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

San Diego.


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

artificial insemination.

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.


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

law's repeal.

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.


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.


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

dozen people.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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