Romney: Birth control mandate is dangerous
BOWLING GREEN, Ohio (AP) — Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney says the contraceptive coverage mandate in the federal health care law sets "a dangerous and unfortunate precedent."
At a town hall meeting in Ohio this week, Romney said President Barack Obama's administration is usurping religious liberty by requiring employers to provide insurance coverage that violates their consciences.
Roman Catholics have been the most prominent opponents of the mandate, but Romney said all Americans should consider themselves Catholics on this issue and "push back."
He pledged to get rid of the health care law and its birth control mandate if he's elected president.
339-a-10-(Mitt Romney, GOP presidential candidate, at town hall meeting)-"and unfortunate precedent"-Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney says the birth control mandate forces many employers to violate their beliefs. (19 Jul 2012)
<<CUT *339 (07/19/12)>> 00:10 "and unfortunate precedent"
338-a-16-(Mitt Romney, GOP presidential candidate, at town hall meeting)-"you provide products"-Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney says the health care law's birth control mandate violates Americans' freedom of religion. (19 Jul 2012)
<<CUT *338 (07/19/12)>> 00:16 "you provide products"
336-w-58-(Steve Coleman, AP religion editor, with Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney)--Religion Roundup: GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney says the health care law's birth control mandate sets a dangerous precedent. AP Religion Editor Steve Coleman reports. (19 Jul 2012)
<<CUT *336 (07/19/12)>> 00:58
340-a-12-(Mitt Romney, GOP presidential candidate, at town hall meeting)-"back against that"-Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney says Catholics shouldn't be the only Americans concerned about the birth control mandate. (19 Jul 2012)
<<CUT *340 (07/19/12)>> 00:12 "back against that"
Chick-fil-A takes stand for traditional marriage
ATLANTA (AP) — The president of Chick-fil-A is taking a public stand for traditional marriage.
Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy told Baptist Press that the fast-food chain supports the Bible's definition of marriage as the union of a man and a woman. He said Chick-fil-A is a family-owned business and added, "We are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that."
Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign that promotes same-sex-marriage, criticized Cathy's remarks. He said they show that Chick-fil-A is an "openly discriminatory company" with a "stuck-in-the-past mentality."
Chick-fil-A released its own statement, saying it applies biblical principles to its business, treats everyone with respect and will "leave the policy debate over same-sex marriage to the government and political arena."
281-v-34-(Steve Coleman, AP religion editor)--The president of fast-food chain Chick-fil-A is taking a public stand for traditional marriage. AP Religion Editor Steve Coleman reports. (19 Jul 2012)
<<CUT *281 (07/19/12)>> 00:34
Jeremy Lin lands in Houston
HOUSTON (AP) — Jeremy Lin says his three-year, $25 million contract with the Houston Rockets is "a huge blessing from God."
The 23-year-old point guard's play for the New York Knicks this past season electrified fans before he was sidelined by a knee injury.
Lin told reporters in Houston that he's excited about playing for the Rockets and will "try to be a humble leader" and serve his teammates.
Asked how he'll handle the pressure of his new role as Houston's star player, he said he just intends to play hard and play for God.
Lin has been forthright about his Christian faith. He told the Houston media, "The biggest thing for me is waking up every day trying to glorify God and give my best effort and get better as a person and as a player."
300-a-17-(Jeremy Lin, new Rockets guard, with reporters)-"in as well"-New Rockets guard Jeremy Lin says he's looking forward to playing for the Rockets. ((note length of cut)) (19 Jul 2012)
<<CUT *300 (07/19/12)>> 00:17 "in as well"
303-a-19-(Jeremy Lin, new Rockets guard, with reporters)-"organization move forward"-new Rockets guard Jeremy Lin says he's grateful for his experience in New York but is now ready to contribute to the Rockets success. ((note length of cut)) (19 Jul 2012)
<<CUT *303 (07/19/12)>> 00:19 "organization move forward"
301-a-12-(Jeremy Lin, new Rockets guard, with reporters)-"serve my teammates"-New Rockets guard Jeremy Lin says he pledges to give a top effort. (19 Jul 2012)
<<CUT *301 (07/19/12)>> 00:12 "serve my teammates"
Conn. town agrees to end graduations at church
ENFIELD, Conn. (AP) — A Connecticut school board has agreed to stop holding high school graduation ceremonies in a church.
The Enfield Board of Education voted Wednesday night to settle a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and Americans United for Separation of Church and State.
The groups sued the board in 2010 on behalf of students and parents who objected to holding graduations for Enfield and Fermi high schools at The First Cathedral in Bloomfield, where banners read "Jesus Christ is Lord" and "I am GOD." They argued that the church graduation ceremonies violated the First Amendment guarantees of religious freedom.
The ACLU of Connecticut says the school board's decision means no one will be "forced into an overtly religious setting" to attend a public school function.
The school board had said the church had enough space at the right price.
Tenn. mosque not ready to open for Ramadan's start
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee Muslims who won a court battle to occupy their new mosque will have to wait a little longer while construction is finished.
Construction supervisor David Salimi said a codes inspector visited the site near Murfreesboro on Thursday morning but determined that it will take about two more weeks of work to be ready.
Members had hoped to be in the new Islamic Center of Murfreesboro by sundown Thursday, the beginning of Ramadan.
Mosque members and federal prosecutors persuaded a federal judge Wednesday to order the county to push ahead with approving the building for use. Mosque opponents waged a two-year court battle and won a delay in the opening earlier this month.
