Catholic broadcaster sues over Obama policy
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) - A Roman Catholic broadcasting network is
suing the Obama administration over its mandate that religious
organizations pay for their workers' birth control.
The lawsuit, filed Thursday by the nonprofit EWTN Global
Catholic Network, claims the policy is unconstitutional because it
would require the broadcaster to violate church principles on the
sanctity of life or pay fines of $600,000 a year.
Network president Michael Warsaw says EWTN had to sue because it
would be forced to use donors' contributions to pay for morally
objectionable health services including contraception,
sterilization and abortion drugs.
EWTN spokeswoman Michelle Johnson says the Alabama-based network
employs 340 people, 135 of them women.
Lawsuits to block the contraceptive mandate also have been filed
by a Catholic college and a Protestant university.
Judge slams critics of Texas school prayer ruling
SAN ANTONIO (AP) - A federal judge blasted by Newt Gingrich and
other conservatives for his ruling that prohibited prayer at a
Texas high school graduation is firing back.
In accepting a settlement to the case, Judge Fred Biery
admonished those who "demagogued this case for their own political
goals." To those critics, he wrote, "You should be ashamed of
Biery did not mention anyone by name in his court order. Yet one
target appeared to be Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who condemned the
judge's decision last summer to issue the prayer ban after an
agnostic family filed a lawsuit.
Under the settlement, the Medina (meh-DEE'-nah) Valley
Independent School District will not officially make prayer part of
graduation ceremonies. The settlement doesn't prohibit student
speakers from praying during their remarks.
Va. Senate passes adoption discrimination bill
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia's state Senate has passed
legislation allowing private adoption agencies to deny placements
that conflict with their religious or moral beliefs, including
opposition to homosexuality.
The House of Delegates passed an identical version of the bill,
and Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell has said he'll sign the measure.
That will make Virginia the second state with such a law.
Supporters say it was modeled after a North Dakota statute.
State Sen. Jeffrey McWaters says his "conscience clause" bill
protects the religious rights of private child placement agencies,
including dozens that contract with the state to provide foster
care and adoption services.
But Sen. Adam Ebbin, the only openly gay member of the General
Assembly, said the bill will endanger gay and bisexual children who
could be placed with parents opposed to homosexuality.
Group wants Supreme Court to save CA war memorial
SAN DIEGO (AP) - Supporters of a war memorial cross on federal
land in San Diego have rallied at the Mount Soledad site as they
asked the Supreme Court to reverse a decision deeming it
The nonprofit Liberty Institute filed the petition on behalf of
the Mount Soledad Memorial Association to preserve the 43-foot
monument atop the picturesque peak overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
The gathering of 75 supporters Thursday also drew about
three-dozen opponents who want the cross taken down.
The supporters told the opponents that the cross is not about
religion but about honoring service members, and future generations
should have the opportunity to experience the memorial.
Opponents responded that courts have determined the cross is
TEN COMMANDMENTS MONUMENT
ACLU suing NM city over Ten Commandments monument
BLOOMFIELD, N.M. (AP) - The American Civil Liberties Union of
New Mexico has filed a lawsuit on behalf of two Bloomfield
residents over a Ten Commandments monument displayed at City Hall.
The lawsuit alleges that the monument is a government
endorsement of religion and violates the U.S. and state
ACLU New Mexico executive director Peter Simonson says the
government should not decide which religious doctrines it favors
and then post them on government property. But he said individuals,
religious communities, and religious associations should be free to
post the Ten Commandments as they wish, and the ACLU will defend
their right to do so.
Christian singer taking mentor with him to the Grammys
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Christian singer Brandon Heath, who's
nominated for three of the Grammy awards that will be handed out
Sunday, is taking his high school choir teacher with him to the
awards ceremony in Los Angeles.
Heath says that when he was a teenager, Bobby Jean Frost
encouraged him to audition for a competition called "Grammy in the
Schools," which he went on to win.
The now-retired Frost says she could see back then that the
young Brandon had personality as well as talent.
Heath says his teacher envisioned his future success, so it's
fun to be able to "show her that she was right."
He quipped, "I've got the hottest date at the Grammys, y'all!"
A laughing Frost responded, "The oldest too!"
Brandon Heath is nominated for best Contemporary Christian Song,
Album and Performance.
MUSIC-GRAMMYWATCH-STEVEN CURTIS CHAPMAN
5-time Grammy winner nominated again
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Christian music star Steven Curtis
Chapman says his latest Grammy award nomination, for best
Contemporary Christian Performance, is one of many blessings in a
The five-time Grammy winner says he feels blessed that people
still want to hear the songs he writes.
This year's Grammy nomination is for performing the song "Do
Everything," from his album "re:Creation."
Chapman says this past year also has brought him and his wife
their first grandchild, and more healing from the tragic death of
their adopted daughter Maria, who was run over in the family's
driveway in May 2008.
Chapman says his family is, "by the grace of God and the
prayers of so many people, really doing well."
MUSIC-GRAMMYWATCH-JAMIE GRACE AND TOBYMAC
Grammy nominee gets advice from TobyMac
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Grammy-nominated Christian singer Jamie
Grace says she gets frequent advice from her mentor.
The 20-year-old Grace says TobyMac, who discovered her on
YouTube and signed her to a record deal, tells her to stay in
TobyMac says he also reminds her to keep writing great songs and
"stay true to who brought you here." He quickly adds, "I'm not
talking about me. I'm talking about God."
Grace's song "Hold Me," featuring TobyMac, is nominated for
best contemporary Christian music song.
She says her sister has told her not to "stress out about
winning" this Sunday because it's such an honor just to be
Judge allows 2 claims in archdiocese bankruptcy
MILWAUKEE (AP) - A federal judge is allowing two claims to go
forward against the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Milwaukee for
alleged sexual abuse by clergy.
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Susan Kelley on Thursday dismissed a third
claim because that person already had entered into a settlement.
The archdiocese argued the two claims were filed beyond the
statute of limitations.
The archdiocese filed for bankruptcy protection last year,
saying pending sex-abuse lawsuits could leave it in debt. About 570
people filed restitution claims by the Feb. 1 deadline.
The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests estimates if
the archdiocese had been successful on the statute of limitations
argument, 95 percent of the cases could have been ultimately
Bishop warns of priest sex abuse cases in Asia
ROME (AP) - A Filipino archbishop has told a Vatican-backed
conference on priestly sex abuse that a culture of silence
prevalent in Asia has kept many victims from coming forward.
Concerns are rising that Asia may be the next ground zero in the
Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle (TAHG'-lay) said a
widespread deference to the church in places like the Philippines
may have kept a lid on reports. He said more and more people have
come forward in the past five years, but added that reports of
priests keeping mistresses still far outpace reports of pedophiles.
Tagle on Thursday addressed the conference, which is aimed at
helping bishops and religious superiors craft guidelines on how to
care for victims and keep abusers out of the priesthood.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)