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GOP and Faith; Gay Marriage; Super Bowl Parties at Church; Public Schools Like Hitler Nazi Schools?; Catholic Bishop on Trial

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) - The Republican presidential candidates

have discussed how faith would guide them as president.

In Thursday's CNN debate, Congressman Ron Paul said his religion

affects his character and how he lives and treats people, but would

not guide his policy making.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said he believes every

president should go to God for guidance.

Former Governor Mitt Romney agreed that he would pray about

decisions he'd make as president.

Former Senator Rick Santorum said he would be guided by "faith

and reason." He and Romney emphasized that Americans' rights comes

from God, not government.

But Gingrich said those rights need defending because, in his

words, "There has been an increasingly aggressive war against

religion, and in particular against Christianity in this country."

 

 

 

GAY MARRIAGE-FIRST LADY

Md. first lady: Gay marriage opponents are cowards

BALTIMORE (AP) - Maryland First Lady Katie O'Malley is blaming

"cowards" for the failure of gay marriage legislation last year.

The first lady, speaking Thursday at the 24th annual Conference

on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Equality, said "there

were some cowards that prevented it from passing." A bill to allow

same-sex marriage passed the Senate, but stalled in the House of

Delegates.

O'Malley, who is a Baltimore judge, says she's hopeful things

will be different this year. Her husband, Gov. Martin O'Malley, is

making same-sex marriage legislation a priority of the legislative

session.

The first lady says religion shouldn't play a role in

determining the laws of the state of Maryland. She says same-sex

marriage is a civil rights issue, not a religious one.

 

CHURCHES-SUPER BOWL PARTIES

Legal advice offered for church Super Bowl parties

GRAPEVILE, Texas (AP) - A Texas law firm has some advice for

churches that plan to throw Super Bowl parties next weekend.

David Middlebrook of the Church Law Group says the National

Football League has only two requirements.

First, churches must not bring in rental equipment for their

parties, but must show the game on equipment that's regularly used

for worship. Secondly, churches must not sell tickets or charge

admission. But they are allowed to take up an offering to defray

party expenses.

To be on the safe side, Middlebrook also recommends that in

promoting their parties, churches avoid using the words "Super

Bowl," which are trademarked by the NFL. He suggests they call

their events "Big Game" parties instead.

 

 

 

 

PEOPLE-MARY MARY

Gospel singer gives birth to girl

NEW YORK (AP) - Erica Campbell of the Grammy-winning sister duo

Mary Mary has given birth to a new daughter.

Campbell's representative says Zaya Monique was born Tuesday.

The baby weighed 6 pounds, 12 ounces.

Erica and her sister Tina comprise the gospel duo.

It's the third child for Campbell and her husband,

producer-songwriter Warryn Campbell. The singer said she was

blessed by the baby's birth and tweeted, "God is so amazing! Love

u guys!!"

Campbell will be taking a few weeks off, but she'll soon have to

return to work. Mary Mary, known for hits like "Shackles" and

"God in Me," have a self-titled reality show that debuts March 29

on We TV.

 

BISHOP-HITLER REMARK

Pa. bishop draws criticism over Hitler remark

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - A Roman Catholic bishop in Pennsylvania

is drawing criticism for comparing American public schools to those

under Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini.

Harrisburg Bishop Joseph McFadden said in an interview last week

with WHTM-TV that totalitarian governments "would love our

system" of education. He said Hitler and Mussolini also tried to

set up systems that would teach children "one set of beliefs and

one way of doing things."

McFadden told The Patriot-News in an email Wednesday that he

didn't mean to offend. He says in an interview about school

vouchers, he was making a "dramatic illustration" of how public

schools curtail parental choice.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania called

McFadden's comments inappropriate.

 

 

 

 

ISRAEL-HOLOCAUST-KEEPING THE FAITH

Observant survivors keep the faith after Holocaust

JERUSALEM (AP) - As the world marks this Holocaust Remembrance

Day, Israel's ultra-Orthodox Jews are remembering the victims with

prayer, study of scripture and faith in a grand plan that is beyond

their earthly comprehension.

Many survivors, including Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel (EL'-ee

vee-ZEHL'), have questioned where God was during the Holocaust. But

survivors from the ultra-Orthodox community say they felt a divine

presence even in the worst places imaginable.

After years of silence, some pious survivors have formed a

weekly support group at a senior center in Jerusalem, where they

share how they've reconciled with a God who allowed the destruction

of their homes, their families and 6 million of their people.

Alex Seidenfeld, an 82-year-old Holocaust survivor from Hungary,

says, "The almighty knows what He is doing. He has a plan that we

sometimes don't understand."

 

NYPD-INTELLIGENCE-MOVIE

Muslims call for NYPD chief to resign over movie

NEW YORK (AP) - Muslim groups are calling for New York's police

commissioner to step down because of his appearance in a film they

say paints their religion and its adherents in a bad light.

About 20 activists held a news conference on the steps of City

Hall on Thursday and criticized Ray Kelly for giving an interview

to the producers of the movie "The Third Jihad."

