County to appeal prayer case to US Supreme Court
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) - A North Carolina county wants to make
its case to the U.S. Supreme Court that public meetings should be
allowed to open with prayers referring to Jesus Christ.
A federal appeals court ruled last month in favor of two Forsyth
County residents who sued after a 2007 commissioners meeting opened
with a prayer in the name of Jesus.
One of the appeals court judges pointed out that most of the
invocations given before meetings referred to "Jesus," "Jesus
Christ," "Christ" or "Savior."
Commission vice chair Debra Conrad said that reflects the
county's religious makeup and should be permissible because clergy
of all faiths are welcome to lead prayers.
The commissioners voted Monday to appeal the court's ban on
prayers that mention specific deities as long as outside
foundations continue to pay legal fees.
NFL's Abdullah brothers invited to White House for Ramadan
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) - Arizona Cardinals safety Hamza Abdullah
and his brother, Husain, safety for the Minnesota Vikings, have
been invited to a White House dinner tonight with President Barack
The two will attend this evening's Iftar Dinner celebrating the
Islamic holy month of Ramadan.
Arizona's Abdullah says he was stunned and initially thought the
invitation was a fake.
He called it a "humbling experience" and looked forward to
shaking the president's hand. He called Obama "a stand-up guy"
who is "for equality, regardless of ethnicity, religious
background or class."
Abdullah will be in Oakland in time for Arizona's preseason
opener Thursday night against the Raiders.
Okla. gov. seeks public support for base chapel
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin has asked the
public to help raise about $500,000 to build a chapel at the Camp
Gruber Army National Guard training post.
The post hasn't had a site for religious gatherings since it was
reactivated in 1977.
Flanked by officials with the Oklahoma Army National Guard and
several vendors who have donated materials and labor for the
chapel's construction, Fallin said a nonprofit group has been set
up to seek public donations and support.
A groundbreaking for the interfaith chapel is tentatively set
for Sept. 7. The goal is to have construction of the facility
completed by spring 2012, when about 3,200 soldiers with the
Oklahoma National Guard's 45th Infantry Brigade return from
Afghanistan and Kuwait.
Music minister charged with shocking pastor
MOBILE, Ala. (AP) - A minister of music has been charged with
using a Taser to shock the pastor of an Alabama church during a
fight over pay.
The Mobile County Sheriff's Office says the fight happened
Sunday at New Welcome Baptist Church.
Authorities say Pastor Daryl Riley handed the minister of music,
Simone Moore, his final check and said he would no longer be
needed. Moore disagreed over the pay and shocked the pastor during
an ensuring argument. He was charged with second-degree assault.
Several other church members were involved in the brawl.
Officials say Deacon Harvey Hunt stabbed the music minister's
mother, Agolia Moore. Hunt was charged with third-degree assault.
Md. gov, archbishop at odds over same-sex marriage
ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, who is
Roman Catholic, has released private letters showing he rejected
the spiritual guidance of his archbishop.
In a letter last month, Baltimore Archbishop Edwin O'Brien urged
O'Malley not to sponsor same-sex marriage legislation because it
"deeply conflicts" with the governor's Catholic faith.
O'Malley responded that he has a public obligation to change
laws he considers unjust.
The governor announced on July 22 that he will make legalizing
same-sex marriage a top priority by sponsoring a bill in Maryland's
2012 legislative session.
Ex-NJ Gov. McGreevey now mentors women inmates
KEARNY, N.J. (AP) - Former New Jersey Gov. Jim McGreevey has a
ministry mentoring women inmates seven years after announcing that
he was gay and resigning over an affair with a male staffer.
McGreevey is the spiritual counselor to 40 women incarcerated at
the Hudson County Correctional Center, one of New Jersey's largest
jails. The women are part of a pilot program addressing problems
that keep them returning to jail.
The 54-year-old former governor came to jailhouse ministry after
enrolling in an Episcopal seminary in 2007, three years after he
abruptly resigned as governor.
He hopes to be an ordained priest someday, but that ambition has
been delayed by the church because of his public resignation and
McGreevey now lives with his male partner and their four dogs.
SATANIC BIBLE-INMATE'S LAWSUIT
Inmate loses quest to have `Satanic Bible'
EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. (AP) - A federal judge says an Illinois
prison inmate doesn't have a right to "The Satanic Bible" behind
After a one-day trial Monday in East St. Louis, U.S. Magistrate
Judge Donald Wilkerson cited security concerns in rejecting Kevin
Halfmann's claims that he needs the book to practice his religion.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that witnesses testified
that "The Satanic Bible" hasn't been allowed in Illinois prisons
since at least 1990 because of its potential to incite hatred and
The 36-year-old Halfmann is a former Catholic serving time for
predatory criminal sexual assault.
Polygamist leader gets life in prison for assault
SAN ANGELO, Texas (AP) - Polygamous church leader Warren Jeffs
has been sentenced to life in prison for sexually assaulting a
12-year-old girl he took as a bride.
The head of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter
Day Saints also received a 20-year sentence for the sexual assault
of a 15-year-old girl.
He stood quietly Tuesday as the decision of the Texas jury was
read. He received the maximum sentence on both counts. They are to
be served consecutively.
The 55-year-old Jeffs contended that he was being persecuted for
his religious beliefs.
His church teaches that polygamy brings exaltation in heaven,
and has more than 10,000 followers who consider Jeffs to be God's
spokesman on Earth.
No shame for religious killings in Indonesian town
CIKEUSIK, Indonesia (AP) - Residents of an Indonesian town are
celebrating the release from prison of a teenager who smashed in
the skull of an Ahmadiyah Muslim.
Dani bin Misra and other suspects received relatively light
sentences for the ferocious attack that left three Ahmadiyah
Muslims dead in February.
Other Ahmadiyah Muslims, who many mainstream Muslims view as
heretics, fled the town after the attack.
Residents called Dani a hero and said their village had to be
Their reaction is part of a wider wave of intolerance against
religious minorities that is tarnishing Indonesia's image as a
place where Islam and liberalism can coexist.
Philippines shuts art show that offended Christians
MANILA, Philippines (AP) - Officials at the state-run Cultural
Center of the Philippines have shut down an art exhibit that
critics said mocked and desecrated Christian symbols.
The decision by the center's board of directors came a day after
former first lady and art patron Imelda Marcos joined politicians
and Roman Catholic church leaders in denouncing the exhibit.
The board said it made the decision because of "an increasing
number of threats to persons and property," including the artists
and the cultural center staff.
President Benigno Aquino II described the art exhibit as
offensive to the 85 percent of Filipinos who are Christian like
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)