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Air Force and "Christian Just War Theory;" Same Sex Blessings; Gospel Singer Dies; Archdiocese Fires Catholic School Principal

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AIR FORCE-ETHICS COURSE

Air Force suspends course that used Bible verses

SAN ANTONIO, Texas (AP) - The Air Force has suspended a course

that nuclear missile launch officers were required to take called

"Christian Just War Theory."

David Smith, spokesman for the Air Force's Air Education and

Training Command, says the course will be revised after complaints

about its use of Bible passages to show that it can be moral to go

to war.

Smith says that approach is now considered inappropriate in a

pluralistic society.

He says the Air Force felt the training was needed for officers

who might be called upon to launch nuclear missiles "because of

the nature of the job."

The Washington Post reports that the course was apparently

taught by chaplains at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California for

more than 20 years.

 

PERRY-PRAYER RALLY

Some religious figures oppose Perry prayer event

HOUSTON (AP) - Some Houston religious leaders are voicing

concern over Gov. Rick Perry's involvement in this Saturday's

prayer meeting at Reliant Stadium.

The statement by more than 50 Muslim, Jewish and Christian

leaders says that by hosting the event, Perry sends "an official

endorsement of one faith" and excludes those "who do not share

that faith."

Asked about the statement, Perry aides say he "looks forward to

attending `The Response, a day of prayer and fasting for our

nation."'

Christian historian David Barton, who will help lead the

prayers, says Perry agreed to promote the event before he began

considering a presidential bid. Perry has said he'll announce by

the end of this month whether he'll seek the Republican nomination

for president in 2012.

 

METHODISTS-SAME SEX BLESSING

Minn. Methodists investigate same-sex blessings

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Leaders of the United Methodist Church in

Minnesota are investigating a complaint against a Minneapolis

pastor who blessed same-sex unions as part of gay pride

festivities.

The Star Tribune reports that the Rev. Greg Renstrom of New

Harmony Methodist Church admitted bestowing blessings on six

same-sex couples on June 25. Renstrom said none of the blessings

took place on Methodist Church property, but he realized he might

be violating denominational rules.

The United Methodist Church's Book of Discipline states that

"Ceremonies that celebrate homosexual unions shall not be

conducted by our ministers and shall not be conducted in our

churches."

In June, a United Methodist pastor in Wisconsin was suspended

for 20 days after being convicted in a church trial of officiating

at a same-sex union.

OBIT-BARRETT

Gospel singer Delois Barrett Campbell dead at 85

CHICAGO (AP) - Delois Barrett Campbell, a member of the Barrett

Sisters gospel trio, has died at the age of 85 in a Chicago

hospital.

For decades, the Barrett Sisters electrified audiences worldwide

with their powerful harmonies.

Delois Barrett Campbell, the oldest of the sibling vocal trio,

was born and raised in Chicago, where she was steeped in the gospel

tradition.

The Barrett Sisters recorded their first album, "Jesus Loves

Me," in the mid-1960s.

New generations discovered them when the trio appeared in the

1982 documentary "Say Amen, Somebody" and in Patti LaBelle's 1990

television special "Going Home to Gospel."

Chicago Tribune music critic Howard Reich called them "the

greatest female trio in gospel history."

 

SCHOOL PRINCIPAL CONTROVERSY

NY archdiocese: Principal fired for racist views

NEW YORK (AP) - The Archdiocese of New York has fired the

principal of a mostly black and Hispanic elementary school in the

Bronx for writings it deemed racist.

Archdiocese spokesman Joseph Zwilling says school officials

reviewed Frank Borzellieri's books and columns and found that he

espoused white supremacist views that were at odds with the

church's mission and values. The firing came after the New York

Daily News reported that Borzellieri had written that expanding

black and Hispanic populations will create a "New Dark Age."

Borzellieri and his book publisher didn't respond to requests

for comment Tuesday from the AP.

He had been principal of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel School for two

years.

On the school's website, Father Eric Rapaglia, the pastor of Mt.

Carmel, apologized and said that neither he nor a search committee

knew about Borzellieri's political writings when they hired him.

REMBRANDT'S JESUS

Philadelphia museum features 'Rembrandt and the Face of Jesus'

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - A new exhibit at the Philadelphia Museum of

Art takes a fresh look at religious paintings, drawings and prints

by one of history's most revered artists.

"Rembrandt and the Face of Jesus" contains works from museums

and private collections in the U.S. and Europe. The exhibition of

more than 50 works by the Dutch master and his pupils includes a

group of seven oil paintings of Jesus Christ that have not been

together since they left Rembrandt's studio in 1656.

Timothy Rub, director of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, calls

the show "a rare moment to observe the image of Jesus through the

imagination of this artistic genius whose life was devoted to

representations of biblical truths."

IRAQ

Iraq sentences 3 to death in Baghdad church attack

BAGHDAD (AP) - An Iraqi court has sentenced three men to death

for masterminding a church siege last year that killed 68 people in

one of the most horrific attacks on Iraq's Christian minority.

The three men were found guilty of planning and preparing the

Oct. 31 attack, when al-Qaida suicide bombers held worshippers

hostage at Baghdad's Our Lady of Salvation cathedral for hours

before detonating explosive belts. The attack horrified Iraqis and

Christians across the world.

Upwards of a million Iraqi Christians have fled the country in

recent years, and those who remain are targets for insurgents.

On Tuesday a car bomb blew up outside a church in the northern

city of Kirkuk (keer-KOOK'), wounding 23 people. The city's police

chief says bombs also were found in cars parked outside two other

Kirkuk churches.

ITALY-BURQA BAN

Italian parliament commission approves burqa ban

ROME (AP) - An Italian parliamentary commission has approved a

draft law banning women from wearing veils that cover their faces

in public.

The law's sponsor says she wants to help Muslim women integrate

into Italian society. But a spokesman for the Union of Islamic

Communities in Italy says the law would isolate devout Muslim

women, who would not be able to leave their homes.

Women who violate the ban could be fined hundreds of dollars,

while third parties who force women to cover their faces in public

would be fined $43,000 and face up to a year in jail.

Italy, an overwhelmingly Catholic country with a small Muslim

minority, is the latest European country to act against the burqa.

France and Belgium have banned face-covering Islamic dress in

public.

 

NYC MOSQUE

NYC mosque developer: Project may take years

NEW YORK (AP) - The developer of an Islamic community center and

mosque near ground zero says it may take years to determine what

kind of project Muslims and non-Muslims want.

Sharif El-Gamal tells The New York Times that decisions will be

made after consultation with lower Manhattan residents and New York

City-area Muslims.

El-Gamal says that in the past year he's built relationships

with neighborhood groups. He's recruited a 9/11 victim's relative

to his advisory board and sought donors from around the country. He

concedes he should have done those things before going public with

the project.

He also says he'll only accept money from sources that reflect

"American values."

El-Gamal's vision for the project remains unchanged: a mosque,

health club, theater and religious and interfaith programming open

to all.

GREEN RAMADAN

Chicago area Muslims push for a 'green' Ramadan

CHICAGO (AP) - Some Chicago-area Muslims say they have an

additional focus during their holy month of Ramadan (RAH'-mah-dahn)

-- the environment.

Officials with the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater

Chicago launched several green initiatives Monday, the first day of

the Islamic month marked by fasting and prayer.

The council represents dozens of Muslim organizations, which are

being asked to focus more on recycling and solar energy.

Council members say they're also working with the Chicago's

Field Museum on an environmental study.

Illinois legislators recently adopted a resolution designating

Ramadan as a "Green Month."

 

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

 

AP-NY-08-03-11 0334EDT

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