Update on the latest religion news


Associated Press

Posted on November 5, 2013 at 6:01 AM

Updated Tuesday, Nov 5 at 6:00 AM


NJ couple sues Christie over gay 'therapy' ban

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — A New Jersey couple has sued Gov. Chris Christie over his signing of a bill banning so-called gay conversion therapy, claiming the ban violates their constitutional rights.

The plaintiffs, who aren't identified in the court papers, claim the law violates their rights to free speech and free exercise of religion because it prevents them from seeking treatment for their 15-year-old son.

According to the lawsuit, the teen suffers from "unwanted gender identity disorder and unwanted same-sex attractions" and has contemplated suicide.

Christie signed the bill in August. It bans licensed therapists from trying to turn gay teenagers straight. The Republican governor said the health risks of trying to change a child's sexual orientation trump concerns over setting limits on parental choice.

Last year, California became the first state to pass a similar law, and a federal appeals court upheld it against a constitutional challenge.


247-a-06-(Demetrios Stratis, attorney suing to overturn ban on gay conversion therapy, in AP interview)-"of his religion"-Demetrios Stratis, the attorney suing to overturn New Jersey's ban on gay conversion therapy, says the teen whose family he represents is harmed by the ban. (4 Nov 2013)

<<CUT *247 (11/04/13)££ 00:06 "of his religion"

245-a-07-(Demetrios Stratis, attorney suing to overturn ban on gay conversion therapy, in AP interview)-"seeking the therapy"-Demetrios Stratis, the attorney suing to overturn New Jersey's ban on gay conversion therapy, says he's representing the parents of a teenager who doesn't want to be gay. (4 Nov 2013)

<<CUT *245 (11/04/13)££ 00:07 "seeking the therapy"

246-a-05-(Demetrios Stratis, attorney suing to overturn ban on gay conversion therapy, in AP interview)-"held religious beliefs"-Demetrios Stratis, the attorney suing to overturn New Jersey's ban on gay conversion therapy, says the teen whose family he represents wants to be rid of same-sex attractions. (4 Nov 2013)

<<CUT *246 (11/04/13)££ 00:05 "held religious beliefs"


Gay rights bill clears first hurdle in Senate

WASHINGTON (AP) — A major gay rights bill has cleared its first hurdle in the Senate.

On a vote of 61-30, the Senate voted to move ahead on legislation that would prohibit workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Supporters noted that the bill is supported by dozens of Christian and Jewish groups. But it's opposed by religious conservatives. The Family Research Council calls it "a club to beat small business and Christian employers into submission on homosexuality."

The bipartisan vote increases chances that the Senate will pass the bill by week's end.

Its prospects in the Republican-led House are dimmer, however. Speaker John Boehner remains opposed to the bill, arguing that it will lead to frivolous lawsuits and undercut job creation.


289-a-17-(Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, in floor speech)-"LGBT employment protections"-Senator Tom Harkin says most Christians oppose job discrimination against gay, lesbian, bi-sexual or transgender Americans. (4 Nov 2013)

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287-w-33-(Steve Coleman, AP religion editor, with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid)--A major gay rights bill has cleared its first hurdle in the Senate. AP Religion Editor Steve Coleman reports. (4 Nov 2013)

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288-a-04-(Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, in floor speech)-"faith based organizations"-Senator Tom Harkin says there's religious support for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. (4 Nov 2013)

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271-a-06-(Senator Mark Kirk, R-Ill., in his first floor speech since suffering a stroke almost two years ago, during debate)-"in 21 states"-Senator Mark Kirk says the bill expands on existing protections. (4 Nov 2013)

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Archbishop urges 'yes' vote on abortion measure

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The Roman Catholic archbishop of Santa Fe is urging Albuquerque parishioners to vote for a proposed ban on late-term abortions.

The Most Rev. Michael Sheehan said during a Sunday evening Mass that the congregation should vote for the measure that includes a ban on abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Sheehan said a vote would for the ban would "say yes to the unborn child."

Anti-abortion groups gathered more than double the number of signatures necessary to force a Nov. 19 election on the issue in New Mexico's largest city. If it passes, the measure would close one of the few clinics in the country performing abortions in the third trimester of pregnancy.

Critics say the proposed ban would be an unconstitutional government intrusion into a woman's privacy.


Sioux Falls Seminary in SD names new president

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — The vice president of an Illinois seminary has been named the new president of the Sioux Falls Seminary.

The South Dakota seminary's board of trustees announced Monday that Greg Henson has been elected as the 12th president of the seminary that serves 26 denominations.

Henson currently is vice president for institutional advancement at Northern Baptist Theological Seminary in Lombard, Ill. Beginning next February he will succeed G. Michael Hagan, who is stepping down at the end of the year after a dozen years at the helm in Sioux Falls.

The Sioux Falls Seminary bills itself as the only accredited seminary in the Dakotas, Nebraska, Wyoming and Montana. It had about 360 students last year.


