Around 300 church members gathered Sunday to pray that the owner
of the Tenn-Tucky State Line Tavern located just outside
Adairville, Ky., would have a change of heart.
Tavern owner Sheila Haley told the Daily News of Bowling Green
that she runs a clean establishment and made an economic decision
recently to add pole dancing. She says dancers will be "fully
Adairville Mayor Jim Wilkerson attended the prayer service and
said he'd continue to pray that Haley changes her mind.
Jury pool questioned for Ark. church murder trial
WYNNE, Ark. (AP) - Jury selection is under way in the trial of a
man accused of beating an elderly woman to death with a brass cross
inside an Arkansas church.
The Jonesboro Sun reports that attorneys questioned potential
jurors in the capital murder trial of Rene Bourassa, Jr. He's
charged in the June 2010 death of 80-year-old Lilllian Wilson of
Wilson was found dead inside Central United Methodist Church.
Investigators say she suffered blunt force trauma to the head and
that the suspected murder weapon was a brass cross. The cross was
found on the floor of the church's worship area with blood on it.
Jury selection is expected to last much of this week with the
trial beginning Monday.
$4.5M spent Texas FLDS prosecution
SAN ANTONIO (AP) - State records obtained by The Associated
Press show Texas prosecutors spent more than $4.5 million
convicting polygamous church leader Warren Jeffs and 10 of his
This week marks the four-year anniversary of the raid on the
Yearning for Zion Ranch. State prosecutors last week convicted the
last of 11 members of the polygamist group who were arrested on
child sex abuse and bigamy charges.
Combined with the costs surrounding the 2008 raid, state records
show the total price tag across all agencies is nearly $20 million.
Jeffs leads the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter
Day Saints. He was sentenced to life in prison.
Dearborn wants no liability before giving permit
DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) - A Detroit suburb is asking a Florida
minister to release the city from any liability in exchange for a
permit to protest outside a mosque.
The Rev. Terry Jones filed a lawsuit claiming Dearborn is
violating his free-speech rights. But Dearborn spokeswoman Mary
Laundroche said the city only wants to be held
harmless in case of trouble. She says the location is not
Laundroche says Jones has been asked to draft his own agreement
but hasn't delivered one. Jones wants to protest outside the
Islamic Center of America in Dearborn, home of one of the nation's
largest Muslim communities.
A burning of the Quran at Jones' church in Gainesville, Fla.,
led to violent protests in Afghanistan that killed more than a
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)