The movie uses dramatic footage to warn against the dangers of

radical Islam. Muslim groups say it encourages Americans to be

suspicious of all Muslims.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Thursday that he stands by Kelly,

but added that the commissioner will have to redouble his outreach

efforts to Muslims.

 

 

 

 

PRIEST CHARGED-FINN

Case against Mo. bishop set for September trial

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - A Missouri Catholic bishop will go to

trial in September on a misdemeanor charge that he and the Kansas

City-St. Joseph Diocese failed to report suspicions of child sexual

abuse by a priest.

Bishop Robert Finn is scheduled to go to trial Sept. 24.

The charges against Finn and the diocese stem from claims that

the diocese waited five months before telling police about

pornographic photos of children found on a priest's computer.

A computer technician found hundreds of "troubling images" on

the Rev. Shawn Ratigan's computer in December 2010. Finn

acknowledged that he knew of the photos in December, but didn't

report them to police until May.

 

PRIEST'S DEATH

Man charged in priest's death found dead in jail

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - Mississippi corrections officials say a

man accused killing a Catholic priest and setting off in his car on

a Disney vacation has been found dead in a prison cell of an

apparent suicide.

Jeremy Wayne Manieri was charged with shooting the Rev. Ed

Everitt of Hammond, La., in July 2011 at a beach house in Waveland,

Miss. The 33-year-old Manieri's attorney, Brian Alexander,

confirmed that his client was found dead early Thursday morning.

Manieri was a handyman at the house used by priests as a beach

retreat. Prosecutors said he shot Everitt with the priest's own

gun.

Manieri had claimed he shot Everitt after he passed out from

alcohol and marijuana use and found the priest fondling him. But

investigators had charged robbery was the motive because when

Manieri was arrested in Florida authorities said he had the

priest's car, gun and wallet.

 

AUSTRIA-CATHOLICS

Austrian priest publishes names of ex-Catholics

VIENNA (AP) - Austria's Vienna archdiocese has apologized for

the publication of a list of people who've left the Roman Catholic

church.

A statement says those affected have been asked for forgiveness,

noting that publicizing the names "is not allowed by state or

church rules." The statement was issued Thursday after a priest in

a village north of Vienna listed local church-leavers in the

diocese newspaper.

The archdiocese says the priest has since "apologized in the

form of a Mass and has written those affected a letter" of

apology.

The rash of sex abuse scandals hitting the Catholic church has

led to an increased number of Austrians formally renouncing their

affiliation. That also frees them from paying a mandatory church

tax.

 

VATICAN-CORRUPTION

Vatican defends transfer of official to Washington

VATICAN CITY (AP) - The Vatican has defended its transfer of a

top official to Washington after he exposed alleged corruption in

the awarding of Holy See contracts.

The Vatican also warned Thursday that it could take legal action

against a TV show that reported on the case. The Italian news

program showed letters from Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano to Pope

Benedict begging not to be transferred after exposing corruption

costing the Vatican millions of dollars.

The Vatican statement Thursday said transferring the Italian to

the prestigious post of apostolic nuncio to the U.S. is proof of

the pope's "undoubted esteem and faith."

The Holy See also said it would pursue "all opportune ways, if

necessary legal ones" to protect the reputation of Vatican

officials mentioned in the report.

 

NIGERIA-VIOLENCE

Nigeria police chief tarnished over 2001 violence

ABUJA, Nigeria (AP) - Nigeria's president has selected a new

officer to lead the nation's police force as a radical Islamist

sect increasingly targets it for attacks. However, that man already

has a past tarnished by allegations he allowed religious and ethnic

violence that killed 1,000 people to spiral out of control.

Mohammed Abubakar served as police commissioner in Plateau state

in 2001, leading up to rioting that saw Muslim and Christian groups

attack each other in the restive central Nigerian city of Jos

(jahs). While some victims burned to the death in the street, civil

society groups said Abubakar refused to send officers into the

street to stop the violence.

Abubakar replaced Inspector Gen. Hafiz Ringim, who was widely

criticized for his response to attacks by the sect known as Boko

Haram.

 

BRITAIN-JAY LENO

UK lawmakers complain over Jay Leno joke

LONDON (AP) - British lawmakers say Prime Minister David Cameron

should complain to the United States over a Jay Leno routine which

joked about the holiest site in the Sikh religion.

In a motion published at Parliament on Thursday, two legislators

said Leno had shown a complete misunderstanding of the Sikh faith.

Leno made a joke on Jan. 19 on the "Tonight Show" in the U.S.,

when he showed a photo of an impressive gold building and claimed

it was Republican Mitt Romney's summer home. The site was actually

the Golden Temple, a revered Sikh site.

British opposition Labour Party lawmakers proposed a motion

demanding Cameron call on the U.S. to show more respect toward

Sikhs. The move does not compel Cameron to take any action.

 

 

 

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

 

AP-NY-01-27-12 0334EST

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