CHRISTIAN COLLEGE-BIRTH CONTROL
Pa. Christian college sues over birth control regs
PITTSBURGH (AP) - A Christian college in Pennsylvania is suing
the federal government, saying regulations that require employers
to offer contraceptives that abort fertilized embryos violate its
religious values, including the biblical commandment "Thou shalt
The Alliance Defense Fund filed the lawsuit on behalf of Geneva
College, which was founded by the Reformed Presbyterian Church.
College President Ken Smith said, "At Geneva College, we only
have one Lord, and he does not live in Washington, D.C."
The Alliance Defense Fund filed a similar lawsuit in Louisiana
on behalf of Louisiana College, and lawmakers in Missouri, Georgia,
New Hampshire, Idaho and Arizona have filed legislation that would
allow insurance companies to ignore the mandate.
Missouri state Senator Jolie Justus, a Kansas City Democrat,
said she believes it's wrong "to pit religious beliefs versus
Ex-judge in Mass. defends forced abortion ruling
BOSTON (AP) - Retired Massachusetts judge Christina Harms is
defending her decision to order a schizophrenic woman to have an
abortion and be sterilized against her will - a ruling that was
overturned by the state Appeals Court.
The 31-year-old woman had characterized herself as "very
Catholic" and said she was opposed to having an abortion. Her
parents had said their daughter was not a devout Catholic; they
sought and received consent from Harms' court for an abortion.
Harms defended her ruling in a letter she sent to other judges -
a letter first reported by The Boston Globe.
Harms also criticized Boston University for withdrawing a job
offer after her ruling was overturned.
The school says it never made a formal job offer to Harms, but
acknowledges that the controversy created by her ruling contributed
to the decision to take her out of the running for the job.
Romney says Obama has `fought against religion'
SHELBY, Mich. (AP) - Republican presidential candidate Mitt
Romney says President Barack Obama's administration has "fought
against religion" and has sought to substitute a "secular"
agenda for one grounded in faith.
Obama's campaign rejected that characterization, calling
Romney's comments "disgraceful."
Romney rarely ventures into social issues in his campaign
speeches but was asked about how he would protect religious liberty
during a town hall-style meeting one week before the Michigan
primary. He said, "Unfortunately, possibly because of the people
the president hangs around with, and their agenda, their secular
agenda - they have fought against religion."
Romney, who is Mormon, added that he "has understood very
personally the significance of religious tolerance."
He also declared his opposition to abortion and same-sex
marriage and said his presidency would reflect those positions.
Santorum celebrates nation's religious roots
PHOENIX (AP) - Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum
says the U.S. needs to return to its religious roots.
Campaigning in Phoenix Tuesday, he recalled President John
Adams' dictum that "Our Constitution was made for a moral and
religious people. It's wholly inadequate for the governance of any
The former Pennsylvania senator told his audience that the
Constitution doesn't give them rights, but is meant to protect the
rights they possess because they're "a creation of God."
Turning to the Declaration of Independence, Santorum noted that
the "unalienable rights" people receive from their Creator
include the pursuit of happiness. But he said happiness back then
was defined as doing what's "consistent with God's will in your
He also took aim at President Barack Obama's contraceptive
coverage mandate, charging that shifting the cost from religious
groups to their insurance companies "was a phony accommodation"
that was meant to "trample" religious beliefs.
Southern Baptist leaders OK `Great Commission'
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - The Southern Baptist Convention's
Executive Committee has approved giving the denomination an
additional name, although delegates at this summer's annual meeting
would have to approve the optional "Great Commission Baptists."
Some Southern Baptists worry that their denomination's official
name still carries the stigma of a 19th century split with northern
Baptists over slavery. But a more momentous change at this summer's
convention could have a greater impact.
African-American pastor Fred Luter Jr. of New Orleans was
elected last year to the Southern Baptists' No. 2 position, first
vice-president. Most in that post have gone on to become president.
