Religion Roundup - Ramsey's Former Church Prays for JonBenet and Mom - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

August 21, 2006

Religion Roundup - Ramsey's Former Church Prays for JonBenet and Mom

RAMSEY'S FORMER CHURCH PRAYS FOR JONBENET AND MOM

BOULDER, Colo. (AP) _ Members of the Colorado church where Patsy
Ramsey once taught Sunday school have remembered their late
parishioner and her slain daughter in their prayers.

The congregation of St. John's Episcopal Church in Boulder
worshiped Sunday as John Mark Karr was being returned from Thailand
in connection with the 1996 death of Jonbenet Ramsey.

One parishioner acknowledged the questions surrounding Karr's
confession and said, ``It's in God's hands.'' But she added that
regardless of the answers, ``the little girl won't come back.''

NORTH KOREA REPORTS VISIT BY FRANKLIN GRAHAM ASSOCIATE

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) _ North Korea's official news agency
says the communist nation's foreign minister held talks with a U-S
delegation led by a special assistant to the Reverend Franklin
Graham.

The Korean Central News Agency says Foreign Minister Paek Nam
Sun met with Melvin Cheatham, but didn't say what was discussed or
why the American delegation visited.

Graham and his father, evangelist Billy Graham, have had
relations with the communist North for years. The senior Graham
went to North Korea in 1992 and in 1994 at the invitation of the
then-North Korean leader Kim Il Sung, the late father of current
leader Kim Jong Il.

In 2000, the junior Graham went to North Korea and preached in
churches, and his relief agency Samaritan's Purse has been allowed
to do limited humanitarian work inside the isolated country.

OFFICIAL PREDICTS JESUS PORTRAIT WILL HANG AGAIN IN SCHOOL

BRIDGEPORT, W.V. (AP) _ A member of West Virginia's Harrison
County Board of Education says he expects the portrait of Jesus
that was stolen from Bridgeport High School to be either returned
or replaced.

Mike Queen says police think they may know who broke into the
school and took the picture last week, two days after the school
board voted to use private donations to fight a lawsuit seeking its
removal. He believes the suspect is a young ex-student who didn't
realize that stealing evidence was a federal offense.

Since the picture is gone, the lawsuit to remove it could become
moot, but Queen says, ``We don't want the issue to go away.'' He
says a Methodist church in Bridgeport has offered the school board
a replacement portrait of Jesus if the stolen one isn't recovered.

CHRISTIAN POLICE CHIEF COPING WITH MURDER SURGE

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) _ For Police Chief Annetta Nunn,
Christianity and crime fighting are intertwined, so she sees a
spiritual dimension to the surging murder rate in Birmingham,
Alabama.

Nunn believes that anytime Christians speak boldly, ``Satan is
going to attack,'' and wonders if that's one reason that homicides
in Birmingham are up more than 25 percent over last year.

Critics claim the city needs more hard-nosed policing and less
Christian rhetoric.

Since being appointed in 2003, Nunn has promoted a Bible-based
plan to clean up rundown neighborhoods and has supported police
chaplains who hold revivals in crime-ridden communities.

She believes in locking up criminals, but also talks of working
with pastors to discourage crime and change hearts. The baseball
cap behind her desk says ``God Answers Prayers.''

CHURCH DEFENDS FEMALE TEACHER'S DISMISSAL

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (AP) _ The pastor of a church that has stopped
letting women teach Sunday school says that won't affect his
decisions as a city councilman in upstate New York.

Watertown's First Baptist Church recently dismissed a woman who
had taught Sunday school for 54 years, citing the biblical advice
of the apostle Paul: ``I do not permit a woman to teach or to have
authority over a man; she must be silent.''

But as a city councilman, the Reverend Timothy LaBouf (lah-BUF')
says he believes that a woman can perform any job she wants --
outside of the church.

The church board has issued a statement saying there were other,
unnamed issues behind the female Sunday school teacher's dismissal.

UTAH TEENS DEFEND THEIR POLYGAMOUS PARENTS

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) _ Children and young adults from polygamist
families are calling for an end to Utah's constitutional ban on
plural marriage.

