Baptist Pink Bible Recall; Ten Commandments Scroll; Free Church Condoms; Nativity in Modern...


Southern Baptist publisher recalls pink Bibles

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - The Southern Baptist Convention's

publishing division is recalling pink Bibles it sold to support

breast cancer research, after it says some money went to Planned


Lifeway Christian Resources no longer markets the pink-bound

version of The Holman Christian Standard Bible and is recalling

copies it sold, because a portion of the purchase price went to

Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

The Komen foundation issued a statement in which it said all

proceeds from the Bible sales were going to breast cancer

screenings and expressed disappointment in Lifeway's decision.

Lifeway's move came after complaints that some local Komen

affiliates were helping fund cancer screenings at Planned

Parenthood, which also provides abortions.

The pink Bibles were not sold in Lifeway stores, but had been in

other retail outlets since October.






Ancient Ten Commandments scroll on display in NYC

NEW YORK (AP) - A scroll of the Ten Commandments written before

the birth of Christ is on display through Jan. 2 at the Discovery

Times Square museum in New York.

Exhibit curator Risa Levitt Kohn says the fragile parchment is

one of the Dead Sea Scrolls, and is exceptional "because of its

contents, its age and the fact that it's in amazingly good


It's being displayed in a light and humidity-controlled

environment to avoid deterioration.

Written in Hebrew, the scroll contains the text of the Ten

Commandments from Deuteronomy, the fifth book of the Old Testament,

and is considered to be the best preserved artifact of the


It's on display with hundreds of other ancient scrolls that were

discovered by Bedouin shepherds between 1947 and 1956.

The exhibition is the largest collection of biblical artifacts

ever displayed outside of Israel.





Muskegon church offers free condoms

MUSKEGON, Mich. (AP) - A liberal church in western Michigan is

offering free condoms to the public.

They're available in the bathrooms at Harbor Unitarian

Universalist Congregation in Muskegon. The Rev. Bill Freeman says

the condoms aren't meant to encourage sex, but to protect people

from disease. He says sex shouldn't result in a death sentence.

The Muskegon Chronicle says the condoms will be distributed with

information about sexually transmitted diseases.

Harbor Unitarian promotes itself as a church for people seeking

their own spiritual truths.



Atheists counter nativity scene in Wis. Capitol

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - An atheist group has countered a nativity

scene in Wisconsin's state Capitol with one depicting Charles

Darwin and Albert Einstein.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation installed its display

Wednesday, a few days after the conservative group Wisconsin Family

Action put up a display depicting the birth of Jesus Christ. Both

groups were granted permits by the state Department of


Annie Laurie Gaylor is president of the atheists' group. She

says there shouldn't be any religious displays in the rotunda, but

if other displays are allowed then her group will have one too.

Julaine Appling of Wisconsin Family Action says there's room for

a number of different voices. She says she hopes people come to the

Capitol to enjoy the Christmas messages on display there.



The nativity gets updated for the modern age

LONDON (AP) - There's a beautifully groomed Mary in a blue party

dress, a fashionable Joseph gazing adoringly at the baby, and wise

men carrying a Faberge egg, a crystal bottle of perfume and a

decorated skull.

With only twelve days to go until Christmas, a church group

unveiled a poster Thursday to remind people of the religious aspect

of the holiday - while making a statement about modern-day


The poster, deliberately designed to look like a fashion

photograph, has the words: "However you dress it up, Christmas

starts with Christ."

Francis Goodwin, chairman of multi-denominational religious

group ChurchAds that organized the poster campaign, said the image

is meant to remind people of the origins of Christmas.

Goodwin said he hoped the poster would also modernize the

traditional Christmas image.



Palestinians light Christmas tree in Bethlehem

BETHLEHEM, West Bank (AP) - Hundreds of Palestinians have

gathered in Bethlehem to light a Christmas tree, beginning holiday

festivities in the town where Jesus was born.

Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad pressed a button

lighting up the decorations on the 50-foot tree Thursday, along

with the lights illuminating the rest of the square outside the

Church of the Nativity.

Christmas brings the world's attention every year briefly to the

West Bank town south of Jerusalem.

Fayyad said Christmas is a time to "celebrate the Palestinian

identity of Jesus Christ."

Bethlehem Mayor Victor Batarseh said this year's Christmas theme

is "Palestine celebrating hope." because of the approaching birth

of an "independent Palestinian state."

With Palestine now recognized by the U.N.'s cultural body,

Palestinians hope the Church of the Nativity, revered by Christians

and Muslims alike, will receive World Heritage status.




Group to protest SC immigration law with prayer

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - An interfaith coalition of Christians,

Jews and Muslims plans prayer vigils and protests over South

Carolina's new immigration law.

