Religious leaders urge Congress not to cut aid to poor
WASHINGTON (AP) - About a dozen religious leaders at a prayer
rally on Capitol Hill have urged Congress not to cut programs that
help the poor.
The clerics quoted scriptures in support of what they called a
"compassionate federal budget."
Sister Simone Campbell said it would be a sin for lawmakers to
reduce aid to the needy, but acknowledged that it might take a
miracle to resolve the current debt impasse.
The Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World, said
the nation's children should be protected both from poverty and
from "a legacy of rising debt."
Other religious leaders have warned that deficit spending
amounts to theft from future generations.
Mark Tooley, president of the Institute on Religion and
Democracy, says Christian compassion isn't necessarily measured by
the "size and scope of the federal welfare state."
Dan Peek, founding member of band America, dies
ST. LOUIS (AP) - Dan Peek, a founding member of the popular
1970s band America who had a subsequent career in Contemporary
Christian music, has died at the age of 60.
Peek's wife, Catherine, found him dead Sunday in bed at his home
in Farmington, Mo., according to his father. The cause of death was
not known, and an autopsy was planned.
In a 2006 CBN interview, Peek said he had a Christian upbringing
but turned his back on it and abused drugs after the band achieved
success with songs like "A Horse With No Name" and "Ventura
Peek told CBN that he became miserable, turned to God in prayer
and quit the band in 1977.
His first solo album in 1979, "All Things Are Possible,"
reached No. 1 on the Contemporary Christian Music chart and was
nominated for a Grammy Award.
Peek and his wife had no children. His funeral will be Monday at
Farmington's Presbyterian Church.
Underground church pastor sent to China labor camp
BEIJING (AP) - The China Aid Association says an underground
Protestant leader has been sentenced to two years in a labor camp
as China cracks down on unapproved churches.
The U.S.-based monitoring group says Pastor Shi Enhao was
sentenced over the weekend for organizing illegal religious
gatherings. He had been detained June 21.
Labor camp sentences are handed out without trial and can be
extended beyond the usual two-year term.
China Aid says the 55-year-old Shi's church also was ordered to
cease meeting, and its car, cash donations, musical instruments and
even choir robes were seized by police.
The expansion and growing influence of unofficial churches has
unsettled China's rulers, who are always suspicious of any
independent social group that could challenge Communist authority.
Shooter in Ark. soldier killing sentenced to life
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - A Muslim convert charged with shooting
two U.S. soldiers outside a recruiting station in Arkansas has been
spared the death penalty after his victims' families prayed
together and then agreed to a plea deal.
A judge on Monday sentenced Abdulhakim Muhammad to life in
prison without parole for killing Army Pvt. William Andrew Long.
Six relatives and the soldier Muhammad wounded agreed to accept
the plea deal rather than face the prospect of lengthy appeals and
the possibility that Muhammad could go free if the trial continued.
Muhammad has said the shooting was justified because American
troops were killing his fellow Muslims in the Middle East.
LDS CHURCH FIRES
Man gets probation in Mormon arson cases
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - A Utah man is getting probation after
police say he crawled through the windows of two South Salt Lake
Mormon church buildings last fall and set fire to furnishings.
Judge Judith Atherton ordered 27-year-old Patrick Adam Ehat to
spend three years on probation, complete mental health counseling
and pay restitution. Ehat pleaded guilty to arson charges last
Authorities say Ehat spread a liquid fuel on the sacrament
table, podium, organ and piano in one building, and ignited a couch
in the other.
Ehat reportedly told police he felt the Mormon church lied to
The Deseret News reports that Ehat's childhood friends say he
served on a church mission in Brazil.
S. Ill. Catholics want to join foster care suit
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Catholic Social Services of Southern
Illinois is asking to join a lawsuit against the state over foster
placements to gay couples.
The organization is affiliated with the Belleville diocese.
The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services ended
its foster-care and adoption services with Catholic Charities July
1 because the group won't send kids to live with gay couples.
Catholic Charities sued on behalf of dioceses in Springfield,
Peoria and Joliet. The lawsuit says the state's civil unions law
does not require it to place children with unmarried couples.
Sangamon County Judge John Schmidt has ruled that the
foster-care contracts must stay in place until an August hearing.
VATICAN ENVOY ILL
Vatican envoy to US hospitalized in Baltimore
BALTIMORE (AP) - Catholic church officials say the Vatican's
envoy to the United States has been readmitted to Johns Hopkins
Hospital with complications after recent lung surgery.
The U.S. Conference of Bishops and Apostolic Nunciature said the
Rev. Pietro Sambi has been placed on assisted ventilation after
suffering complications from "delicate" lung surgery early this
Sister Mary Ann Walsh said Sambi was readmitted to the Baltimore
hospital, but declined to comment on his condition.
Sambi, one of Pope Benedict's first major appointees, has served
as the papal representative to the U.S. since 2006.
Judge closes club that claimed to be religious
DALLAS (AP) - A judge has closed a Dallas establishment run by a
man who calls it a religious mission, but has allegedly been found
by Dallas police to be a sex club.
In a statement issued Tuesday, the Dallas city attorney's office
said it had obtained a temporary restraining order against Glenn
Hudson to close his establishment, The Playground.
In its court petition, the city said Dallas police vice officers
had determined in an undercover operation that the business was a
"swingers' club" operating in a space that had a certificate of
occupancy for a church, mosque or synagogue.
The Associated Press could find no working telephone number for
Hudson. However, the city statement says Hudson called his business
a religious "outreach mission."
A court hearing is scheduled for Aug. 3.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)