Christian conservative says evangelicals will likely move toward
WASHINGTON (AP) - A Christian conservative leader believes
evangelical voters will continue their shift toward GOP White House
hopeful Mitt Romney now that Rick Santorum has suspended his
Dr. Richard Land, director of the Ethics and Religious Liberty
Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, says he's saddened
by Santorum's decision, but thinks the former Pennsylvania senator
made the best decision for the future.
Land predicts evangelical voters will continue to move toward
Romney unless the former Massachusetts governor does something
"counterproductive." Land says Romney should continue to stress
key issues including marriage, support for Israel and opposition to
He says he believes Mormonism will become an issue because the
media, which he says favor Obama, "will bring it up."
Land says the president has the support of about one-third of
evangelicals but "has the unique ability to unite people around
Santorum appears at Lancaster Bible College
LANCASTER, Pa. (AP) - Rick Santorum hasn't revealed much about
his future, other than saying that he'd like to get some sleep.
Santorum spoke last night at an event at Pennsylvania's
Lancaster Bible College, hours after he'd announced he was
suspending his campaign for president. He made the announcement
earlier in Gettysburg, saying it had come after prayerful
The event was billed as a "conversation on faith, family and
American values" with James Dobson, the founder of the evangelical
Christian group Focus on the Family. Dobson now hosts the Family
Dobson said he's been a longtime supporter of Santorum because
of values. Dobson interviewed the former Pennsylvania senator about
his campaign and other memorable times in his public and personal
CHURCH ABUSE AUDIT
Abuse scandal continues to take toll on US church
NEW YORK (AP) - Roman Catholic dioceses and religious orders
received nearly 600 credible clergy sex abuse claims last year. All
but a few of the allegations involve wrongdoing from decades ago
that are only being reported now.
The findings are part of an annual child safety report
commissioned by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Auditors
check compliance with the discipline plan bishops adopted in 2002
at the height of the abuse scandal.
Church officials say they paid more than $144 million in
settlements and related costs last year, a slight drop from 2010.
Another $33 million was spent on background checks and other child
Auditors say improvements are needed in how dioceses monitor
accused priests. The auditors also warn about complacency after a
decade of intense scandal. Victims' advocate David Clohessy of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, says
the report is not a true audit. Clohessy says it's "a glorified
self-survey, frankly, by the same men who have caused and continue
to cause the abuse and cover-up crisis."
Appeals court to consider $66M Tony Alamo judgment
TEXARKANA, Ark. (AP) - A federal appeals court has agreed to
consider a $66 million civil judgment that a jury awarded to two
men who say they were abused as children growing up in evangelist
Tony Alamo's ministry.
The Texarkana Gazette reports that the oral arguments will
likely be heard this summer by a federal appeals court in St.
Louis. Alamo is appealing the $66 million in damages that a jury
awarded to the plaintiffs (Spencer Ondrisek and Seth Calagna). The
two were raised in the Alamo's ministry and a jury agreed that
they'd suffered physical abuse and were deprived of an education.
Alamo is currently serving a 175-year federal prison sentence.
He was convicted in July 2009 of bringing young girls across state
lines for sex.
PRIEST ABUSE TRIAL
Convicted US priest remained clergyman for years
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Jurors in a landmark church sex-abuse trial
in Philadelphia have been presented with documents outlining the
troubled clerical career of a priest who was convicted of child
pornography charges yet remained in ministry for years despite
similar and repeated complaints.
Prosecutors presented years of correspondence from mental health
facilities, therapists and church officials regarding Edward
DePaoli when he was a priest. The documents, kept in the
archdiocese's secret archives, outlined how DePaoli was convicted
in federal court of child pornography charges in 1986. Despite the
conviction, he went through psychological treatment, rounds of
therapy, and a half dozen church assignments for two decades before
he was removed from the priesthood in 2005.
DePaoli is not a defendant in the trial, but prosecutors are
trying to make their case against Monsignor William Lynn, who was
the Archdiocese of Philadelphia's secretary of clergy from 1992 to
2004 and entrusted with investigating complaints against priests.
