GOP Debate and Religion; MLK Memorial, Actress Calls Pope a "Nazi"


Romney says religion shouldn't be a factor

LAS VEGAS (AP) - Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney says

voters should not elect a president based on the candidates'

religious beliefs or the place where they worship.

Romney was responding Tuesday to recent comments made by Robert

Jeffress, a Dallas minister and supporter of Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

Jeffress called Mormonism a cult. Romney is Mormon.

At CNN's debate in Las Vegas, Romney said he was troubled that

the minister would imply that people should choose a president

based on the candidate's religion. He says it runs counter to the

country's principles.

Perry reiterated that he did not agree with Jeffress's remarks.

Jeffress introduced Perry at a recent speech and asserted that

Romney isn't a Christian and Mormonism is a cult.

Asked about the comments, Romney said he's heard worse.





Niece says God is missing from new MLK memorial

FARGO, N.D. (AP) - The Rev. Martin Luther King Junior's niece

says most Americans don't know that the slain civil rights leader

was a minister and pastor, and the new memorial in his honor does

nothing to correct that.

The Rev. Alveda King says she appreciates the new King Memorial

in the nation's capital and Sunday's dedication ceremony, but she

was surprised to see no mention of God or Jesus Christ among the

engraved quotes.

King says if she had been asked, she would have recommended

scriptural passages from her uncle's many sermons.

Nevertheless, she's hopeful that visitors to the memorial who

seek to learn more about the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., will

also learn about the God he served.




Catholics, Jews condemn Sarandon's pope Nazi quip

UNDATED (AP) - Catholic and Jewish groups are condemning actress

Susan Sarandon for referring to Pope Benedict as a Nazi.

The head of the Catholic League says her comment was "obscene"

and the Anti-Defamation League released a statement calling on the

actress to apologize to the Catholic community for the "deeply

offensive" remark.

Sarandon, who won an Academy Award for her role in the 1995

anti-death penalty film, "Dead Man Walking," made the comment

during an interview Saturday at the Hamptons Film Festival on Long


As first reported by Newsday, Sarandon said she gave a copy of

the book on which the film is based to the German-born pope,

referring to him as a Nazi.



No joint prayer at pope's interreligious meeting

VATICAN CITY (AP) - Pope Benedict has invited Hindus, Jews,

Taoists and Muslims to join him next week for a peace pilgrimage to

the hilltop town of Assisi - but they won't pray together.

The Oct. 27 event marks the 25th anniversary of the first such

interreligious prayer for peace, which was promoted by Pope John

Paul II and held in the town known for its native son St. Francis.

Benedict, then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, didn't attend that

first 1986 meeting and later criticized it as an example of

religious relativism - the idea that there are no absolute truths

and that all religions are equal - since people of different faiths

were seen praying together, jointly.

Top Vatican cardinals have emphasized that the 2011 Assisi

gathering is merely a pilgrimage of people of different faiths, and

that it in no way will involve any religious syncretism, or

combining of different beliefs and practices.



Ancient stone to be part of scroll exhibit in NYC

NEW YORK (AP) - A three-ton stone from Jerusalem's Western Wall

will be part of an upcoming exhibition on the Dead Sea Scrolls in

New York City.

The stone was installed Tuesday at Discovery Times Square. It

will be part of "Dead Sea Scrolls: Life and Faith in Biblical

Times," which opens Oct. 28. The exhibit is created by the Israel

Antiquities Authority from the collections of the Israel National


Visitors will be able to leave prayer notes inside the stone.

The notes will be sent to the Western Wall in Jerusalem.

It's believed that the stone was part of a retaining wall that

enclosed a temple destroyed by the Romans 2,000 years ago.

The scrolls shed light on the development of the Hebrew Bible

and the origins of Christianity.



Churches accuse South Africa's ANC of interfering

JOHANNESBURG (AP) - Leaders of churches representing tens of

millions of South Africans are accusing the governing African

National Congress of trying to co-opt and manipulate them.

The statement from leaders of the Catholic, Anglican,

Protestant, Presbyterian, Evangelical, Salvation Army, Baptist and

traditional African churches accuses the ANC's top religious

affairs official of sending subordinates to "infiltrate" their

closed meeting.

The ANC official responded that his subordinate's intrusion on

the church meeting was an accidental and "innocent mistake."

But Roman Catholic Cardinal Wildrid Napier told The Associated

Press that at least three officers slipped into the meeting and

were rifling through papers before they were discovered.



Chile could try ex-priest sanctioned by Vatican

SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) - Three men who allege they were abused by

a prominent Roman Catholic priest want Chile to prosecute him for

sex abuse and not settle for the Vatican's sanction.

Retired priest Fernando Karadima was ordered by the Vatican to

live in seclusion, prayer and repentance for his alleged crimes.

An attorney for the alleged victims - a doctor, philosopher and

a journalist - asked Judge Jessica Gonzalez on Tuesday to formally

charge Karadima. The former priest's lawyer, meanwhile, argues that

so much time has passed that his 80-year-old client should be


The judge's decision could come later this week.

Karadima lives in a convent in Chile's capital. Accusations

against him began in 2003, but only came to light after the victims

agreed to appear on television.



Group says Tibetan sets herself on fire in protest

BEIJING (AP) - A Tibetan nun calling for greater religious

freedom has died after setting herself on fire in western China,

according to the advocacy group Free Tibet.

The London-based group says the 20-year-old nun chanted slogans

as she set herself ablaze calling for greater religious freedom and

the return of Tibet's exiled Buddhist leader, the Dalai Lama.

A total of nine monks and former monks and one nun have set

themselves on fire since March in what are seen as desperate acts

to draw attention to China's repression of Tibetan Buddhism.

Most ignited the flames while calling for Tibetan freedom and

the return of the Dalai Lama, who fled to India amid an abortive

uprising against Chinese rule in 1959. At least five died of their

injuries, while the condition of the other four is not known.

U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner urged China to

"respect the rights of Tibetans" and their cultural and religious






Philippine police seek witnesses in priest killing

MANILA, Philippines (AP) - A Philippine police official says a

special unit has been created to investigate the killing of an

Italian missionary priest in the country's south. Investigators are

seeking possible eyewitnesses.

The leader of the investigative group says it will ask Catholic

officials for permission to conduct an autopsy on Rev. Fausto

Tentorio's remains in hopes of recovering bullet fragments to

identify the firearm used and its owner.

A man shot Tentorio early Monday within the church compound and

fled on a motorcycle driven by an accomplice.

Police say the 59-year-old Roman Catholic priest spoke the local

dialect fluently and had good ties with the people there.



15 killed in clash among Filipino soldiers, rebels

MANILA, Philippines (AP) - Philippine troops are battling Muslim

guerrillas in fierce fighting that has killed at least 15


A regional military spokesman says the fighting Tuesday on

Basilan island left at least 12 soldiers dead and 10 missing.

The Moro Islamic Liberation Front says at least three rebels

were killed in the clash. The rebel group accused troops of

attacking its stronghold in violation of a cease-fire.





(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


AP-NY-10-19-11 0333EDT


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