Organizers say about 250 people took part in the weekend rally
in Salt Lake City, including more than a dozen youths, ages ten to
20, who said they benefit from having multiple moms and siblings.

First brought to Utah by the Mormon church in 1846, polygamy was
abandoned by Mormons as a condition of statehood in 1890. The
church now excommunicates members found to be practicing plural
marriage. It also disavows self-described fundamentalist Mormons,
who continue to believe that plural marriage is the key to eternal
salvation.

The young protesters said they belong to various religious
groups, as well as families that practice polygamy independent of
religious affiliation.

CALIFORNIA G-O-P INCLUDES JEWS, MUSLIMS

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ California Republicans say their party is
attracting both Jewish and Muslim voters.

At the state G-O-P convention in Los Angeles over the weekend,
Dr. Joel Geiderman (GY'-dur-mun) said he's among a growing number
of Jews who vote Republican.

Geiderman, a Beverly Hills emergency room surgeon, is California
chairman of the Jewish Republican Coalition.

Also attending the convention was Anahita Nemat (ah-nah-HEE-tah
nay-MAT'), a 25-year-old Iranian-American Muslim and Orange County
Republican. Nemat said she believes the G-O-P is in tune with the
Islamic values of morality, faith and family.

ANGLICAN ARCHBISHOP CONCLUDES FAST FOR MIDEAST VICTIMS

LONDON (AP) _ The Archbishop of York, the second-highest-ranking
cleric in the Church of England, has completed a week of fasting
and prayer for victims of the conflict in the Middle East.

During the fast, Archbishop John Sentamu had his head shaved,
was anointed with oil, consumed only liquid and slept in a tent
inside York minster cathedral in northern England.

He led prayers for peace throughout the week and asked people
across Britain do the same for the victims of the conflict between
Israel and Hezbollah guerrillas.

At the cathedral's Sunday service, Sentamu said that after a
week of fasting and prayer he's ``more persuaded than ever that
wars and violence cannot lead to a long lasting solution.''

POPE APPEALS FOR RELEASE OF PRIEST KIDNAPPED IN BAGHDAD

VATICAN CITY (AP) _ Pope Benedict has appealed for the release
of a priest kidnapped at gunpoint in Baghdad last week.

In a telegram, the pontiff said he was ``deeply saddened'' by
the abduction of the Reverend Hanna Saad Sirop on Tuesday. The pope
also made a ``heartfelt appeal to the abductors to release the
young priest at once, so that he can return to the service of God,
the Christian community and his countrymen.''

Bishops from all of Baghdad's Christian churches have sent a
letter to the Iraqi government asking them to help secure the
release of the 34-year-old priest.

The Italian missionary news agency MISNA reports that a large
ransom was asked for his release.

POPE SAYS OVERWORK BURDENS THE HEART, MIND AND SPIRIT

CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy (AP) _ Pope Benedict says people
shouldn't work too hard because it's bad for the heart, the mind
and the spirit.

The 79-year-old pope is taking his own advice. After taking a
vacation in the Italian Alps last month, he's spending what remains
of this month and much of September in the papal palace in a
lakeside town southeast of Rome.

Benedict blessed visitors at his summer residence Sunday and
quoted the writings of St. Bernard from the 12th century, who
warned that overwork can lead to ``hardening of the heart'' as well
as ``suffering of the spirit'' and ``loss of intelligence.''

REVERED ICON OF VIRGIN MARY STOLEN IN GREECE

ATHENS, Greece (AP) _ Police have set up roadblocks and launched
searches for a 700-year-old religious icon that was stolen from a
monastery in southern Greece.

The Icon of The Virgin Mary, which is credited with miracles,
was reported missing Friday at the Orthodox Christian monastery of
Elona, southwest of Athens.

The local bishop said he believes the thieves used climbing
equipment to reach the monastery, which is built into the face of a
cliff.

Thousands of worshipers every year visit the icon, which the
bishop describes as ``priceless.''

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

APNP-08-21-06 0408CDT

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