Update on the latest religion news

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Updated: Wed, 29 Jan 2014 04:15:15 EST


Folk singer wrote hit with Bible lyrics

NORTH HOLLYWOOD, Calif. (AP) — American troubadour Pete Seeger, who died Monday at the age of 94, is credited with writing one of the few hit songs whose lyrics were taken almost entirely from the Bible.

Paul Zollo (ZOH'-loh), who interviewed Seeger for his book "Songwriters on Songwriting," says the song "Turn, Turn, Turn" was written after Seeger's music publisher complained that he wanted Seeger to write something more popular than protest songs.

Zollo says Seeger had previously jotted the passage from the Bible's Book of Ecclesiastes on a slip of paper. Seeger said he rearranged a few words to rhyme and wrote the melody in 15 minutes. To Seeger's surprise, the publisher loved it and the 1960s band "The Byrds" made it a hit.

Zollo says Seeger told him he considered the Bible a book of folklore, containing both wisdom and foolishness.


220-a-10-(Paul Zollo (ZOH'-loh), author of "Songwriters on Songwriting", in AP interview)-"for a song"-Paul Zollo, author of "Songwriters on Songwriting," says Pete Seeger wrote "Turn, Turn, Turn" after his music publisher complained that he wrote too many protest songs. (28 Jan 2014)

<<CUT *220 (01/28/14)££ 00:10 "for a song"

219-a-17-(Paul Zollo (ZOH'-loh), author of "Songwriters on Songwriting", in AP interview)-"to somebody else"-Paul Zollo, author of "Songwriters on Songwriting," says Pete Seeger wrote "Turn, Turn, Turn" in response to a complaint about his songs. (28 Jan 2014)

<<CUT *219 (01/28/14)££ 00:17 "to somebody else"

218-a-16-(Paul Zollo (ZOH'-loh), author of "Songwriters on Songwriting", in AP interview)-"also the wisdom"-Paul Zollo, author of "Songwriters on Songwriting," says he asked Pete Seeger about the inspiration for his song "Turn, Turn, Turn." (28 Jan 2014)

<<CUT *218 (01/28/14)££ 00:16 "also the wisdom"

221-a-18-(Paul Zollo (ZOH'-loh), author of "Songwriters on Songwriting", in AP interview)-"I'm looking for"-Paul Zollo, author of "Songwriters on Songwriting," says Pete Seeger had jotted down the passage from the Bible's Book of Ecclesiastes thinking it might work in a song. (28 Jan 2014)

<<CUT *221 (01/28/14)££ 00:18 "I'm looking for"

222-r-32-(Pete Seeger, singing his song "Turn, Turn, Turn")--Sound of Pete Seeger singing his song "Turn, Turn, Turn." (28 Jan 2014)

<<CUT *222 (01/28/14)££ 00:32


Christian singer explains why she missed her Grammy Award win

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Christian singer Mandisa says she was at home watching Sunday's Grammy Awards ceremony online when her song "Overcomer" was named the best contemporary Christian music song. Minutes later, her album of the same name won the Grammy for best contemporary Christian music album.

Mandisa explained that she was at home alone "allowing the Lord to speak" to her and protect her from being either proud of winning or self-conscious about gaining back some of the weight she had lost.

As a Christian, Mandisa said she also had found some parts of past Grammy Awards ceremonies she attended uncomfortable to watch.

She says the song "Overcomer" applies to her, not as a personal achievement, but rather a recognition that Christ in her has overcome the world.

On her blog, Mandisa says, "I lay this trophy at the feet of my Jesus in humility, honor and gratitude for all He has done in, to, and through me."


339-a-13-(Mandisa, Christian singer, in AP interview)-"to go to"-Christian singer Mandisa says she felt that God led her to stay home from this year's Grammy Awards ceremony. (28 Jan 2014)

<<CUT *339 (01/28/14)££ 00:13 "to go to"

343-r-28-(Mandisa, Christian singer, singing "Overcomer")--Sound of Christian singer Mandisa performing her Grammy Award winning song "Overcomer." (28 Jan 2014)

<<CUT *343 (01/28/14)££ 00:28

338-r-13-(Mandisa, Christian singer, in posting on her blog)-"I'm not there"-Christian singer Mandisa reacts to seeing online that her song "Overcomer" had won a Grammy Award. (28 Jan 2014)

<<CUT *338 (01/28/14)££ 00:13 "I'm not there"

341-a-10-(Mandisa, Christian singer, in AP interview)-"out of water"-Christian singer Mandisa says she finds parts of the Grammy Award ceremonies objectionable. (28 Jan 2014)

<<CUT *341 (01/28/14)££ 00:10 "out of water"

340-a-12-(Mandisa, Christian singer, in AP interview)-"a brave face"-Christian singer Mandisa says she didn't want to be at the Grammy Awards after gaining back some of the weight she lost. (28 Jan 2014)

<<CUT *340 (01/28/14)££ 00:12 "a brave face"

342-a-06-(Mandisa, Christian singer, in AP interview)-"me an overcomer"-Christian singer Mandisa says her Grammy Award winning song has some personal application. (28 Jan 2014)

<<CUT *342 (01/28/14)££ 00:06 "me an overcomer"


Kerry meets family of American held by NKorea

WASHINGTON (AP) — Secretary of State John Kerry has met with relatives of an American missionary held by North Korea and is calling for him to be pardoned and immediately freed.