Man held in Ind. church van crash that killed 1

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Police in Indianapolis say a 26-year-old man has been arrested after he allegedly crashed into a church van, killing its driver and injuring 12 others.

Police said Brandon D. Collins was being held Monday in the Marion County Jail on preliminarily charges of failure to stop following a crash causing injury and death and operating a vehicle while intoxicated causing serious injury or death.

Investigators say he ran a red light Sunday night and crashed into a van carrying 18 people returning to the Jesus House of Prayer Temple from a revival at another church.

It was the second fatal crash in Indianapolis in just over three months involving a church vehicle.

Three members of Colonial Hills Baptist Church died July 27 when a bus they were in went off a freeway ramp on the city's north side.


Small northern Utah city to vote on alcohol ban

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A small city in northern Utah votes today on whether to get rid of its long-standing rule banning alcohol sales.

Hyde Park, population 4,000, is among a handful of dry cities left in a state known for its tee totaling ways. If voters pass the ordinance, it would open the door for the city's only convenience store to sell beer with the alcohol content of 3.2 percent.

Residents would still have to drive a few miles to get alcohol and heavier beer in Logan at the nearest state-run liquor store.

The proposal has divided the conservative, mostly-Mormon town, with some city council members arguing that the town shouldn't allow the sale of any "mind-altering" substances.

Backers say lifting the ban won't corrupt the city's children, and will bring in more sales tax revenue.


Women of the Wall celebrate their 25th anniversary

JERUSALEM (AP) — About 500 Jewish women have prayed at Jerusalem's Western Wall to mark their movement's 25th anniversary.

The "Women of the Wall" organization holds monthly prayer services at Judaism's holiest site, a remnant of the biblical Jewish Temple.

As the women prayed on Monday in religious garb, some ultra-Orthodox men called their presence at the wall a provocation. Under Orthodox Jewish practice, only men may wear prayer shawls and skullcaps, and most Orthodox Jews insist that only men should carry a Torah scroll.

The more liberal Reform and Conservative streams of Judaism, marginal in Israel but the largest denominations in the US, allow women to practice the same way as men do in Orthodox Judaism.

An Israeli court order backing the women's right to pray at the Western Wall was granted in April of 2012.


225-r-12-(Jewish women singing prayers, at Jerusalem's Western Wall)--Sound of Jewish women singing prayers at Jerusalem's Western Wall. (4 Nov 2013)

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223-a-11-(Rabbi Karyn Kedar, visitor from Chicago, in AP interview)-"can pray together"-Rabbi Karyn Kedar, a visitor from Chicago, says the group "Women of the Wall" proclaims Jewish women's equal right to pray at Judaism's holiest site. (4 Nov 2013)

<<CUT *223 (11/04/13)££ 00:11 "can pray together"

222-a-06-(Rabbi Karyn Kedar, visitor from Chicago, in AP interview)-"of us here"-Rabbi Karyn Kedar, a visitor from Chicago, says Jewish women should have the same religious rights as men at Jerusalem's Western Wall. (4 Nov 2013)

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UK police lose track of Somali-born terror suspect

LONDON (AP) — British officials have voiced concern over the escape of a terror suspect who vanished after switching into women's clothes at a London mosque.

Metropolitan Police say they're still trying to find Mohammed Ahmed Mohamed, 27, one of about nine people subject to a restrictive form of government surveillance when he disappeared on Friday.

Authorities say security camera footage showed the Somali-born suspect slipping away from the mosque in a niqab, an all-encompassing garment worn by conservative Muslim women.

Mohamed was being tracked under the government's Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures, a stringent form of surveillance imposed on people suspected of terror ties. It's not exactly clear how he managed to escape the program's GPS tagging.


%@AP Links

179-a-15-(Yvette Cooper, top Labor Party home affairs official, in speech to Parliament)-"where he is"-Yvette Cooper, the top Labor Party minister regarding home affairs, says she doesn't understand why Britain's top homeland security official believes the missing suspect poses no threat to British security. (4 Nov 2013)

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178-a-16-(British Home Secretary Theresa May, in speech to Parliament)-"support terrorism overseas"-British Home Secretary Theresa May says the missing suspect escaped despite being put on what's called a T-PIM, short for Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures. (4 Nov 2013)

<<CUT *178 (11/04/13)££ 00:16 "support terrorism overseas"

180-a-10-(British Home Secretary Theresa May, in speech to Parliament)-"anti-terrorist hotline"-British Home Secretary Theresa May says the suspect does not pose a direct threat to British security. COURTESY: Parliamentary Recording Unit ((mandatory on-air credit)) (4 Nov 2013)

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160-c-20-(Kyle McKinnon, correspondent)-"slipped GPS tagging"-Correspondent Kyle McKinnon reports on the London disappearance of a man British authorities suspect of ties with terrorism. (4 Nov 2013)

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159-v-33-(Kyle McKinnon, correspondent)--British officials are trying to track down a terror suspect who vanished after changing into women's clothes at a London mosque. Correspondent Kyle McKinnon reports from London. (4 Nov 2013)

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