If Luter is elected president, he would be the first black
leader of a denomination that has been predominately white for much
of its history, but is beginning to show more diversity.
Va Senate passes adoption discrimination bill
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Legislation allowing private adoption
agencies to discriminate against gay prospective parents is on its
way to Virginia's governor, who has said he will sign it.
The Senate voted 22-18 Tuesday to pass legislation allowing
private agencies to deny placements that conflict with their
religious or moral beliefs, including opposition to homosexuality.
The House had already passed the bill, which only needs Republican
Gov. Bob McDonnell's signature to take effect July 1.
North Dakota is the only other state with such a law.
Two Democrats joined all 20 Senate Republicans in voting for the
"conscience clause" legislation.
Proponents say the measure protects the religious rights of
agencies that contract with the state to provide child placement
services. Opponents say adoption agencies' moral or religious
beliefs should not take precedence over the best interests of the
ARTIST'S WORKSHOP CANCELED-VILLANOVA
Villanova cancels gay artist's workshop
VILLANOVA, Pa. (AP) - Villanova University has canceled a
workshop by a controversial gay performance artist, saying his
shows aren't in keeping with the school's Catholic values.
Tim Miller tells The Philadelphia Inquirer that he was told
about the cancellation of next month's planned workshop on Sunday.
Miller gained notoriety in 1990 when he and three others had
grants vetoed by the National Endowment for the Arts.
Miller's work is frequently provocative and he's been arrested
in the past for demonstrating for AIDS research funding.
In a statement, Villanova said it embraces intellectual freedom
and academic discourse but had concerns about how Miller's work
matches its "Catholic and Augustinian values and mission."
Miller said he had held a similar workshop at DePaul, the
nation's largest Catholic University.
Religious Carnival bands use samba for evangelism
RIO DE JANEIRO - Brazil's Carnival in Rio, like Mardi Gras in
New Orleans, is a celebration of pleasures before the deprivation
of Catholic Lent, which starts today with Ash Wednesday.
But in Rio de Janeiro, at least three Christian Carnival bands
used the festival for street evangelism.
A band that calls itself "Youth Dependent on God" offered the
usual samba rhythm and dance, but the lyric came as a surprise to
The band's revelers sang, "We are the people of the Lord, a
holy nation. We are here to proclaim the marvels of he who has
called us from the darkest depths to his glorious light, and to
glorify the name of Jesus."
Participants called the experience exhilarating, saying it
ushered them to the front lines of a spiritual battlefield. One
band member said, "I've seen people accept Jesus during Carnival
because they heard us and felt the call."
Monitoring of Muslim students sparks outrage
NEW YORK (AP) - New York's mayor is facing off with Yale
University over efforts by the NYPD to monitor Muslim student
The Associated Press revealed Saturday that New York police kept
close watch on the blogs and websites of Muslim student
associations across the northeast U.S., and in one case sent an
undercover officer on a rafting trip with students from the City
College of New York.
Yale President Richard Levin said in a statement Monday that the
monitoring of students based on religion was "antithetical" to
the university's values.
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg defended the practice. He says
there is nothing wrong with officers keeping an eye on websites
that are available to the general public.
He says, "I don't know why keeping the country safe is
antithetical to the values of Yale."
White House apologizes for Quran burning
WASHINGTON (AP) - The White House is apologizing for the burning
of Muslim holy books in a pile of garbage at a U.S. military base
Press secretary Jay Carney says it's a "deeply unfortunate
incident" and doesn't reflect the respect the U.S. military has
for the religious practices of the Afghan people.
Carney echoed military officials Tuesday in saying that the
Quran burning at Bagram Air Field happened unintentionally, and
that an investigation was being undertaken to understand why it did
and ensure it didn't happen again.
A Western military official said the Qurans were removed from a
library at a nearby detention center because they contained
extremist messages. Carney didn't address those specifics, but said
the administration was following the matter closely.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)