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Rick Santorum and Evangelicals; Romney the Mormon; MLK Church Service; Tebow's Faith; School Prayer Banner

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SANTORUM-EVANGELICALS

Santorum backed by social conservative leaders

MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (AP) - Republican presidential candidate

Rick Santorum's quest to emerge as the chief alternative to Mitt

Romney has received a boost from a weekend gathering of evangelical

and social conservatives.

In their final vote Saturday, the more than 100 religious and

social conservatives meeting on a Texas ranch supported Santorum

over Newt Gingrich by a more than three-to-one margin, with no

votes for Gov. Rick Perry.

But with the South Carolina primary looming next Saturday, time

may be running short for the endorsement to have a significant

impact.

At a prayer breakfast in Myrtle Beach, Perry appealed to

religious conservatives to back his candidacy.

At the Cathedral of Praise in North Charleston, Gingrich was

cheered by church members as he criticized activist judges who he

said had made "anti-American" rulings to keep God out of schools.

Santorum spoke at the same church Saturday.

 

 

ROMNEY-THE MORMON FACTOR

Concerns about Romney's faith quieter but not gone

 

HILTON HEAD, S.C. (AP) - Some South Carolina Republicans remain

concerned about Mitt Romney's Mormon faith.

With the state's presidential primary just days away, a woman

asked Romney at a campaign stop if he believes in "the divine

saving grace of Jesus Christ."

Romney responded that he does, adding, "I happen to believe

that Jesus Christ is the son of God and my savior." But he added

that a candidate's faith should neither qualify nor disqualify him

or her from leadership in America.

Conservative Protestants and Roman Catholics do not consider

Mormons to be Christian, although Mormons insist they are.

Romney rarely mentions his faith on the campaign trail unless

asked.

 

 

 

OBAMA

Obamas celebrate MLK's birthday at church service

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama and his family have

celebrated Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday at a Sunday morning

worship service.

Obama, his wife, Michelle, and daughters Sasha and Malia sat in

the second row of Washington's historic Zion Baptist Church, which

was founded during the Civil War by African Americans who moved to

Washington from the slave state of Virginia.

The church bulletin featured a photo of King on the steps of the

Lincoln Memorial and the words "I Have a Dream." A deacon

welcomed the first family and read a passage from King's "Letter

from a Birmingham Jail."

The sermon by the Rev. Keith Byrd came from the Sermon on the

Mount, where Jesus urges his followers to be the salt of the earth.

Byrd urged the congregation to preserve America's morals like

salt amid political, social and economic turmoil.

He told worshippers they can conquer any challenge if they have

the love of God in their hearts.

 

 

 

TEBOW-FAITH IN ADVERSITY

Broncos' quarterback praises God despite loss to Patriots

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) - Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow

says win or lose, God deserves the glory.

After his team's crushing 45-10 loss to the New England Patriots

Saturday, Tebow told reporters he always prays that he'll "honor

the Lord" regardless of how he performs on the football field.

In the one-sided rout on the Patriots' home turf, Tebow was

sacked five times and completed only 9 of 26 passes.

Afterward, a visibly roughed-up Tebow congratulated the Patriots

and thanked his teammates and his "Lord and savior Jesus Christ."

He told reporters, "Even though you can be dejected, you can

still feel hurt, you can be disappointed, but you can still honor

the Lord with how you handle things."

 

 

TEBOW-LEGISLATURE PRAYER

Colo. rep. invites Tebow to give prayer at Capitol

DENVER (AP) - Can Tim Tebow's blessing inspire Colorado

lawmakers? One state representative thinks so.

Democratic Rep. Sal Pace sent a letter Friday to the Broncos

quarterback inviting him to lead the House in the daily morning

prayer before lawmakers start work. Pace said in the letter that

Tebow is an excellent choice to "give Colorado's elected officials

guidance as we take on the important task of leading Colorado."

The morning prayer at the Capitol's House and Senate is led

every day by different people of all faiths.

Pace said the House has several dates available for Tebow to

choose from, but added, "We do not want to take you away from any

practice prior to the AFC Championship game or Super Bowl."

That's no longer an issue after the Broncos' 45-10 loss to New

England Saturday.

 

SCHOOL PRAYER BANNER

Author of RI school prayer upset by judge's ruling

CRANSTON, R.I. (AP) - The former Rhode Island student who wrote

a prayer that's now at the center of a legal battle says he's

outraged by a judge's ruling that a banner displaying the prayer

must come down at the high school he attended.

David Bradley of Stonington, Conn., tells The Westerly Sun that

he considers it "one more example of secularism eroding the fabric

of America."

The 64-year-old Bradley was a student at the brand-new Cranston

High School West in 1960 when he was assigned to write its school

prayer. The school's 1963 graduating class had it printed on heavy

paper and posted on the auditorium wall, where it's now covered

while the legal fight goes on.

A federal judge ordered the banner's removal after complaints by

an atheist student and the Rhode Island American Civil Liberties

Union.

 

LITIGIOUS CHURCH

More US Catholics take complaints to church court

NEW YORK (AP) - Parents upset by the admission policy at a

parochial school. Clergy and parishioners at odds over use of their

building. A priest resisting a transfer to another parish.

It was once assumed that disagreements like these in the Roman

Catholic Church would end one way: with the highest-ranking cleric

getting the last word. But that outcome is no longer a given as

Catholics, emboldened following the clergy abuse scandals that

erupted a decade ago this month, have sought another avenue of

redress.

In recent years, clergy and lay people in the United States have

increasingly turned to the church's canon law system to challenge a

bishop's or pastor's decision. Sometimes, the challengers even win.

Regarding bishops' often contentious decisions to close

parishes, the liberal reform group FutureChurch posts a guide on

its website called "Canonical Appeals for Dummies" on seeking

Vatican intervention to stay open.

 

POLYGAMIST LEADER-CRACKDOWN

Imprisoned Jeffs imposes change on polygamous sect

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - Polygamous church leader Warren Jeffs is

serving a life-plus-20-year sentence in a Texas prison, but his

grip on most of his 10,000 followers doesn't appear to be

lessening.

Some former insiders say he's imposing even more rigid

requirements on church members.

Some marriages have been dissolved and families split up as

Jeffs works from his prison cell to reshape his Fundamentalist

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, according to Willie

Jessop, a former FLDS spokesman.

Since about mid-November, Jeffs' brother, Lyle Jeffs, has been

conducting personal interviews with members to determine their

worthiness under the stringent new orders. The inquiries range from

whether members are saying daily prayers to whether they have

carnal desires or "dwell in the wickedness of evil dross of this

generation."

 

BANGLADESH-ISLAMIC GATHERING

Huge gathering of Muslims ends in Bangladesh

TONGI, Bangladesh (AP) - One of the world's largest Muslim

gatherings has ended outside the capital of Bangladesh with a call

for peace and the revival of Islamic tenets.

The three-day gathering ended Sunday. It was not immediately

clear how many devotees joined the final afternoon prayer but

organizers had said they expected nearly 4 million devotees.

The gathering is sponsored by Islamic preachers who shun

politics. It has been held annually in Muslim-majority Bangladesh

since 1966.

Participants recite verses from the Quran and hear scholars

speak about Islamic teachings.

 

 

 

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

 

AP-NY-01-16-12 0333EST

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