WWII MEMORIAL-PRESIDENT'S PRAYER
Obama administration opposes adding FDR prayer to war memorial
WASHINGTON (AP) - The Obama administration is opposing
legislation that would add President Franklin Roosevelt's D-Day
prayer to the World War II Memorial in Washington D.C.
At a House hearing Thursday, Robert Abbey, director of the
Bureau of Land Management, said a plaque or inscription of the
prayer that Roosevelt read on a radio broadcast to the nation on
June 6, 1944, would "dilute" the memorial's central message.
As U.S. and allied troops launched the invasion that led to the
defeat of Nazi Germany, FDR asked the nation to join him in prayer.
He then asked God to give the allied troops courage and faith,
saying, "With thy blessing we shall prevail over the unholy forces
of our enemy."
A World War II veteran, 87-year-old George "Poppy" Fowler,
told a House committee that the prayer should be added to the
memorial. He said, "This prayer came at a perilous time, yet it
was answered in victory at a dear cost of lives."
The legislation calls for the plaque or inscription to be paid
for with private donations.
Catholics debate primacy of conscience over church teachings
WASHINGTON (AP) - Is it more important for Catholics to follow
their consciences, or church teachings?
Many Catholic politicians feel free to ignore church teachings
on abortion, gay marriage and other issues.
At a congressional hearing this week, Jon O'Brien, president of
Catholics for Choice, testified that most American Catholic women
ignore the church's ban on birth control, and are right to do so
because they believe it's right even if the Vatican says it's
O'Brien, whose group also promotes abortion rights, said obeying
church teachings instead of one's conscience would be a mortal sin.
But Congressman Tim Murphy angrily rejected that view. The
Pennsylvania Republican said, "It is not our duty as Catholics to
tell God what He should do." Instead, he said, "It is up to us to
shape our conscience to conform with the teachings He's given us."
Murphy said that when Moses came down from Mt. Sinai with the
Ten Commandments, he didn't say "What do you think, folks?"
Quinn: It's `Christian' to give award at event
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn has defended
his decision to present an award at an abortion-rights function as
"a proper, Christian thing to do" despite withering criticism
from the state's Catholic bishops.
Quinn will recognize Jennie Goodman Nov. 17 at the pro-choice
Personal PAC's annual luncheon.
Goodman was raped and is active in speaking out for other
victims. Goodman also appeared in a campaign ad last fall
criticizing Quinn's opponent for wanting to outlaw abortions with
no exceptions for victims of rape or incest.
Quinn is a Catholic Democrat. In Chicago on Thursday he brushed
off the criticism, saying he's following his conscience.
The bishops slammed Quinn for aligning himself with a group they
said supports "the legal right to kill children in their mothers'
CATHOLIC NEWSPAPER-GAY DUSTUP
Gay rights groups decry Mass. Catholic devil essay
BOSTON (AP) - Gay rights groups say they're pleased the oldest
Roman Catholic newspaper in the United States has retracted an
opinion column suggesting the devil may be responsible for gay
The column in the Boston archdiocese's The Pilot newspaper was
titled "Some fundamental questions on same-sex attraction." It
was written by an adviser at the U.S. Conference of Catholic
Bishops. It said "scientific evidence of how same-sex attraction
most likely may be created provides a credible basis for a
spiritual explanation that indicts the devil."
The 182-year-old newspaper withdrew the online column Wednesday
and posted the author's apology.
The gay Catholics group DignityUSA says the column was
outrageous and inflicted "tremendous damage on the souls" of gay
Polish monk on threatened flight thanks God, pilot
WARSAW, Poland (AP) - A Roman Catholic friar aboard the Boeing
plane that made an emergency landing in Poland says he gripped a
tiny lock of hair of the recently beatified Pope John Paul II as he
prayed for the passengers' survival - but credits the pilot as much
as God in averting a disaster.
Father Piotr Chyla told The Associated press that he made the
sign of the cross and whispered final absolution for all the 231
people on board while the pilot guided the plane to the ground
without wheels after its landing gear failed to deploy.
Chyla says he credits God, as well as the planes' captain and
crew, for the safe landing that some in Poland have hailed as
Passengers have described the landing as so smooth they thought
it was normal - at least until they saw smoke, flames and sparks
rising from the plane. Emergency workers doused the plane and
nobody was hurt.
Prayer gathering in Detroit has Muslims on guard
DETROIT (AP) - A 24-hour prayer gathering expected to draw
thousands of Christians to a Detroit sports stadium has some
leaders of the area's large Muslim population concerned about their
The event described as a "solemn assembly" and known as
TheCall comes to Detroit's Ford Field Nov. 11. Organizers say
Detroit is a "microcosm of our national crisis" that includes
economic and racial struggles, as well as "the rising tide of the
Backers of the decade-old organization believe demons have taken
hold of specific geographic areas and urge public engagement.
