Prayers along Wall Street; Abuse Settlement Amounts to $24.8 Mil - South Texas, Corpus Christi, Coastal Bend

Prayers along Wall Street; Abuse Settlement Amounts to $24.8 Million; Sex Clubs Closing, Posed as Religious Outreach Efforts

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Grim traders can pray before Friday's opening bell

NEW YORK (AP) - The rabbi at New York's Wall Street Synagogue

says it generally takes more than a 500-point drop in the Dow Jones

Industrials to put the fear of God into stock traders.

But Rabbi Meyer Hager says there may be some solemn faces at

Friday morning's daily prayer service.

Hager says he'll tell them not to panic because "this too shall


For Wall Street Catholics seeking hope, the nearby Our Lady of

Victory Church will offer three Masses before Friday's opening


But Protestants will have to wait until noon for the daily

service at Trinity Wall Street, the Episcopal Church next door to

the New York Stock Exchange.


Counter-event planned on eve of governor's prayer meeting

HOUSTON (AP) - On the eve of Texas Gov. Rick Perry's day of

prayer and fasting, critics of Saturday's event are holding a

separate rally to protest what they believe to be his trampling of

the Constitution.

Tonight's event at a Houston church is being organized by the

American Civil Liberties Union and Americans United for Separation

of Church and State.

Eric Bearse (BURS), the spokesman for Saturday's event, responds

that criticism is to be expected "anytime you do something in the

name of Jesus Christ."

Christian historian David Barton will help lead the prayers

Saturday at Houston's Reliant Stadium.

He says that in a time of economic trouble, it's appropriate to

say: "God, this is bigger than we are and we want to humble

ourselves before you and acknowledge that we need your help."

ian historian who will help lead prayer at

Saturday's event, says the U.S. is faced with serious economic and

social problems.


Polygamist leader convicted of child sex abuse

SAN ANGELO, Texas (AP) - A Texas jury has convicted polygamist

leader Warren Jeffs on child sexual assault charges in a case

stemming from two young followers he took as brides in what his

church calls "spiritual marriages."

The 55-year-old head of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus

Christ of Latter Day Saints stood stone-faced as the verdict was

read. He faces up to life in prison.

The charges came after a massive 2008 raid of the church's

remote West Texas ranch.

A forensic analyst testified that Jeffs was an almost certain

DNA match to the child of a 15-year-old mother. Jeffs also was

accused of assaulting a 12-year-old girl.

Jeffs acted as his own attorney and claimed he was a victim of

religious persecution.



Polygamist groups denounce Jeffs' alleged abuse

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - A coalition of Utah polygamous groups is

denouncing the acts of child sexual assault for which church leader

Warren Jeffs was convicted in Texas.

The Principle Rights Coalition represents five polygamous

churches, along with others who practice polygamy but are

unaffiliated with any church.

In a statement Thursday, the coalition says its members are

devastated that underage girls would be abused under the cloak of

their religion.

Jeffs, who heads the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of

Latter Day Saints, represented himself at his trial in Texas. He

faces up to life in prison.

The coalition says it supports the prosecution of polygamists

who abuse children.


Delaware priest abuse cases settled

DOVER, Del. (AP) - A Roman Catholic religious order has agreed

to pay $24.8 million to settle lawsuits filed by 39 survivors of

priest sex abuse in Delaware.

As part of the settlement, the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales

also agreed to release the names of 12 of its members identified as

child molesters and to disclose personnel files and records related

to their placement, supervision and handling.

Attorneys for the Oblates began working on a settlement after

the Delaware Supreme Court in February rejected their challenge to

a 2007 law that gave alleged victims of child sexual abuse a

two-year window in which to file lawsuits that otherwise would have

been barred by the passage of time.

Mark Reardon, an attorney for the Oblates, noted Thursday that

the most recent incident involving the Oblates dates back more than

20 years.


Owner to shut sex clubs represented as religious

DALLAS (AP) - The owner of two Dallas businesses that officials

say were falsely represented as religious outreach efforts has

agreed to close them.

A judge last month closed the Playground. The city, in a court

filing, said undercover Dallas police officers determined that it

was a swingers sex club, operating in a space that had a

certificate of occupancy for a church, synagogue or mosque.

The Dallas Morning News reports that the owner also agreed to

close another club, called Darkside.

The city says the businesses violated zoning restrictions and

had no religious activity.


Malaysia church slams Islamic officials over raid

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) - Malaysian Christian officials have

accused Islamic authorities of unlawfully entering a church and

harassing guests at a community dinner.

The incident could re-ignite criticism that authorities in the

Muslim-majority country persistently fail to respect the rights of

religious minorities.

Pastor Daniel Ho says at least 20 officers from central Selangor

state's Islamic affairs department and police entered a Methodist

church's hall without a warrant Wednesday and took photographs of a

dinner attended by more than 100 people.

Ho said the officers recorded details of Muslim guests at the

dinner. Islamic authorities are sometimes wary of Muslims being at

church events because of fears of attempts to convert them.


Israel protests begin to focus on settlements, the religious

JERUSALEM (AP) - Israelis protesting their country's soaring

cost of living are starting to focus on the staggering sums spent

on West Bank settlers and ultra-religious Jews.

Israel's 700,000 ultra-Orthodox Jews -- almost a tenth of the

population -- are a major beneficiary of welfare. More than 40

percent of ultra-Orthodox men spend years in religious study and do

not work.

The Israeli government also has spent tens of billions of

dollars to keep its military in the West Bank, build roads and

subsidize housing and transportation costs, drawing 300,000 Jews to

live there.

Secular Jews were disproportionately represented at a huge

protest last week in Jerusalem -- a city increasingly dominated by

religious Jews -- and more mass demonstrations are planned for this



Muslim sues employer for beard firing

SEATTLE (AP) - A Seattle-area Muslim is suing his former

employer, claiming he was fired as a security guard for refusing to

shave his beard.

Abdulkadir Omar says that in November 2009, a supervisor at

American Patriot Security told him he had to shave his beard. Omar

responded that his beard is part of his religious beliefs and

refused. He was suspended the following spring.

Omar filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity

Commission, which found that Omar was wrongfully terminated.

A representative from American Patriot Security declined to

answer a media call.


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


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