U.S. officials say the detainee, Kenneth Bae, is in poor health. He was arrested in November 2012 while leading a tour group and was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor for unspecified anti-government activity. Supporters say he did nothing wrong.

In a statement after Tuesday's meeting, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki (SAH'-kee) said Bae and his family have apologized publicly for actions that led to the conviction.

North Korea has given no sign it will free him. Bae was moved to a hospital last summer in poor health, but said at a news conference organized by Pyongyang earlier this month that he was being transferred back to prison.

Bae's mother Myunghee Bae and sister Terri Chung, who live in Washington state, attended President Barack Obama's State of the Union address.


4 shot at NC church; boy, 12, critically wounded

ROCKY MOUNT, N.C. (AP) — Police in a North Carolina town are searching for a shooter who sprayed a church playground with gunfire, striking four youths playing basketball and critically wounding a 12-year-old boy.

The Rev. James Gailliard at Word Tabernacle Church, in Rocky Mount, says the shooting happened Monday shortly before 6 p.m., as neighborhood teens played basketball on courts behind the sanctuary.

The pastor says he heard more than 15 gunshots and then held a boy shot in the head until authorities arrived.

The child was taken to a hospital by helicopter, where he remained in critical condition. Police said the others shot — ages 13, 17 and 19 — were treated and released.

The shooting comes just more than a week after a 15-year-old boy was shot and killed nearby.


Proposed Kansas response on gay marriage debated

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Gay-marriage opponents are urging Kansas legislators to approve new legal protections for bakeries, photographers and others who refuse for religious reasons to supply goods or services for same-sex weddings, anticipating that federal courts could soon strike down the state's ban on such unions.

But gay-rights advocates said the bill backed by social conservatives and the Kansas Catholic Conference would permit individuals, businesses and groups to discriminate against gays and lesbians and encourage government officials to ignore court rulings favoring gay marriage.

Federal judges in Oklahoma and Utah recently struck down bans in those states, which are under the jurisdiction of the same federal appeals court as Kansas.

Under the bill, no individual, business or religious group with "sincerely held religious beliefs" could be required by "any governmental entity" to provide services, facilities, goods, employment or employment benefits related to any same-sex marriage or domestic partnership. The measure prohibits anti-discrimination lawsuits on such grounds.


Rep: 'Pre-emptive' strike needed to help faithful

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Idaho lawmakers and conservative Christian allies contend their faith is under siege by gays, lesbians and the government, so they're launching a "pre-emptive" strike to bolster rights of licensed professionals to refuse services in support of events that violate their religious beliefs.

On Tuesday, state Rep. Lynn Luker introduced a measure to shield religious people from the threat of having their professional licenses revoked for declining service.

Luker says the use of anti-discrimination laws by gays and lesbians in other states shows that Idaho must act quickly to protect its citizens' religious rights.


Jimmy Carter writing book on women's rights

NEW YORK (AP) — Jimmy Carter's next book will be a defense of women's rights and an attack against those who use religion to deny them.

Simon & Shuster announced Tuesday that the former president's "A Call To Action: Women, Religion, Violence, and Power" will be published March 25. The publisher says Carter will draw upon personal observations from his worldwide travels as he condemns abuses of women and girls and the alleged distortions of religious texts cited as justification.

The 89-year-old Carter has written a wide range of books since leaving office in 1981, from memoirs and poetry to a controversial work on the Middle East, "Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid."


Philadelphia DA appeals in landmark church case

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Philadelphia prosecutors have asked Pennsylvania's highest court to restore a Roman Catholic church official's child endangerment conviction.

Monsignor William Lynn is on house arrest at a rectory after an appeals court threw out his case.

Lynn, the former secretary for clergy in Philadelphia, had been convicted of endangering children by transferring an abusive priest in the 1990s. The Superior Court said last month he should not have been charged because the law did not apply to supervisors. Lynn was freed after spending 18 months in prison.

Prosecutors appealed Monday to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

They say the trial judge correctly handled the case and say Lynn could have been convicted as an accomplice.

Lynn is the first U.S. church supervisor charged for his handling of sex abuse complaints against clergy.


Vatican Library, Japan institutes catalogue lost archive of persecuted Christians

VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Vatican library and four Japanese historical institutes have agreed to inventory, catalogue and digitize 10,000 documents from a lost Japanese archive detailing the crackdown on Christians in Japan in the 17th-19th centuries.

Monsignor Cesare Pasini, head of the Vatican's Apostolic Library, said the so-called Marega Papers represent the largest known civic archive of its kind. An Italian missionary priest took the 22 bundles of documents out of Japan in the 1940s and brought them to Rome. They sat in the Vatican library's storage depository for decades until a Vatican researcher who could read the characters realized their importance in 2010.

The six-year agreement signed Tuesday to inventory the documents and prepare them for study involves the National Institute of Japanese Literature and National Museum of Japanese History, among others.

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