Iowa Cacuses and Conservative Christians


Group seeks massive turnout of conservative Christians at Iowa


WEST DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The president of the Iowa Faith &

Freedom Coalition says its goal is "the mass mobilization of

conservative Christians who will turn out at the caucuses."

In an online video explaining how the caucuses work, Steve

Scheffler says they enable conservative Christians to "have more

political influence in Iowa than in any other state."

But he urges them to bring like-minded friends with them so

their impact is maximized at the outset of the Republican

presidential nominating process.

Neither Scheffler nor his coalition have made an endorsement,

saying there are several good candidates to choose from.





Bachmann: Churchgoers can help her win in Iowa

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Republican presidential candidate

Michele Bachmann believes pastors and their congregations can help

her win the Iowa caucuses.

The Minnesota congresswoman says she's been endorsed by more

than 200 pastors, and has been speaking in churches across Iowa.

Bachmann predicts that will produce "congregations turning

out" to support her at the caucuses.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former Pennsylvania senator Rick

Santorum also are appealing to Christians, but Bachmann says she

has "probably the strongest level of support in the evangelical






Gingrich: Jews have biblical claim to Jerusalem

WALFORD, Iowa (AP) - Republican presidential candidate Newt

Gingrich says the Jewish people have a biblical claim to Jerusalem.

At a campaign stop on the eve of the Iowa caucuses, Gingrich

said anyone who reads the Bible knows that "Jerusalem is by

definition the city of David."

The former House speaker said it's that history, and the Jewish

people's survival over the past 2,000 years, that made it

appropriate to restore Israel as a modern Jewish state. Gingrich

said there were few people then in what would become Israel, and

they called themselves Arabs rather than Palestinians.

He also said recent Palestinian rocket attacks on Israel show

that the Mideast peace process is "phony."





Mom reunites with biological child 77 years later

SAN CLEMENTE, Calif. (AP) - One-hundred-year-old Minka Disbrow

says her reunion with the daughter she bore after being raped as a

teenager was an answer to prayer.

Disbrow had let a pastor adopt the baby, and she didn't see her

daughter for the next 77 years.

She recalls praying in 2006, "Lord, if you would just let me

see her, I promise you I will never bother her."

A short time later, her daughter's son located Disbrow in

California and phoned from Alabama.

The 77-year-old daughter's name was now Ruth Lee. After being

raised by the pastor and his wife, she had gone on to marry and

have six children including astronaut Mark Lee, a veteran of four

space flights who has orbited the Earth 517 times.

Mother and daughter have had several reunions in the last few

years, allowing Disbrow to connect with a family she didn't know

she had.



Islamic group condemns NYC fire attacks

NEW YORK (AP) - The Council on American-Islamic Relations is

condemning the firebombing of an Islamic center in New York City.

The group says about 80 worshippers were inside the Imam

Al-Khoei (al-HOH'-ee) Foundation Sunday night when a molotov

cocktail was thrown at the building, damaging a door.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo also condemned the attack on the Queens mosque

and three nearby sites, including a house used for Hindu worship

services. Authorities are investigating the attacks as bias crimes.

There were no injuries.

Police say three of the attacks involved molotov cocktails made

from bottles.

The two bottles thrown at a house used for Hindu worship didn't






Sainthood next year for 2 from NY's Mohawk Valley

FONDA, N.Y. (AP) - By next year, a hardscrabble stretch of New

York's Mohawk Valley will likely be able to boast of being the home

of two new Roman Catholic saints.

The Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha (kuh-TAIR'-ee teh-kuhk-WIH'-thuh),

a Mohawk Indian, spent most of her life there during the 17th


About 200 years later and 40 miles to the west, the Blessed

Mother Marianne Cope began a religious life that focused on

providing medical care in central New York and the Hawaiian


On Dec. 20, Pope Benedict certified miracles attributed to the

two women, the final step toward sainthood. The women's

canonization is expected this year.



Jewish friend of late Pope John Paul II dies

ROME (AP) - Jerzy Kluger, a Polish-born Jew who was a lifetime

friend and childhood playmate of the late Pope John Paul II, has

died in a clinic near Rome.

Kluger's wife, Irene, says her 90-year-old husband died Saturday

after suffering from Alzheimer's disease and was buried Monday. The

couple lived in Rome for decades.

Kluger's widow says the pope persuaded her husband to return on

occasion to visit the Polish town where they both grew up.

Kluger was one of John Paul's last childhood friends still

alive. His widow says Kluger's entire family, except for his

father, perished in concentration camps in Poland.



Cuba Santeria priests reject doomsday prediction

HAVANA (AP) - Afro-Cuban priests are predicting a year of

upheaval in 2012, but they say fears the world may end are wrong.

The Santeria priests say in an annual message released Monday to

look out for major problems such as earthquakes and global warming,

as well as the possibility of matrimonial discord at home.

That's a lot better than the fire-and-brimstone prophecies that

some have attributed to the Mayans, whose calendar cycle ends on

Dec. 21, 2012. A stone tablet discovered in the 1960s describes the

return of a Mayan god on that date, similar to the story of

Judgment Day.

The Santeria priests say that they see a spiritual end to old

things, but not a physical end to the planet.



Indian police arrest 2 men for sacrificing child

NEW DELHI (AP) - Police in central India say they have arrested

two men for allegedly killing a 7-year-old girl and cutting out her

liver in a ritual sacrifice to ensure a better harvest.

A senior police officer says Lalita Tati disappeared in October

and her dismembered remains were found a week later.

He says the men were arrested last week and told police they

killed the girl to appease their gods and get a better harvest.

The men are both "tribals," which in India refers to the

region's indigenous people. Most tribals are mired in poverty and




France: Only 6 veiled women fined since April

PARIS (AP) - France's interior minister says that since a ban on

face-covering Islamic veils took effect in April only six women

have been convicted and fined.

Claude Gueant said in an interview with the daily Le Monde

published Monday that no woman has been sent to a citizenship class

- another potential punishment.

Controversy surrounded the law. Muslim leaders, most of them

opposed to burqa-style veils, say it stigmatizes all followers of


Gueant says police cited a total of 237 women but only six were

convicted. He expressed surprise that nearly a quarter of the women

police questioned had converted to Islam.

Backers say the law is aimed at ensuring France's secular values

and gender equality and nipping radical Islam in the bud.



Saudis to allow only women to sell lingerie

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) - Saudi Arabia says starting Thursday,

only females can work in women's lingerie stores.

The 2006 law banning men from working in female apparel and

cosmetic stores has never been put into effect, partly due to

hard-liners in the religious establishment who oppose women working

in places where men and women congregate together, like malls.

The Labor Ministry says that over 28,000 women have already

applied for the sales jobs.

Saudi Arabia's most senior cleric spoke out against the decision

in a recent sermon, saying it contradicts Islamic law.

He argued that wrongdoing may occur when a woman stands face to

face with a man and sells without embarrassment.




(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


AP-NY-01-03-12 0332EST


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