The newly-formed South Carolina Immigrants Rights Coalition said

the rallies will take place Sunday in Columbia, Charleston,

Greenville, Spartanburg and Hilton Head Island.

The protesters are upset with part of the new law, which

requires law enforcement officers to call federal immigration

officials if they suspect someone is in the country illegally. The

law goes into effect on Jan. 1.

Organizers of the vigils say they will offer scriptural support

for immigrants and point out the real-life consequences of the new




Somali pirates sentenced to life in prison

NORFOLK, Va. (AP) - A former Somali police officer and another

man have been sentenced to life in prison for their roles in the

hijacking of a yacht that left all four Americans on board dead.

Mohamud Hirs Issa Ali and Jilani Abdiali were sentenced in

federal court in Norfolk on Thursday. They are among 11 men who

have pleaded guilty to piracy for the February hijacking of the


Ali was considered a pirate leader. The other men believed

Abdiali was psychic and he was brought along to bless the


The owners of the Quest, Jean and Scott Adam of Marina del Rey,

Calif., along with friends Bob Riggle and Phyllis Macay of Seattle,

were shot to death several hundred miles south of Oman. The Adams

used their yacht do deliver Bibles to far-flung regions.

Three other men face murder charges.



Angel Food Ministries founders plead not guilty

MACON, Ga. (AP) - The founders of Angel Food Ministries have

pleaded not guilty to fraud and money laundering charges in Macon,


The federal indictment charges that Joe and Linda Wingo used the

charity's funds for personal use, including purchasing real estate

and supporting a candidate for Walton County sheriff.

Angel Food Ministries was based out of Monroe, Ga. It provided

discounted groceries to needy families through local churches.

The organization shut down its operations in September. The

organization's offices were searched by the FBI in 2009.

Two other ministry officials charged in the case pleaded not

guilty this week to fraud charges.



Ky. convicts 5 Amish men for not displaying emblem

PADUCAH, Ky. (AP) - Five more Amish men have been convicted in

western Kentucky of not displaying orange triangles on their

buggies as required for slow-moving vehicles.

The action came Monday after bench trials in Graves County. The

men said that they do not plan to pay their fines and court costs,

an action that has led to jail time for others convicted of the

same charge.

Members of the conservative Amish sect refuse to display the

orange triangle because they say it violates their religious

prohibitions against displaying bright colors and trusting in

man-made symbols.

A state law requires the emblem for safety. However, state Rep.

Ron Crimm of Louisville is proposing legislation that would allow

white or silver reflective tape to be used instead.



Franciscan friars leave Ohio church after 105 yrs.

CLEVELAND (AP) - Roman Catholic Franciscan friars are giving up

the historically Polish church they've led on the southeast side of

Cleveland for more than a century.

The Shrine Church of St. Stanislaus will be turned over to the

Cleveland Catholic diocese next summer.

Church pastor Rev. Michael Surufka told The Plain Dealer that

his diminishing Franciscan order doesn't have the men to maintain

the parish. Surufka is being sent to Chicago to work on recruiting

more men to the priesthood.

St. Stanislaus was founded in 1873 and was taken over by the

Franciscans in 1906.

The religious order was founded by St. Francis of Assisi.



Jewish radicals get off hook in Israel

JERUSALEM (AP) - A rash of audacious attacks on mosques, Muslim

cemeteries and Israeli military bases have trained a light on the

rising threat of Jewish extremists - and the country's long history

of failing to rein them in.

Over the past two years, few extremists have been arrested and

fewer still prosecuted in dozens of assaults. This week alone,

extremists were blamed for a pair of mosque burnings as well as an

attack on a West Bank military base that injured a top Israeli


The violence has prompted rare attention from Israeli leaders,

who have begun to call the perpetrators "terrorists" - a term

usually reserved for Palestinian militants.

Hard-line settlers believe Israel has a God-given right to the

West Bank and east Jerusalem, territories Israel captured in 1967,

and reject Palestinian claims to those lands.



Son of Unification Church founder visits NKorea

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) - The youngest son of Unification Church

founder Rev. Sun Myung Moon has met with North Korea's ceremonial

head of state.

Footage Thursday from Associated Press Television News in

Pyongyang showed Moon Hyung-jin speaking with North Korea's

parliamentary head Kim Yong Nam.

Moon's 91-year-old father maintains links with Pyongyang and the

church owns Pyeonghwa Motors in the North.

The 32-year-old son is an ordained minister who is expected to

take over the multibillion-dollar religious and business empire.

His father calls himself a messiah sent to complete Jesus Christ's


Moon's trip coincides with the 20th anniversary of a visit by

his father to North Korea and a meeting with founder Kim Il Sung.




(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


AP-NY-12-16-11 0335EST


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