Gay marriage ruling denounced as against nature
WASHINGTON (AP) — Family Research Council President Tony Perkins is predicting a broad societal rejection of court-imposed same-sex marriage.
The evangelical activist issued his statement after a federal judge overturned Pennsylvania’s ban on gay marriage. U.S. District Judge John Jones III refused to stay his decision pending a possible appeal, so it took effect immediately, triggering a rush by same-sex couples to obtain marriage licenses.
In his ruling, Jones said laws defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman should be thrown “into the ash heap of history.”
But Perkins said traditional marriage is rooted in human biology as well as history. In his words, “Nature and nature’s God cannot be usurped by the edicts of the court.”
He predicted that Americans will ultimately refuse to accept the authority of judges to redefine marriage. In the long run, Perkins said, “The courts can ignore natural law, or even suppress it, but they will never succeed in subduing it.”
US asylum urged for condemned Sudanese Christian
WASHINGTON (AP) — Congressman Frank Wolf says the U.S. should offer political asylum to a pregnant Sudanese woman who has been sentenced to death after refusing to renounce her Christian faith.
Meriam Ibrahim, the daughter of a Muslim father and Christian mother, was convicted of apostasy last week in Sudan.
Wolf says the 27-year-old Ibrahim, who is eight months pregnant, faces execution by hanging after she gives birth. In a House floor speech, the Virginia Republican said time is running out, and “President Obama should immediately appeal for her release and offer safe haven.”
Wolf noted that Ibrahim’s husband is an American citizen and the couple’s 18-month-old son is currently jailed with her.
The U.S. State Department says it was “deeply disturbed” by the sentence and has called on Sudan to respect the right to freedom of religion.
2 bomb blasts in Nigeria kill at least 118
JOS, Nigeria (AP) — Nigeria’s emergency agency says twin car bombs that exploded at a bus terminal and market in the central city of Jos (jahs) have killed at least 118 people.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the bombs, but they bore the hallmarks of Boko Haram, an Islamic extremist group that has been waging a bombing campaign in Africa’s most populous nation.
Coordinator Mohammed Abdulsalam of the National Emergency Management Agency said the death toll was likely to climb.
Tensions have been rising between Christians and Muslims in Jos, the capital of Plateau state in Nigeria’s Middle Belt region that divides the country into the predominantly Muslim north and Christian south. It is a flashpoint for religious violence.
President Goodluck Jonathan condemned the attacks and said he remains “fully committed to winning the war against terror.” Outrage continues to grow over his government’s apparent inability to do that.
CONSERVATIVE SCHOLAR-CAMPAIGN FINANCE
Former Christian college president pleads guilty in campaign case
NEW YORK (AP) — A former Christian college president who resigned after his extramarital relationship was exposed has pleaded guilty to making illegal campaign contributions to a U.S. Senate candidate in New York.
Dinesh D’Souza entered the plea Tuesday, admitting that he had two associates each contribute $10,000 with the understanding that he would reimburse them.
A federal prosecutor said one of the associates was Denise Joseph. In court papers, the government said D’Souza was living with Joseph and having an affair with her.
In 2012, D’Souza resigned as president of The King’s College in New York after the evangelical magazine WORLD reported that he brought Joseph to a conference in South Carolina. D’Souza said at the time that he and his wife had been separated since 2010. The King’s College promotes itself as shaping young Christians as future leaders.
D’Souza is to be sentenced in September. His plea agreement calls for him not to challenge any sentence within the range of 10 months to 16 months.
St. Pete thieves steal vehicle with baby inside
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Police in St. Petersburg, Florida, say two thieves stole a car with a baby inside — then dropped the infant onto a nearby doorstep and ran.
Officials say the parents parked their car outside of church on Sunday and were unloading items into the church. They briefly left the vehicle unlocked with the keys in the ignition. Their 10-month-wold baby girl was in her car seat.
During the unloading, the thieves took the car.
About three minutes later, one of the suspects dropped the baby in her car seat onto a nearby home’s doorstep. That was caught on surveillance video.
The baby was unharmed and still sitting in her car seat. The owner of the home called police.
Officers recovered the vehicle and are still searching for the thieves.
Pa. man wrongly accused of swindle settles suit
NORRISTOWN, Pa. (AP) — A contractor wrongly accused of ripping off a suburban Philadelphia church is getting an apology and $1.6 million as part of a lawsuit settlement.
The Philadelphia Inquirer said the lawsuit accused Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman of bringing unfounded theft charges against building contractor Walter Logan. Ferman apologized to Logan, whose alleged crimes she once called “particularly despicable” and “really very low.”
Logan was arrested and charged in 2009 with swindling hundreds of thousands of dollars from Salem Baptist Church of Jenkintown after a contract dispute.
An independent arbiter later found that it was the church that bilked Logan out of payment for his work.
In a statement released Tuesday by Logan’s attorneys, Ferman said there was “no credible evidence” against Logan.
Nuns to fight child prostitution during World Cup
VATICAN CITY (AP) — A global network of religious orders against human trafficking says it will campaign against a feared rise in child prostitution during the World Cup.
Sister Gabriella Bottani, an organizer of the coalition of 240 religious congregations from 79 countries, says international sporting events attract human traffickers, who trick job-seekers into slave labor and also kidnap children for illegal adoptions or forced begging.
The Italian nun says the risk of child exploitation grew 30 percent to 40 percent during the World Cups in Germany in 2006 and South Africa in 2010, and is likely to spike again during the month-long tournament starting June 12 in Brazil.
The campaign titled “Play For Life, Report Trafficking” will involve nuns and others handing out leaflets at airports and key tourist areas in Brazil encouraging people to report suspected child prostitution or enslavement to police.
Vatican denies ex-No. 2 probed for 15M transfer
VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Vatican has denied that its former secretary of state is under criminal investigation for allegedly misusing 15 million euros. But it didn’t rule out that the transaction is being looked at as part of a Pope Francis-mandated fact-finding inquiry into the operations of the Vatican bank.
Germany’s Bild newspaper, citing unnamed Vatican officials, reported Tuesday that Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone was being investigated for the transfer of funds from the Vatican bank to a media company run by a friend.
Bertone told the ANSA news agency the transaction was approved by the bank’s board and was “completely normal.”
Bertone has been criticized for administrative shortcomings while he was secretary of state under Pope Benedict XVI, and lately over costly renovations to his Vatican retirement apartment.