Update on the latest religion news

POPE-CATHOLIC WORLD MEETING

Pope Francis confirms trip to the United States

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput (SHAP’-yoo) says the pope’s visit to next year’s World Meeting of Families will boost attendance a hundredfold.

Chaput told participants at a Vatican conference this week that 10,000 to 15,000 people were expected at next September’s meeting before Pope Francis announced he would attend. Now, more than a million people are expected.

Chaput says the church is “blessed” that many of the costs will be picked up by private and corporate donors.

He adds that the Philadelphia meeting will be more than just a Catholic conference. Chaput says there will be presentations on family issues by Protestant, Mormon, Jewish and Muslim speakers.

Sound:

345-a-10-(Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput (SHAP’-yoo), at Vatican conference)-“faces with us”-Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput says people of all faiths are invited to the World Meeting of Families. (20 Nov 2014)

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342-a-07-(Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput (SHAP’-yoo), at Vatican conference)-“than a million”-Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput says Pope Francis’s visit to next September’s World Meeting of Families will vastly boost attendance. (20 Nov 2014)

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344-a-10-(Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput (SHAP’-yoo), at Vatican conference)-“of confessional divides”-Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput says the World Meeting of Families will be more than a Catholic conference. (20 Nov 2014)

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343-a-11-(Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput (SHAP’-yoo), at Vatican conference)-“the broader community”-Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput says the Catholic church’s World Meeting of Families will be expensive to stage. (20 Nov 2014)

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341-w-27-(Steve Coleman, AP religion editor, with Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput (SHAP’-yoo))–Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput says Pope Francis’s visit to next year’s World Meeting of Families will boost attendance a hundredfold. AP Religion Editor Steve Coleman reports. (20 Nov 2014)

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EMERGENCY CONTRACEPTIVES

Appeals court hears emergency contraceptives case

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Federal appeals court judges have challenged the state of Washington’s decision to force a pharmacy to prescribe emergency contraceptives, but also have questioned the pharmacy owners’ dedication to public health.

Thursday’s arguments before a 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel took place more than seven years after the Washington state Pharmacy Board ruled that pharmacies could not refuse to sell a lawful product like the emergency contraceptive Plan B because of moral or religious beliefs.

Two pharmacists and an Olympia pharmacy owner sued the state in 2007, arguing their constitutional religious rights were being violated.

A compromise rule was adopted that allowed individual pharmacists who had moral objections to pass the sale to another employee in the same store, provided the patient’s order was filled without delay. But that left few options for a lone pharmacist or for a pharmacy owner who has moral objections to a particular drug.

Sound:

317-a-04-(Kristen Waggoner, attorney for the pharmacy owner, addressing 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel)-“in the state”-Kristen Waggoner, attorney for the pharmacy owner, says patients can get any needed drug through referrals. (20 Nov 2014)

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316-a-04-(Kristen Waggoner, attorney for the pharmacy owner, addressing 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel)-“against religious objectors”-Attorney Kristen Waggoner says Washington officials discriminated against the pharmacy owner for religious reasons. (20 Nov 2014)

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319-a-05-(Kristen Waggoner, attorney for the pharmacy owner, addressing 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel)-“and targeted them”-Attorney Kristen Waggoner says the complaints against the pharmacy were contrived. (20 Nov 2014)

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318-a-09-(Tom Bader, attorney for Washington state, addressing 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel)-“emergency, uh, medicine”-Tom Bader, attorney for Washington state, says there’s evidence of problems created by pharmacist religious exemptions. (20 Nov 2014)

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FORSYTH COMMISSIONERS-PRAYER

US judge allows Forsyth officials resuming prayers

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) — A federal judge in North Carolina says sectarian prayers can resume before meetings of the Forsyth County commissioners.

U.S. District Judge James Beaty on Thursday removed a 2010 order banning commissioners from having clergy deliver pre-meeting prayers that refer to Jesus Christ or other deities. Beaty allowed the American Civil Liberties Union to return to court if there is evidence commissioners discriminate in who can offer prayers.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in May that allowing Christian prayers at public meetings was in line with long national traditions as long as the prayers do not denigrate non-Christians or try to win converts.

Forsyth County said persons of any faith are welcome to offer a prayer.

The ACLU had argued that Forsyth County’s rules limited prayers to religious leaders from established local congregations.

Sound:

269-a-10-(Brett Harvey, senior counsel with the Alliance Defending Freedom, in prepared statement)-“in Forsyth County”-Brett Harvey, a senior counsel with the Alliance Defending Freedom, says North Carolina’s Forsyth County commissioners welcome prayers by people of any faith. (20 Nov 2014)

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268-a-12-(Brett Harvey, senior counsel with the Alliance Defending Freedom, in prepared statement)-“County’s prayer policy”-Brett Harvey, a senior counsel with the Alliance Defending Freedom, says Thursday’s ruling is in line with a Supreme Court decision earlier this year. (20 Nov 2014)

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160-a-14-(Tallahassee Mayor-elect Andrew Gillum, at news conference)-“incidents like this”-Tallahassee Mayor-elect Andrew Gillum suggests prayers in the aftermath of this shooting. (20 Nov 2014)

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SCHOOL SERMON LAWSUIT

Student suing Everett district over religion

EVERETT, Wash. (AP) — An Everett, Washington, high school student who was suspended for preaching and handing out Christian booklets is suing the school district.

