Prison Fellowship founder hospitalized after surgery

LANSDOWNE, Va. (AP) - Evangelical leader Chuck Colson remains

hospitalized and heavily sedated after surgery Saturday to remove a

pool of clotted blood from the surface of his brain.

Prison Fellowship Ministries CEO Jim Liske, who heads one of the

ministries founded by the former Watergate figure, says the

80-year-old Colson fell ill Friday evening while speaking at a

conference in northern Virginia.

In a statement, Liske says the surgery was a success and doctors

determined that Colson did not suffer a stroke. He adds that

Colson's family is with him and that they appreciate people's


The conference where Colson fell ill gave disability advocate

Joni Eareckson Tada its annual Wilberforce Award, which is

presented to a Christian who fights to remedy social ills.


Judge tosses challenge to NC marriage license laws

GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) - A state judge has dismissed a lawsuit

challenging North Carolina's marriage license laws as a violation

of religious liberties.

The News & Record of Greensboro reports that Superior Court

Judge Judson DeRamus issued his ruling Friday. The 11 plaintiffs -

local ministers, area residents and Guilford County register of

deeds Jeff Thigpen - say they will appeal the decision to the state

Court of Appeals.

The lawsuit was filed in December in Guilford County Superior

Court. It asserts that no compelling reason exists for the state to

require religious leaders or court magistrates to perform

ceremonial marriages or for the state to require registration.

It also says prohibiting religious leaders from solemnizing

marriages of same-sex couples violates the U.S. Constitution and

the principle of separation of church and state.


Romney faces question about Mormon faith

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) - Republican presidential candidate Mitt

Romney has sidestepped a question about his Mormon faith while

campaigning for the Wisconsin primary.

A Ron Paul supporter asked Romney if he agreed with a passage

from the Book of Mormon that describes a cursing of people with a

"skin of blackness." Romney's staff took the microphone away from

the 28-year-old Green Bay man before he could read the passage.

Romney said didn't want to discuss religion, but he returned to

the subject later in the event.

Romney talked about serving as a Mormon pastor for more than a

decade in Boston. He said the experience taught him that most

people have personal problems. He says he's running for president

because he wants to lighten those burdens.


Cops ID college shooting suspect as One Goh, 43

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) - Police say the suspect in a shooting

attack at a California Christian college is a 43-year-old Oakland


Police Chief Howard Jordan says One L. Goh is in custody after

surrendering at a shopping center about an hour after the shooting

at Oikos University on Monday morning.

Authorities say he was a former student at the Christian school.

Seven people were killed, and three other injured when a gunman

opened fire into classrooms.


Trial: Priest joked about abusing 3 boys in week

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Jurors in a Philadelphia priest-abuse trial

have heard startling testimony about a priest who allegedly bragged

about having sex with three boys in one week.

Monsignor William Lynn is on trial for child endangerment and

conspiracy. He is the first Roman Catholic church official in the

U.S. charged for his handling of priest-abuse complaints.

Prosecutors say he helped the church bury the complaints in secret


On the stand Monday, a detective read internal church memos

about a priest who allegedly "joked about how hard it was to have

sex with three boys in one week." His accuser also stated that the

priest had a "rotation process" of boys spending time sleeping

with him.

Testimony earlier Monday included a 1992 complaint about a

priest who allegedly molested boys at a church-owned camp in the



Austrian cardinal OKs gay man for parish council

VIENNA (AP) - Austria's cardinal has overruled one of his

priests and is allowing a gay Catholic to serve on a parish


Florian Stangl lives in a registered domestic partnership. The

26-year-old was overwhelmingly elected to the council recently, but

his election was overruled by the priest - a decision initially

backed by the archdiocese.

Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn changed his mind over the weekend

after hosting Stangl and his partner for lunch, declaring Stangl to

be "at the right place."

Despite his close ties to Pope Benedict, Schoenborn has

expressed an open mind on such taboo issues as priestly celibacy.

Church teaching holds that homosexual acts are "intrinsically

disordered," but that gays should be treated with dignity and



US official: Violence in Nigeria isn't about religion

WASHINGTON (AP) - A top U.S. State Department official says

attacks by an Islamist sect in Nigeria aren't mainly about


Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson

testified at a Senate hearing about the violence instigated by Boko

Haram, whose name means "Western education is sacrilege" in the

Hausa language of Nigeria's Muslim north.

Boko Haram is blamed for more than 360 killings this year alone,

employing suicide bombers and shootouts in attacks on both

Christians and Muslims, as well as the United Nations' headquarters

in Nigeria.

Carson told a Senate Foreign Affairs subcommittee, "Religion is

not driving extremist violence in Nigeria."

Instead, he cited "the underlying political and social economic

problems in the north."


Egypt's Coptic Church out of constitution body

CAIRO (AP) - Egypt's official news agency says the country's

Coptic Church is withdrawing from a committee to draft the nation's

new constitution.

The state news agency MENA reported Monday that the church

called its participation "futile" under the current makeup of the

panel, dominated by Islamists. Out of 100 committee members, only

two were chosen from the church among six Christians.

Christians make up about 10 percent of Egypt's population. Most

are Copts.

The Muslim Brotherhood's party and a smaller ultraconservative

faction control the parliament, and have staked out a clear

majority on the constitutional panel.

Some 25 public figures and liberals have pulled out of the body,

saying it is fails to represent the country's diversity and does

not have enough constitutional experts.


Prosecutors want JetBlue captain held without bond

AMARILLO, Texas (AP) - Federal prosecutors are asking that a

JetBlue captain who left the cockpit of a Las Vegas-bound flight

screaming about religion and terrorists be held without bond.

Pilot Clayton Osbon smiled Monday at his wife and JetBlue

employees who came to his first federal court appearance. The

49-year-old is charged with interfering with a flight crew for his

bizarre unraveling on Flight 191 last Tuesday.

Osbon was not asked to enter a plea during the 10-minute

hearing. A federal judge is expected to rule on the bond issue

during a detention hearing Thursday.

Passengers wrestled Osbon to the ground after witnesses said he

ran through the cabin screaming about Jesus and al-Qaida. They tied

him up with seat belt extenders until the plane made an emergency

landing in Amarillo.

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

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