246-c-12-(Travis Loller (LAW'-lur), AP correspondent)-"noise or traffic"-AP correspondent Travis Loller reports that neighbors of the mosque have opposed it in court for two years, and they've made their reason clear. (19 Jul 2012)
<<CUT *246 (07/19/12)>> 00:12 "noise or traffic"
245-c-07-(Travis Loller (LAW'-lur), AP correspondent)-"certificate of occupancy"-AP correspondent Travis Loller reports that a federal judge has cleared the way for the congregation to move into the mosque soon. (19 Jul 2012)
<<CUT *245 (07/19/12)>> 00:07 "certificate of occupancy"
244-c-09-(Travis Loller (LAW'-lur), AP correspondent)-"point during Ramadan"-AP correspondent Travis Loller reports that a Muslim congregation can't move into its new mosque just yet. (19 Jul 2012)
<<CUT *244 (07/19/12)>> 00:09 "point during Ramadan"
247-c-14-(Travis Loller (LAW'-lur), AP correspondent)-"they have proven"-AP correspondent Travis Loller reports that opponents of the mosque have stressed their opposition to Islam. (19 Jul 2012)
<<CUT *247 (07/19/12)>> 00:14 "they have proven"
FORT HOOD SHOOTING
Lawmaker: New Fort Hood report shows FBI missteps
WASHINGTON (AP) — A Texas congressman says political correctness prevented the FBI from investigating an Army psychiatrist who was later charged with killing 13 people at Fort Hood, Texas, despite warning signs that he was an Islamic extremist bent on killing civilians.
Rep. Michael McCaul was briefed on the findings of an independent review by former FBI Director William Webster.
McCaul says that in emails to a known terrorist, Army Maj. Nidal Hasan had expressed his support for suicide bombings and killing civilians, while the terrorist encouraged Hasan to keep in touch.
McCaul says Webster's report shows that the FBI saw the emails almost a year before the shooting rampage, but was reluctant to investigate an American Muslim in the military.
Hasan is currently being tried in a military court.
FOOD BANK FATALITY
Van backs over pastor at NE Indiana food bank
FORT WAYNE, Ind. (AP) — Police say an Indiana pastor has died after his wife backed their van over him at a food bank.
Police say the Rev. James Haugen died Thursday at the Community Harvest Food Bank in Fort Wayne
WANE-TV says Haugen was a pastor at Living Waters Lutheran Church in Wolf Lake and was helping to load supplies for the Wolf Lake Food Bank at the time of the accident. Wolf Lake is about 25 miles northwest of Fort Wayne.
Police said Haugen was behind the van and giving directions when his wife accidentally backed over him.
Police say food bank employees used a forklift to lift the car off of Haugen but he died later at a hospital.
Pa. monsignor seeks probation in landmark case
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The first U.S. church official convicted of endangering children in the priest-abuse scandal hopes for a sentence of house arrest or probation.
Monsignor William Lynn of Philadelphia awaits sentencing Tuesday.
He's the former secretary for clergy at the city's Roman Catholic archdiocese, and handled priest assignments and abuse complaints.
The 61-year-old Lynn faces up to seven years in prison after a jury convicted him last month of felony endangerment. But Lynn argues in a memo filed Thursday that most people serve far less time for that crime.
Lynn has spent a month in prison since the verdict. He now seeks a term of house arrest, community service, work release or probation.
Lynn plans to appeal his landmark conviction.
Prosecutors are expected to seek the maximum prison term.
Breakaway traditionalists send pope mixed message
VATICAN CITY (AP) — A breakaway group of traditionalist Roman Catholics has sent the Vatican mixed messages about ending a quarter-century of schism, one of Pope Benedict's key priorities.
The Society of St. Pius X said it had approved the legal way it could eventually reconcile with the Holy See, but is waiting for an "open and serious debate" on what it views as the "errors" of the modernizing reforms of the Second Vatican Council.
The late Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre founded the society in 1969 out of opposition to Vatican II's introduction of Mass in the vernacular and outreach to Jews and people of other faiths, among other issues. In 1988, the Vatican excommunicated Lefebvre and four of his bishops after he consecrated them without papal consent.
Benedict has spent nearly his entire seven-year pontificate seeking to accommodate the society and end the schism. He has restored the use of the old Latin Mass, removed the bishops' excommunications and allowed them two years of theological dialogue with the Vatican.
ORTHODOX BISHOP RESIGNATION
Leader of US Orthodox church quits amid rape claim
GARDEN CITY, N.Y. (AP) — The leader of the New York-based Orthodox Church in America has resigned amid questions about whether he failed to report an allegation of a rape by a priest to church officials or law enforcement.
The church issued a statement from Washington Archbishop Metropolitan Jonah saying he submitted his resignation July 6. The letter from Jonah had come at the request of the Holy Synod of Bishops. Jonah did not refer to the rape allegation.
The church issued a three-page statement July 16. It said Jonah had failed to report to authorities a 2010 rape allegation involving an unidentified priest. It said an investigation of the allegation was being performed by the church.
There are 80,000 church members in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.
Lawsuit claims St. John's Abbey knew of past abuse
ST. CLOUD, Minn. (AP) — A former student is suing St. John's Abbey for fraud, alleging the religious order knew one of its members had been accused of sexual abuse as early as 1958, yet let him continue teaching.
The lawsuit was filed by a former St. John's Prep student who claims he was sexually abused by the Rev. Allen Tarlton in the 1980s, when Tarlton was an English teacher at the Minnesota school.
According to the St. Cloud Times, the lawsuit alleges at least three abbots knew of the allegations against Tarlton, but put him in teaching roles at St. John's Prep, and at other locations in other states and the Bahamas.
The lawsuit claims the abbey committed fraud by not telling students about Tarlton's history and instead holding out the abbey, prep school and university as places where children would be safe from abuse.