Muslim leaders fear some attendees might provoke or disrupt
Friday prayers at local mosques. The Council on American-Islamic
Relations' Michigan chapter is urging local mosques and Islamic
schools to step up security.
ACLU COMPLAINT-HIGH SCHOOL
ACLU criticizes Lakeview district graduation
COLUMBUS, Neb. (AP) - The American Civil Liberties Union has
sent a letter to the Lakeview Community Schools in Columbus, Neb.,
saying the high school graduation ceremonies violate students'
First Amendment religious rights.
The ACLU of Nebraska says it doesn't matter that Lakeview's
ceremonies are conducted by an outside group. The ACLU says its
review of district materials shows the ceremonies, which include
prayers, carry an overwhelming message that they are endorsed by
The ACLU says courts have ruled that schools may not exploit
events to promote religion or permit outsiders to do so.
Superintendent Russ Freeman says parents run the graduation
ceremonies and he thinks the district has done nothing wrong.
Convict got mixed up in satanic cult, teacher says
NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) - A man who taught Sunday school to a
Connecticut man facing a possible death sentence for a deadly home
invasion has told a jury that the defendant got mixed up with a
satanic cult as a teenager.
Armen Abrahamian testified Thursday is the sentencing phase of
Joshua Komisarjevsky's (koh-mih-sar-JEV'-skeez) trial.
Komisarjevsky faces life in prison or the death penalty for
killing Jennifer Hawke-Petit and her two daughters in their home in
Abrahamian says that around 1995, one of Komisarjevsky's mentors
rescued him from a home where a satanic ritual was taking place.
Abrahamian described Komisarjevsky as a troubled teen who wanted to
The defense says his religious family was opposed to
psychological counseling and medications, so they turned to prayers
and pastoral mentoring instead.
Muslim pilgrims gather in Saudi Arabia for hajj
MECCA, Saudi Arabia (AP) - Saudi authorities say nearly 2.5
million Muslims have gathered in Mecca for the annual hajj
pilgrimage, seeking forgiveness for their sins and meditating on
This year's hajj, which starts Saturday, takes place amid
protests in the Arab world that have toppled autocrats in Tunisia,
Egypt and Libya.
The pilgrimage, which all able-bodied Muslims are required to
make once in their lives, is packed with symbolism and ritual aimed
at cleansing the soul of sin and winning absolution.
It culminates when the pilgrims gather on Mount Arafat where
Mohammed is said to have given his last sermon 14 centuries ago.
During the ritual Muslims believe God will grant whatever prayers
they make. Pilgrims then cast pebbles at three pillars that
Nun dies in 11th self-immolation among Tibetans
BEIJING (AP) - Chinese state media say a Buddhist nun has died
after setting herself on fire in the 11th case of self-immolation
among Tibetans in western China in recent months.
The official Xinhua News Agency says it was unclear why the
woman, about 35 years old, killed herself Thursday along a road in
Sichuan province. But the 10 others who have set themselves on fire
since March were seen as having acted in protest to Chinese
restrictions on the Tibetan religion and culture.
Xinhua says the local government is investigating the latest
case. Phone calls to local authorities rang unanswered Thursday
Scientology appeals French fraud conviction
PARIS (AP) - The appeal for the Church of Scientology's
conviction on fraud has opened in a Paris court.
In 2009, a court convicted the church's French branch, its
bookstore and six of its leaders of organized fraud. The group was
accused of pressuring members into paying large sums for
questionable remedies and using "commercial harassment" against
The group and bookstore were fined $830,000. Four leaders were
given suspended sentences of between 10 months and two years. Two
others were also fined.
Defense lawyers for the church maintain that the conviction
curtails freedom of religion and association.
France does not consider Scientology a religion.
Gay arts festival faces condemnation in Malaysia
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) - Gay rights activists in
Muslim-majority Malaysia are facing mounting pressure to scrap
their annual "Sexual Independence" arts festival.
The festival has been held in Malaysia's capital since 2008, but
growing awareness of the event has led to criticism by politicians
and religious leaders.
Activities planned for next week's festival themed "Queer
Without Fear" include singing performances, talks on sexuality and
a makeup workshop by a Malaysian drag queen.
Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin on Thursday
called the event inappropriate and "a waste of time."
Malaysian media censorship rules forbid movies and songs that
promote acceptance of gays.
Malaysia to ban Obedient Wives Club's sex book
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) - Malaysian authorities say they
plan to ban a book about sex published by a group of Muslim women
who call themselves the Obedient Wives Club and advocate
subservience to husbands.
The Malay-language book titled "Islamic Sex" is not available
at stores but is believed to have been read by hundreds of members
of the club.
Despite its provocative title, the book is mainly about the club
founder's experiences and opinions on marriage. It contains no
explicit photographs but has several passages on how couples should
physically and spiritually handle sex.
A Home Ministry official said Thursday that the government
recommended banning the book because it could cause confusion among
Malaysia's Muslim majority about acceptable religious teachings.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)