Religion Roundup - Board Fights to Keep Jesus Portrait in School - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

August 16, 2006

Religion Roundup - Board Fights to Keep Jesus Portrait in School

BOARD WILL FIGHT TO KEEP JESUS PORTRAIT IN SCHOOL

CLARKSBURG, W.Va. (AP) _ West Virginia's Harrison County Board
of Education says it will fight efforts to force the removal of a
painting of Jesus Christ from Bridgeport High School.

The board vowed earlier not to spend public money defending
itself but gave outside interests a Tuesday deadline to raise at
least 150-thousand dollars for a defense fund. Board member Mike
Queen told a cheering audience that more than that has now been
raised. Many in the crowd wore T-shirts that read, ``You can't take
our Jesus down.''

Americans United for Separation of Church and State and the West
Virginia American Civil Liberties Union sued in federal court in
June, saying the painting ``Head of Christ'' sends the message that
the school endorses Christianity as its official religion.

JUDGE DISMISSES COUNCILMAN'S PRAYER LAWSUIT

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ A federal judge has ruled against a
Virginia official who insisted on praying in Jesus' name whenever
it was his turn to give the invocation before council meetings.

The Reverend Hashmel Turner, who serves on the Fredericksburg
City Council, argued that its policy allowing only nonsectarian
prayers violated his free-speech rights.

But Judge James Spencer tossed out Turner's lawsuit. He ruled
that ``legislative prayers'' are government speech and therefore
cannot advance Christianity or any other specific religion.

The Reverend Turner says he'll appeal the judge's decision.

INDONESIAN AMBASSADOR SAYS CHRISTIANS' EXECUTIONS ARE ON HOLD

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Indonesia's U-S ambassador says his nation is
sensitive to the international outcry over the executions ordered
for three Christian militiamen.

The Christians, who claim they're innocent, were convicted of
killing Muslims several years ago in religious strife that left
thousands dead from both communities.

They were to have been executed Saturday, but got a last-minute
indefinite stay.

Ambassador Sudjadnan Parnohadiningrat (soo-jahn-NAHN'
par-noh-hah-DIN'-ing-raht) says the Indonesian embassy in
Washington has been receiving ``a lot of letters'' protesting the
death sentences, which he's passing on to his government in
Jakarta.

The ambassador says ``we implement the law,'' but adds that
Indonesia is ``sensitive to demands by a large number of the
international community on this.''

SINGER MATTHEW WARD'S NEW BOOK IS TITLED 'MY SECOND CHAPTER'

MONUMENT, Colo. (AP) _ In his new book, ``My Second Chapter,''
Christian singer Matthew Ward says his brother-in-law Buck Herring
named the trio that Ward formed with his sisters.

Herring felt that God wanted the band to be called ``The Second
Chapter of Acts,'' a name Ward and his sisters initially rejected
as too long, awkward and ``stupid.'' But Herring convinced them to
read that chapter of the Bible and pray about it.

Ward jokes that if the pioneering contemporary Christian band
had played blues instead, they might have been named ``The Third
Chapter of Lamentations.''

One of the stories in his book recalls how guitarist Phil Keaggy
(KAY'-gee) was missing one night when he was touring with the band,
and Ward found him asleep in a band equipment case.

He says there are no plans for a ``Second Chapter of Acts''
reunion, ``but you never know.''

FORMER MUSLIM SCHOLAR HELPS OTHERS ESCAPE ISLAM

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Sam Solomon, who fled to Britain after
converting from Islam to Christianity years ago, says he now helps
others who face persecution for leaving Islam.

Solomon says he was a radical Islamic scholar before his
conversion because that's what the Quran teaches. He says young
Muslims who take their faith seriously can easily become
terrorists.

He warns that mosques in Britain and other countries are not
just places of worship, but also breeding grounds for political
extremists and holy warriors.

Solomon says the loving God of the Bible is unknown, and
unknowable, in Islam.

FREED SUSPECTS ALLEGE PROFILING IN TERROR ARRESTS

MARIETTA, Ohio (AP) _ Two Arab-American men who admit buying
some 600 cell phones have walked out of an Ohio jail after posting
bond of one-thousand dollars each.

Prosecutors are dropping terrorism charges against the pair,
saying there isn't enough evidence, although the investigation
remains open.

Relatives of the men claim they were making money reselling the
phones and were only targeted because they have Muslim names and
Arabic backgrounds.

The two were stopped for a traffic violation, during which
officers say they found a dozen cell phones, eleven-thousand
dollars in cash and information on airport security checkpoints.

The men still face charges for allegedly lying to officers.

Three other men were arrested in Michigan in a similar case.

CARDINAL TO REPORT WOMAN WHO SAYS SHE'S A PRIEST

PHILADELPHIA (AP) _ Philadelphia Cardinal Justin Rigali says his
archdiocese will inform the Vatican about a Philadelphia woman who
maintains she is a Roman Catholic priest.

Eileen McCafferty DiFranco took part in a ceremony in Pittsburgh
last month in which eight women were said to become Roman Catholic
priests and four were said to become deacons.

In a statement published on the archdiocese's Web site, Rigali
calls the ceremony an invalid ``simulated'' ordination, but doesn't
say whether he'll seek DiFranco's excommunication. He says, ``The
ultimate goal of any action taken against Mrs. DiFranco is to
encourage her repentance and reconciliation with the church.''

But the 54-year-old DiFranco says, ``I stand by my ordination.
God has called me to do this.''

WIFE CHARGED WITH MURDER OF HER PASTOR HUSBAND POSTS BOND

SELMER, Tenn. (AP) _ A minister's wife accused of killing her
husband after they argued over money has been released from jail on
750-thousand dollars' bond.

Mary Winkler is charged with killing the Reverend Matthew
Winkler last March at their church parsonage in Selmer, Tennessee.
She was arrested the following day in Alabama, where she had taken
the couple's three young daughters.

Winkler walked out of jail yesterday, keeping her head down and
refusing to answer questions.

Her father drove her away to live with friends and work at a dry
cleaners until her first-degree murder trial in October.

Her lawyer says Winkler is eager to see her daughters, who now
live with their paternal grandparents, but no arrangements have
been made.

SENATORS: BUDDHIST CHINESE OFFICIAL LECTURED THEM ON TIBET

CAPITOL HILL (AP) _ Minnesota Senators Mark Dayton and Norm
Coleman say that during their trip to China last week, a Buddhist
Chinese government official criticized the Dalai Lama and insisted
there is religious freedom in Tibet.

Dayton says the vice president of the China Buddhist Association
``definitely did not, in my eyes, demonstrate the kind of
compassion or enlightenment that I would associate with living
Buddhists or even aspirants.''

Coleman says the official maintained ``that the quality of life
is improving in Tibet, and that the Dali Lama's interests were
self-centered.''

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

APNP-08-16-06 0246CDT

Powered by Frankly