Michael Leal says he was suspended three times in October at Cascade High School in violation of his free speech rights.

KIRO reports that school officials say he was suspended for being disruptive, not for the content of his message.

The federal lawsuit was filed Monday in Seattle with the help of the Pacific Justice Institute.

COUNTY GOP OFFICIAL-MUSLIM REMARKS

County GOP official calls Muslims ‘parasites’

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The chairman of the Republican Party of Minnesota is condemning comments about Muslims a county GOP chair made on his Facebook page.

Big Stone County GOP Chair Jack Whitley called Muslims “parasites” and wrote “FRAG ‘EM!” when they travel to Mecca, slang for a fragmentation hand grenade.

The Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations on Thursday called on Republican leaders to repudiate Whitley’s comments.

In a statement, Minnesota GOP Chairman Keith Downey said Whitley’s comments “could not be further from the Republican Party’s beliefs.” Downey noted the party has endorsed its first Somali-American candidate for the Legislature.

Whitley told The Associated Press the comments were on his personal Facebook page and have “nothing to do with the GOP.”

Whitley’s comments were first reported by the Bluestem Prairie blog.

UNITED NATIONS-POPE

Pope demands just distribution of world’s bounty

ROME (AP) — Pope Francis has demanded a more just distribution of the world’s bounty for the poor and hungry, telling a U.N. conference on nutrition that access to food is a basic human right which shouldn’t be subject to market speculation and quests for profit.

In a speech Thursday at the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, Francis said: “We ask for dignity, not for charity.”

Francis recalled that when St. John Paul II addressed the first U.N. conference on nutrition in 1992, he warned against the risk of the “‘paradox of plenty,’ in which there is food for everyone, but not everyone can eat, while waste, excessive consumption and the use of food for other purposes is visible before our very eyes.”

Unfortunately, Francis said, that paradox remains today.

Sound:

252-r-03-(Pope Francis, speaking in Spanish to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization)–Pope Francis, speaking Spanish, says: “We ask for dignity, not charity.” (20 Nov 2014)

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251-r-13-(Pope Francis, speaking in Spanish to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization)–Pope Francis, speaking Spanish, says: “The hungry are still there, on street corners, and ask to be recognized as citizens, to be able to benefit from a healthy diet.” (20 Nov 2014)

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254-a-08-(Brian Thompson, chief nutritionist, U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, in AP interview)-“families are required”-Brian Thompson, chief nutritionist of the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, says most hunger in the world is caused by poverty. (20 Nov 2014)

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253-a-12-(Brian Thompson, chief nutritionist, U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, in AP interview)-“exclusion, economic marginalization”-Brian Thompson, chief nutritionist of the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, says social problems cause much of the world’s hunger. (20 Nov 2014)

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VATICAN-CHURCH-ABUSE

Papal official tempers point about accused bishops

VATICAN CITY (AP) — The head of Pope Francis’s commission to fight sex abuse is tempering his remarks about accountability for bishops accused of covering up for abusive priests, saying they deserve a fair hearing, too.

Cardinal Sean O’Malley, archbishop of Boston, told “60 Minutes” last week that the Vatican must “urgently” address the situation of Kansas City Bishop Robert Finn, the highest-ranking church official in the U.S. to be convicted of failing to take action in response to abuse allegations.

In a comment posted Wednesday on thebostonpilot.com, the website of the archdiocesan newspaper of Boston, O’Malley stood by his remarks but said bishops deserve due process even as they are held accountable for protecting abusers.

GERMANY-CHURCH-REMARRIAGE

German court backs Catholic clinic on dismissal

BERLIN (AP) — Germany’s highest court has overturned a ruling that a Catholic-run hospital wrongly dismissed a senior doctor for remarrying.

The case involved the chief doctor of internal medicine at a Catholic hospital who was divorced from his first wife in 2008 then remarried in a civil ceremony.

The following year, the hospital dismissed him with six months’ notice. However, a court nullified the dismissal.

The Federal Constitutional Court said Thursday the legal system “cannot override the church’s conception of itself” so long as that doesn’t clash with the German constitution. It referred the case back to a lower federal court, saying the “significance and extent” of the church’s rights had not been sufficiently considered.

The Roman Catholic church doesn’t allow divorced and remarried Catholics to receive Communion.

INDIA-ASHRAM RAID

Police arrest guru ending India standoff

NEW DELHI (AP) — Police have arrested a controversial Hindu religious leader at his sprawling ashram in India, ending a days-long standoff in which six people died and hundreds were injured.

Haryana state spokesman Jawahar Yadav says police arrested Sant Rampal and took him to Chandigarh, where he was to appear before a court Friday.

The 63-year-old Hindu guru is wanted for questioning in a 2006 murder case, but has repeatedly ignored orders to appear in court. Yadav said police also have filed fresh charges against Rampal and some of his supporters, including sedition, murder, criminal conspiracy and detaining people illegally in his fortress.

Authorities say riot police tried to storm Rampal’s ashram on Tuesday, but his followers, some of them using guns, rocks and batons, fought them off.

Thousands of people began streaming out of the ashram Wednesday, and many said armed followers of the guru had prevented them from leaving earlier.