BIRTH CONTROL-NOTRE DAME
Notre Dame, dioceses sue over Obama mandate
NEW YORK (AP) - Dozens of Roman Catholic dioceses, schools and
other institutions are suing the Obama administration over a
mandate that most employers provide coverage for contraceptives,
abortion-inducing drugs and sterilizations.
Pittsburgh Bishop David Zubik says President Barack Obama's
mandate violates the constitutional right to freedom of religion.
The original exemption for religious groups allowed houses of
worship to opt-out, but kept the mandate in place for religious
schools and charities.
Obama offered to shift the cost of the requirement from those
institutions to their insurers, but the bishops say that would
still force them to provide coverage that violates their beliefs.
Among those suing are the Archdioceses of New York, Washington
and Pittsburgh and the University of Notre Dame, where President
Obama pledged to respect religious freedom in a 2009 commencement
NAACP chief: Marriage equality is a civil right
BALTIMORE (AP) - Leaders of the NAACP don't expect their new
resolution supporting gay marriage to alienate black churches.
A Pew poll last month found that only 39 percent of blacks favor
gay marriage, with much of the opposition coming from churches.
But NAACP President Benjamin Jealous says a variety of clergy
have assured him that differences over gay marriage won't divide
the black community, and he says some who say otherwise are just
trying to "make a name for themselves by stirring up
Jealous insists gay marriage is "one of the key civil rights
issues of our day." So he says the NAACP will oppose all efforts
to define marriage as only the union of a man and a woman.
Watchdog group goes after anti-Obama pastor in Ky.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - An outside group says an eastern Kentucky
pastor violated federal law when he urged his congregation to vote
President Barack Obama out of office in November.
Pastor Ronnie Spriggs of Hager Hill Freewill Baptist Church said
during a May 13 sermon that he wants Obama voted out because of his
support for gay marriage.
Americans United for Separation of Church and State say Spriggs'
comments violate federal law for tax-exempt churches. The group
gets many complaints about this kind of advocacy and expects more
as the presidential election heats up.
Executive Director Barry Lynn says Spriggs "clearly doesn't
care what the law says."
A video of the sermon was streamed on the Johnson County
Indy woman charged with murder in pastor's death
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - An Indianapolis woman has been charged with
murder in the shooting of a young pastor at his church.
The Indianapolis Star reports that court documents containing
the murder charge against 46-year-old Lori Ann Barcroft did not
provide any information on a possible motive.
She is accused of killing 29-year-old Jaman Iseminger, the
pastor at Bethel Community Church in Southport, about 10 miles
south of Indianapolis. Iseminger was fatally shot Saturday morning.
Southport Police Chief Randy Ellison said Saturday that Barcroft
confessed to the murder. Her confession was not included in the
court documents Monday. She is scheduled to be in court Tuesday.
Egypt court gives 12 Christians life sentences
CAIRO (AP) - An Egyptian court has sentenced 12 Christians to
life in prison and acquitted eight Muslims in a case that is likely
to stoke religious tensions in the country's south.
The Christians were found guilty of sowing public strife and
shooting dead two Muslims in April of last year in Minya province
after a scuffle with Muslim protesters.
The eight Muslims on trial in the same case had been charged
with possession of illegal weapons and burning down dozens of
Christian-owned homes and stores after the shooting.
Egyptian rights researcher Ishak Ibrahim called the verdict
"faulty and unfair."
The State Security Court, whose rulings cannot be appealed,
handed down its sentence on Monday. The ruling military council is
the only entity with the power to request a retrial.
NYPD INTELLIGENCE-NJ MUSLIMS
NJ Muslims, officials to discuss NYPD surveillance
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) - New Jersey Muslim leaders who attended a
March meeting with the state's attorney general say they've been
invited back to Trenton this week for a follow-up discussion.
It will focus on the state's response to revelations that the
New York Police Department conducted secret surveillance of Muslims
in New Jersey. NYPD officials have defended the surveillance in
Newark as lawful.
Muslim leaders and others critical of the NYPD's activities hope
New Jersey's attorney general will announce a formal investigation
at Thursday's meeting, although several privately expressed doubt
that would be the result.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Newark Mayor Cory Booker
spoke out against the program at the time.
Ultra-Orthodox hold large NYC meeting on Net risks
NEW YORK (AP) - Tens of thousands of ultra-Orthodox Jewish men
have attended a rally at the New York Mets' stadium on the dangers
of the Internet and how to use modern technology in a religiously
Women were not permitted to attend Sunday's meeting at Citi
Field. However, it was broadcast live to audiences of women in
schools and event halls in ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods. The event
garnered so much interest that organizers rented the nearby Arthur
Ashe Stadium for the overflow crowd.
A spokesman for the event's organizers says they're concerned
about Internet pornography. He says they also worry that the lure
of social media can limit human interaction, reading and study.
A group calling for more support for child sexual abuse victims
inside the close-knit community held a counter-protest outside the
Israeli PM urges `just' replacement of draft law
JERUSALEM (AP) - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has
urged lawmakers to find a "just" replacement for a draft law that
exempted tens of thousands of ultra-Orthodox Jews from compulsory
The Israeli leader has appeared before a parliamentary committee
that is trying to craft a compromise law palatable to both secular
and religious political parties.
Secular Jews have said the current arrangement places an unfair
burden on them. The ultra-Orthodox, who skip army service to engage
in full-time religious study, say they are serving the state by
Netanyahu told the panel's first meeting on Monday that a more
equitable sharing of the country's defense burden must be
implemented gradually, and without pitting any one sector against
Georgia, Azerbaijan restore full monastery access
GARDABANI, Georgia (AP) - Pilgrims to one of former Soviet
Georgia's most renowned monasteries, part of which lies in
Azerbaijan, are again able to visit the entire complex after an
agreement between the countries' border police.
Early this month, Azerbaijan began blocking pilgrims from
visiting the approximately 2 percent of the David Gareja monastery
complex inside its borders. The monastery, dating from the 6th
century, is one of the Georgian Orthodox Church's most sacred
Azerbaijan's move sparked distress in Georgia; hundreds of
protesters marched in the capital Sunday. Hours later, after the
two countries' presidents discussed the dispute on the sidelines of
the NATO summit, the countries' border police reached an agreement
on allowing pilgrims from Georgia to enter the Azerbaijani section.
Thousands of pilgrims streamed to the monastery on Monday in an
action that had been organized before the dispute was resolved.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)