Lynn is the first Roman Catholic official in the U.S. charged with
endangering children for allegedly transferring priests suspected
CHRISTIAN SCHOOL FIRING
Court hears case of fired Fla. teacher
ATLANTA (AP) - A federal appeals court in Atlanta has heard
testimony in the trial of a lawsuit filed by a fourth-grade teacher
fired by the principal of a Florida Christian school after she
disclosed that she was pregnant before she got married.
A lawyer argued that Jaretta Hamilton is the victim of
discrimination, and that the principal at Southland Christian
School in St. Cloud fired her because she was pregnant and her
maternity leave was going to be inconvenient for the school.
A lawyer for the school told a three-judge panel that the school
has a right to fire someone who violates its moral code. The
attorney also raised a recent Supreme Court decision that
acknowledged the existence of an exception to anti-discrimination
laws for churches.
Hamilton was teaching at the nondenominational school in 2009,
when she married. About two months later, she and her husband met
with the principal to request maternity leave. During the meeting,
Hamilton said the baby was conceived before the two were married.
Hamilton was fired a short time later.
Court: Ban on abortion protest unconstitutional
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - The Wyoming Supreme Court has ruled that a
state court order that barred abortion protesters from appearing at
a town square in the city of Jackson last year violated the
protesters' constitutional rights.
In a lengthy 3-2 decision, the state Supreme Court ruled the
temporary restraining order violated the First Amendment rights of
protesters with the group Operation Save America. Dozens of
Operation Save America members descended on Jackson last May with
graphic signs of aborted fetuses that they showed around town.
City officials objected, saying the signs were inappropriate
because the material would have been seen by hundreds of Boy Scouts
attending a local event called Elkfest.
CHURCH CROSS BEATING
Trial begins in Arkansas cross-beating death
WYNNE, Ark. (AP) - The trial for the man charged with beating an
80-year-old woman to death with a brass cross inside a northeast
Arkansas church has opened with both prosecutors and defense
attorneys telling the jury that there's no doubt the defendant is
Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for Rene Bourassa Jr.
The defense told the jury that the real question is why the killing
Bourassa is charged with capital murder in the 2010 death of
Lillian Wilson, who was found beaten inside a church in Hamlin.
TRAYVON MARTIN-FIRING RALLY
Clergy, activists hold rally at Detroit church over Trayvon
Martin killing, teacher's firing
DETROIT (AP) - Dozens gathered at a Detroit church last night to
rally against the killing of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin and
the firing of a Michigan teacher whose students wanted to organize
a fundraiser for Martin's family.
Martin was unarmed and wearing a hoodie when he was shot to
death Feb. 26 by a neighborhood watch volunteer in Sanford, Fla.
Brooke Harris says she's confused by her March dismissal from
Pontiac Academy for Excellence Middle School. The English teacher
says she was supporting some students who planned a
wear-a-hoodie-to-school day in Martin's memory.
Clergy, community activists and others gathered at King Solomon
Missionary Baptist to voice their displeasure over the
17-year-old's death as well as Harris' dismissal. Several in
attendance vowed to work toward Harris' reinstatement.
RELIGIOUS SCHOOL SHOOTING
Christian college holds memorial for 7 killed in last week's
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) - About 100 people wept and consoled each
other yesterday while gathering in a steady downpour to mourn the
seven people killed last week at a tiny Christian college in
Oakland, Calif., where a gunman opened fire in classrooms.
Officials from Oikos University and local leaders offered
condolences on the school steps decorated with flowers. Photos of
the six students and school secretary who were slain lined the
entrance, and sympathy cards were tacked to the boarded-up main
The school's founder and president told mourners that people
connected to the school have been encouraged by an outpouring of
support from around the world since the April 2 incident.
The school focuses on serving Korean immigrants but is attended
by students from around the world. Victims of the shooting came
from a number of countries, including Korea, Nepal, Nigeria and the
A former student has been charged with seven counts of murder
and three counts of attempted murder.
MORMON CHURCH-PIPE BOMB
Investigators looking into pipe bomb left at Mormon church in
HARRISON, Ark. (AP) - An investigation is under way in
northeastern Ark., into an apparent pipe bomb that was found after
Easter services in the parking lot of a Mormon church near
A sheriff says a caller reporting finding the device at the
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It's said to have
contained a flammable powder.
The FBI is helping with the investigation.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)