Update on the latest religion news

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By AP

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Updated: Tue, 15 Jul 2014 07:20:49 EST

BISHOPS-SENATE-CONTRACEPTION

Catholic bishops oppose Senate bill to override contraception ruling

WASHINGTON (AP) — Two prominent Catholic bishops are warning the Senate that a bill aimed at overturning the Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby decision threatens religious rights and would likely reduce health coverage.

The letter from Boston Cardinal Sean O'Malley and Baltimore Archbishop William Lori (LOH'-ree) opposes Senate legislation aimed at ensuring that women receive free contraception coverage even if they work for a company that has a religious objection to it.

The bishops say the bill could override all religious exemptions from health care mandates, potentially forcing employers to cover abortions as well. They warn that employers with religious objections would likely feel compelled to drop all health insurance.

The Catholic leaders say that would wind up reducing rather than expanding health coverage.

Sound:

232-v-31-(Steve Coleman, AP religion editor)--Two prominent Catholic bishops are warning the Senate that a bill aimed at overturning the Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby decision threatens religious rights and would reduce health coverage. AP Religion Editor Steve Coleman reports. (14 Jul 2014)

<<CUT *232 (07/14/14)££ 00:31

BRITAIN-WOMEN BISHOPS

Church of England votes in favor of women bishops

LONDON (AP) — The Church of England has voted to allow women to enter its top ranks as bishops.

The church's General Synod approved the historic measure, reaching the required two-thirds majority in each of its three different houses.

The vote comes two years after similar legislation failed to reach a two-thirds majority among the General Synod's lay members, despite approval from bishops and clergy.

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said the long-awaited change marks the completion of a process that started more than 20 years ago with the ordination of women as priests. He called for tolerance and love for those traditionalists who disagree with the decision.

The Church of England is part of the Anglican Communion, which has the largest Christian denomination in Britain and a presence in more than 160 countries.

Sound:

176-a-11-(The Reverend Emma Percy, chaplain, Oxford's Trinity College, in interview)-"that has breadth"-The Church of England's Reverend Emma Percy, a chaplain at Oxford University, says the vote to allow women to enter its top ranks as bishops was a long time coming. COURTESY: Sky News ((mandatory on-air credit)) (14 Jul 2014)

<<CUT *176 (07/14/14)££ 00:11 "that has breadth"

177-a-15-(Sally Barnes, activist, Women and the Church, in interview)-"by the country"-Sally Barnes, with the group called Women and the Church, says she's overjoyed the Church of England has voted to allow women to enter its top ranks. COURTESY: Sky News ((mandatory on-air credit)) (14 Jul 2014)

<<CUT *177 (07/14/14)££ 00:15 "by the country"

169-w-35-(Kyle McKinnon, correspondent)--The Church of England has voted to allow women to enter its top ranks as bishops. Correspondent Kyle McKinnon. ((starts with sound of general assembly voting)) (14 Jul 2014)

<<CUT *169 (07/14/14)££ 00:35

170-c-19-(Kyle McKinnon, correspondent)-"in the church"-Correspondent Kyle McKinnon reports the Church of England has voted to allow women to enter its top ranks as bishops. (14 Jul 2014)

<<CUT *170 (07/14/14)££ 00:19 "in the church"

OBAMA-IFTAR

President hits hot topics at Ramadan dinner

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama has delivered measured remarks to Muslims attending the annual Ramadan iftar dinner at the White House.

Some attendees at Monday night's event were angry about a magazine's report that the National Security Agency and the FBI scanned the emails of five prominent Muslim-Americans under a secret surveillance program aimed at foreign terrorists and other national security threats.

The Obama administration has not confirmed the report in The Intercept. But the president said "no one should ever be targeted or disparaged because of their faith."

He also said that Americans have the right to practice any faith or no faith and can change religions. Not mentioned was the fact that Muslims in other parts of the world can be charged with apostasy if they convert to another religion. The president also praised an attendee from the Ahmadi branch of Islam, which many Muslims consider heretical.

Amid new conflict in the Mideast, Obama said that while the deaths of Palestinian civilians are tragic, Israel has the right to defend itself against "inexcusable" rocket attacks. He added that "further escalation benefits no one."

Sound:

260-a-06-(President Barack Obama, in remarks at White House Iftar dinner)-"of their faith"-President Barack Obama says Americans shouldn't be subject to surveillance because of their religion. (14 Jul 2014)

<<CUT *260 (07/14/14)££ 00:06 "of their faith"

259-a-11-(President Barack Obama, in remarks at White House Iftar dinner)-"faith at all"-President Barack Obama says Americans can practice any religion they want. (14 Jul 2014)

<<CUT *259 (07/14/14)££ 00:11 "faith at all"

261-a-11-(President Barack Obama, in remarks at White House Iftar dinner)-"of all people"-President Barack Obama says Israelis and Palestinians must find a way to live together. (14 Jul 2014)

<<CUT *261 (07/14/14)££ 00:11 "of all people"

262-a-05-(President Barack Obama, in remarks at White House Iftar dinner)-"the Palestinian people"-President Barack Obama says Israelis and Palestinians should practice restraint. (14 Jul 2014)

<<CUT *262 (07/14/14)££ 00:05 "the Palestinian people"

263-a-15-(President Barack Obama, in remarks at White House Iftar dinner)-"is a tragedy"-President Barack Obama says Israelis and Palestinians both have legitimate concerns. (14 Jul 2014)

<<CUT *263 (07/14/14)££ 00:15 "is a tragedy"

TERROR PLOT-ARREST

Fire destroys restaurant owned by terror suspect

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (AP) — Fire has destroyed an upstate New York restaurant owned by a man who was charged last month with plotting to attack members of the U.S. military and the Muslim community.

