EAST COAST QUAKE-NATIONAL CATHEDRAL
Stones fall from Washington National Cathedral in quake
WASHINGTON (AP) - Washington National Cathedral is closed to
visitors after the East Coast earthquake damaged three of the four
pinnacles atop the main tower and left cracks in the church's
The pinnacles are the spires on the cathedral's towers and are
the highest point in the city. The tops of the pinnacles fell off,
littering the church grounds with stones and rubble, but no one was
Cracks also appeared in flying buttresses in the oldest part of
the Washington landmark. But a statement issued by the cathedral
said buttresses supporting the main tower appeared to be sound.
The statement said there are cracks on upper floors inside the
church, but no damage to stained glass windows was reported.
The cathedral has historically been the site of funerals and
memorials for presidents and statesmen.
Ky. school district stops football game prayer
PINEVILLE, Ky. (AP) - A public school district in southeastern
Kentucky has stopped preceding its high school football games with
a public prayer.
There was no prayer uttered at the home opener for Bell County
High School on Friday night after the school system received a
complaint from the Freedom From Religion Foundation this month.
Foundation co-president Annie Laurie Gaylor said her group
complained on behalf of a local family.
Schools Superintendent George Thompson said the practice of
having a local pastor offer prayer over loudspeakers was halted
because previous court rulings suggested the county would lose a
court battle, according to WYMT-TV in Hazard.
Court rulings have held that school-sponsored prayer violates
the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the U.S.
Vt. inn denies discriminating against NY lesbians
MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) - The Catholic owners of a Vermont inn that
refused to host a same-sex wedding reception say they have no
policy to discriminate against gay couples.
In a court filing Tuesday, a lawyer for Wildflower Inn owners
Jim and Mary O'Reilly say they were never told about the lesbian
couple's request to hold their wedding reception and that the inn's
meeting and events director wasn't authorized to reject requests
from same-sex couples.
When the New York couple filed suit last month, the O'Reillys
said they don't deny "rooms or dining or employment to gays or
lesbians," but added they could not host an event celebrating a
same-sex marriage because it's against their Catholic faith.
They now say applying Vermont's Fair Housing and Public
Accommodations Act would violate their right to free speech and
freedom of association by forcing them to hold "expressive
Vera Farmiga makes her directing debut with `Higher Ground'
WASHINGTON (AP) - Actress and first-time director Vera Farmiga
says she's "a thoughtful seeker and a searcher"
with a strong belief in God and prayer.
Her soon-to-be-released film "Higher Ground" is the story of a
Christian woman from her salvation as a girl to marriage and
pregnancy as a teenager to her adult faith and doubts in a
Without being either preachy or mocking, the film depicts
episodes like her outdoor baptism and her struggle to speak in
tongues. It's as if she's constantly trying to talk herself into
believing, even though she outwardly appears so fervent.
Farmiga was nominated for an Oscar for her role as George
Clooney's love interest in "Up In The Air."
"Higher Ground" is rated R for some language and sexual
Calif. bill seeks statewide rules on circumcision
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - California lawmakers are considering a
measure that would block local jurisdictions from banning male
The issue drew national attention when thousands of signatures
were collected to put a measure on the November ballot in San
Francisco to outlaw the circumcision of most male children.
Jewish and Muslim San Francisco residents, doctors who perform
circumcisions, the Anti-Defamation League and a local chapter of
the Jewish Community Relations Council sued in June to block the
ballot measure. San Francisco Superior Court Judge Loretta Giorgi
on July 28 ordered it struck from the ballot, ruling that
California law allows only the state, not cities, to regulate
Giorgi also said it violated religious rights guaranteed in the
Supporters of the legislation say it's needed because Giorgi's
ruling could be overturned on appeal.
Indonesian mayor seeks to ban church construction
JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) - A mayor in Indonesia is trying to ban
Christian churches on streets with Islamic names in an effort to
block construction of a new parish.
The Taman Yasmin Indonesian Christian Church was supposed to
open in the city of Bogor in 2008, but residents protested,
claiming its permit was illegal.
A church spokesman says the Taman Yasmin worshippers have been
holding weekly services in front of their sealed off building for
nearly three years.
Indonesia's Supreme Court ruled in favor of the church in
December, but Mayor Diani Budiarto refused to comply. Instead, he
wants to make it illegal to open churches on streets with Islamic
Christians in Indonesia say it can take years to get permits to
build new churches.
Ultraconservatives summoned to Vatican meeting
VATICAN CITY (AP) - Top officials of a Switzerland-based
ultraconservative Catholic group have been summoned to the Vatican.
The Society of St. Pius X has angered the Vatican with actions
ranging from ordinations considered illegitimate to a Society
bishop's denial of the magnitude of the Holocaust.
Vatican officials said Tuesday that a meeting was set for Sept.
The late Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre founded the
society in 1969 to protest Vatican reforms, including letting Mass
be celebrated in local languages instead of Latin.
Lefebvre and four other bishops, including the prelate who later
minimized the Holocaust, were excommunicated in 1988. Pope Benedict
XVI lifted the excommunications in 2009 as he tried to bring the
society back into the fold.
Salvadoran accused in Jesuit deaths held in Boston
BOSTON (AP) - A former Salvadoran military official accused of
playing a role in the 1989 massacre of six Jesuit priests has been
arrested in Massachusetts.
A spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney's office in Boston says
Inocente Orlando Montano appeared in U.S. District Court for a bail
hearing Tuesday. She says Montano will be held overnight while
arrangements are made for electronic monitoring. She said he would
likely be released Wednesday.
Montano's attorney says he had been living under his own name in
Massachusetts for about 10 years.
Montano faces a charge in the U.S. of making false statements on
an immigration document.
Nine ex-soldiers and officials recently turned themselves over
to an El Salvador court after being indicted in connection with the
priests' killings. Montano has been indicted but denied
Electrolux Muslim workers file EEOC complaint
ST. CLOUD, Minn. (AP) - For the second straight year, the
Electrolux plant in St. Cloud, Minn., is the target of complaints
the freezer maker is not accommodating Muslim employees during the
About a dozen employees have filed the latest claim with the
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Electrolux changed its break schedule for all employees this
year after a Muslim employee filed an EEOC complaint in 2010
alleging Electrolux threatened Muslim workers with termination if
they broke their fast on the production floor.
But Taneeza Islam, civil rights director for the Minnesota
chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, says workers
still don't have enough time to break their fast and complete their
Electrolux spokesman Tony Evans told the St. Cloud Times that
the company is confident that the current schedule "reasonably and
effectively accommodates the needs of its employees."
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)