RELIGIOUS BROADCASTERS-SOCIAL MEDIA
Religious broadcasters protest exclusion from social media
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Religious broadcasters are sounding the
alarm over exclusion of parts of their message from the Internet.
National Religious Broadcasters President Frank Wright told
members at their convention in Nashville, Tenn., that the defense
of traditional marriage and morality is now banned as hate speech
on some social media platforms.
He gave examples, including the removal of apps for the
Manhattan Declaration and Exodus International from the iTunes
Wright said, "The hecklers in our culture are beginning to
dictate the terms of debate and what speech is permitted on social
Wright acknowledged that Apple, Google, Facebook and other
Internet gatekeepers are private companies, so their speech
policies don't amount to government censorship. But he called for
an open forum on the Web that allows for expression of biblical
Southern Baptist panel recommends add-on to name
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - A panel for the Southern Baptist
Convention has recommended that its leadership approve a new,
add-on description for the denomination - "Great Commission
Baptists" - but has stopped short of calling for a complete, legal
Officials described the new term as a way to give an official,
sanctioned identity to affiliated churches and believers who don't
want to use the term "Southern."
The Rev. Bryant Wright, president of the nation's largest
Protestant denomination, has said he is concerned that the
"Southern" name is too regional and hinders the evangelistic
faith's effort to expand beyond the South.
The panel rejected a complete name change, citing the legal
costs and difficulties. They also noted the positive associations
many hold with the Southern Baptist name, such as with its
well-regarded disaster relief organization.
While the 16 million member denomination continues to plant new
churches in the U.S. and around the world, it has seen a decline in
baptisms, church attendance and membership in recent years.
BIRTH CONTROL POLITICS
Evangelicals want reversal of birth control rule
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Thousands of pastors and evangelical
leaders are joining Roman Catholics who oppose President Barack
Obama's contraceptive coverage mandate.
Family Research Council President Tony Perkins says more than
2,500 evangelicals have signed a letter urging President Barack
Obama to reverse the requirement that church-affiliated groups
carry insurance providing free birth control, including
morning-after pills and sterilization.
The letter rejects Obama's compromise shifting the cost from
church-affiliated groups to their insurers. Perkins says that while
most Protestants do not oppose contraception, they object to what
they view as a violation of religious liberty.
He was joined by two prominent black Christians, Star Parker and
Bishop Harry Jackson, and by the Reverend Richard Land, president
of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty
Land vowed to challenge the mandate both in court and in
Kan. House panel backs religious freedom bill
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - A Kansas House committee has endorsed
legislation that backers say would protect religious freedom but
opponents believe would allow discrimination based on sexual
Monday's adoption by the House Judiciary Committee on a voice
vote sends the bill to the full House.
Republican committee chairman Lance Kinzer says the bill puts
into law the language of Kansas court decisions for determining
when government policies place too heavy a burden on practicing
It also allows people to sue state and local government agencies
if they feel their religious freedoms have been abridged.
Critics, including the Kansas Equality Coalition, claim the bill
would be used to discriminate against individuals based on sexual
Latino Mormons speaking out against Romney
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - Mitt Romney's presidential campaign is
not being warmly received by at least one group of Mormons. That's
the fast-growing group of Latino Mormons.
Many of them are expressing concerns about Romney's tough
stances against illegal immigration.
As Romney continues to seek the Republican presidential
nomination while rarely discussing his faith, a growing number of
vocal Hispanic Mormons say they intend to use Mormon teachings as a
reason to convince others not to vote for him.
They have held meetings on immigration, protested outside Romney
events and have even traveled across state lines to help defeat
other Mormon politicians with similar immigration stances.
Latino Mormons point to immigration stories in the Book of
Mormon and the church's stated opposition to policies targeting
Comic actor is a Zen Buddhist
NEW YORK (AP) - Comic actor Rob Schneider says he's a Zen
The star of the CBS sitcom "Rob" says that means just going
with the flow and not taking anything too seriously.
Schneider says Zen Buddhism allows him to "breathe out"
stress, because it teaches him that there's no ultimate meaning -
that "there's no place to be," and "nothing that needs to be
Schneider says life "doesn't mean anything," so people should
just do whatever makes them happy.
Israeli police: Vandals desecrate Jerusalem church
JERUSALEM (AP) - Israeli police say vandals have sprayed
anti-Christian graffiti at a Baptist church in Jerusalem.
Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said Monday that the vandals
desecrated the church and slashed tires on three cars nearby.
Rosenfeld says that words "price tag" were also scrawled on
the church property. It's a reference to a practice of Jewish
extremists who lash out against the Israeli government for actions
Such attacks usually target West Bank mosques but have recently
spread to a mosque in Israel, an Israeli military base, dovish
activists and Christian sites. Earlier in February, vandals
attacked a Greek Orthodox monastery and a school for Jewish and
Arab students in Jerusalem.
Rosenfeld says the police are searching for suspects.
Explosions, gunfire strike Nigerian city
MAIDUGURI, Nigeria (AP) - Authorities and witnesses in northeast
Nigeria report that at least two civilians are dead after fighting
erupted between soldiers and members of a radical Islamist sect.
The fighting began Monday in the city of Maiduguri, with at
least three major explosions heard in a popular market in the city.
A military spokesman said the army killed eight suspected members
of the radical Islamist sect known as Boko Haram.
Boko Haram is waging an increasingly violent campaign against
Nigeria's weak central government in its quest to impose strict
Islamic law, free its detained members and avenge Muslim deaths in
The attacks, including those specifically targeting Christians,
have widened distrust between Nigerian Christians and Muslims.
On Sunday, a bomb planted by an abandoned car exploded outside a
church in the middle of a worship service near Nigeria's capital,
wounding five people.
Turkey urged to allow greater religious freedom
ANKARA, Turkey (AP) - The spiritual leader of the world's
Orthodox Christians says Turkey's new constitution should grant
more religious freedom to the country's minority groups.
Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew met Monday with members of a
parliamentary subcommittee seeking an all-party consensus for a new
constitution, which will replace the one ratified in 1982 while the
country was under military rule.
Predominantly Muslim Turkey has small Christian and Jewish
Bartholomew told reporters he favors a constitution that
promotes equal rights and religious freedoms, including the
reopening of a Greek Orthodox seminary that trained generations of
Bartholomew, who is based in Istanbul, is the spiritual leader
of hundreds of millions of Orthodox Christians worldwide.
Historic monastery in Cyprus near collapse
NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) - The leader of Cyprus' Orthodox Church
says a historic monastery where an apostle of Jesus Christ is
thought to have performed miracles is close to caving in and needs
Archbishop Chrysostomos II has urged Greek Cypriot pilgrims not
to travel to the Saint Andrew monastery in the island's breakaway
Turkish sector for fear it could collapse.
He said if Turkish Cypriot authorities don't act fast, he'll
dispatch restoration crews to prop up the monastery's crumbling
central archway, possibly stoking tensions on the divided island.
Turkish Cypriot officials say they're keen to protect the
island's cultural heritage and a restoration program is already
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