Local media report that firefighters responded late Sunday night to a report of a fire at the former Mojoes Restaurant in Rochester.

Firefighters had to break down the boarded-up door of the building to get inside. Officials say the restaurant's interior was destroyed.

In June, the restaurant's 30-year-old owner, Mufid Elfgeeh, was arrested after federal prosecutors said he bought two unregistered guns from an FBI informant. Investigators say he plotted to kill returning U.S. troops for American actions overseas and Shiite Muslims over the civil war in Syria.

Elfgeeh, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Yemen, is being held in Monroe County Jail.

FAITH-BASED COUNSELORS

State to license counselors who are also pastors

ST. MATTHEWS, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky is the sixth state to license pastoral counselors to help people with issues such as marital difficulties, addictions and depression.

A new law allowing the licensing is expected to cover about 30 pastors who also work as mental and behavioral health counselors across the state. They will be called Kentucky licensed pastoral counselors, and their work will be covered by insurance policies for those who desire faith-based mental health services.

The other states licensing pastoral counselors are Arkansas, Maine, New Hampshire, North Carolina and Tennessee.

The law requires licensed pastoral counselors to hold a master of pastoral counseling degree as well as a master's degree in counseling, 1,375 hours of supervised practice, and 250 hours of clinical work and supervision. They also must pass a written board exam.

MARRIAGE CEREMONIES-SECULARISTS

Ruling: Secular groups can solemnize Ind. weddings

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A federal appeals court says secular humanists can preside over marriages in Indiana just as pastors, rabbis and other clergy do.

The 7th U.S. Circuit of Appeals ruled that a federal judge in Indianapolis should issue an injunction allowing secular humanist celebrants to solemnize Indiana marriages.

The Center for Inquiry had challenged an Indiana law that allows only clergy and public officials to solemnize marriages.

U.S. District Judge Sara Evans Barker upheld the law in 2012.

Center for Inquiry Executive Director Reba Boyd Wooden calls Monday's ruling "a big step forward in recognizing the rights of nonreligious persons." The group believes in fostering a secular society based on science, reason, freedom of inquiry and humanist values.

Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller (ZEHL'-ur) said he might appeal Monday's ruling.

HATCHET ATTACK-DETROIT CHURCH

Officer shoots hatchet-wielding man outside church

DETROIT (AP) — Detroit police say an off-duty officer shot and wounded a 27-year-old man who attacked him with a hatchet during services at a northwest Detroit church.

Police spokesman Officer Adam Madera says the injured officer is a member of Citadel of Praise church and was trying to calm down the man about 11:30 a.m. Sunday.

Madera says the man is believed to have a mental illness. The spokesman says the man attacked the officer with the hatchet outside the church.

Madera says the officer fell but was able to reach his handgun and shoot the man. Madera says another officer responding to a 9-1-1 call also shot the man, who was hospitalized in critical condition Monday.

Madera says the off-duty officer received minor leg injuries.

DEAD SEA SCROLLS

After appeal, jail in NYC Dead Sea Scrolls case

NEW YORK (AP) — A man convicted of using digital-age tools to impersonate and malign his father's academic rivals on the subject of the ancient Dead Sea Scrolls has been sentenced to two months in jail.

New York's highest court had tossed out some of Raphael Golb's convictions — and with them, an aggravated-harassment law — but upheld his convictions for criminal impersonation and forgery. Golb acknowledged disguising his identity in emails and blog posts, but argued that the electronic barbs were satire, not crime.

Containing the earliest known versions of portions of the Hebrew Bible, the scrolls have enhanced scholars' understanding of the history of Judaism and the beginnings of Christianity since their discovery in caves in Israel, beginning in the 1940s. Some researchers believe the texts were assembled by a sect known as the Essenes; others — including Golb's father, historian Norman Golb — say the writings were the work of a range of Jewish groups and communities.

Sound:

157-c-15-(Warren Levinson, AP correspondent)-"the harrassment law"-AP correspondent Warren Levinson reports the Dead Sea Scrolls changed New York state law. (14 Jul 2014)

<<CUT *157 (07/14/14)££ 00:15 "the harrassment law"

156-c-15-(Warren Levinson, AP correspondent)-"in his mouth"-AP correspondent Warren Levinson reports Raphael Golb was convicted of harrassing his father's academic rivals online in arguments about the Dead Sea Scrolls. (14 Jul 2014)

<<CUT *156 (07/14/14)££ 00:15 "in his mouth"

155-v-33-(Warren Levinson, AP correspondent)--An academic harassment case that began with a debate about the Dead Sea Scrolls has resulted in jail time for a scholar's son. AP correspondent Warren Levinson reports. (14 Jul 2014)

<<CUT *155 (07/14/14)££ 00:33

NOTRE DAME-BIBLE

Notre Dame to receive Bible of pioneer priest

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — The University of Notre Dame has acquired a Bible once owned by the first Roman Catholic priest ordained in the United States, who built a log chapel on land that is now the school's campus.

The Sisters of Loretto of Nerinx, Kentucky, are donating the Bible of the Rev. Stephen Badin. Notre Dame's founder, the Rev. Edward Sorin, began building the university 172 years ago on land where Badin built the Log Chapel for his mission headquarters.

The chapel burned down in 1858, but a replica still stands on campus.

The Badin Bible was published in 1790 and was given to Badin at his ordination in 1793 by Bishop John Carroll of Baltimore, the nation's first Catholic bishop.

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