Religion news in brief

AP News
Posted: Sep 19, 2012 11:01 AM
Religion news in brief

2 groups support Ind. teacher fired over in vitro fertilization

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (AP) — Two national groups are supporting a discrimination lawsuit filed by a former Indiana parochial school teacher who claims she was fired for trying to get pregnant through in vitro fertilization.

The American Society for Reproductive Medicine and the American Civil Liberties Union filed friends of the court briefs Monday in support of Emily Herx. Herx filed a federal lawsuit in April against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, claiming she was discriminated against for a disability when her teaching contract wasn't renewed.

The Journal Gazette reports Herx suffers from infertility, which is a protected disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

When diocese officials learned Herx had undergone in vitro fertilization — a treatment banned under Catholic doctrine — they decided not to renew her contract.

Herx, who had been a language arts teacher at St. Vincent de Paul School, argues in her lawsuit that her termination violated both the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Americans with Disabilities Act. The Equal Employment Opportunities Commission ruled in her favor in January.


NM jury awards $280,000 to employee who claimed his boss pushed religion on him

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A New Mexico jury has awarded $280,000 in damages to a water utility worker who claimed he was passed over for promotions because he resisted his supervisor's religious proselytizing.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that James Chavez won an $180,000 award on his claim that his supervisor retaliated against him for the exercise of his First Amendment rights and another $100,000 in punitive damages for the supervisor's conduct.

Chavez is a senior engineer at the water utility.

His lawsuit said John Stomp, then his supervisor and now chief executive of the water utility, is devoutly religious, often tried to discuss his beliefs in the workplace and tried to get Chavez to attend his church.

A lawyer for the utility says the water authority is reviewing its options.


400 stage spirited but peaceful protest at US Embassy in Bangkok against anti-Islam movie

BANGKOK (AP) — Police say 400 people have protested peacefully outside the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok against an anti-Islam video produced in the United States that has sparked demonstrations in many Muslim countries.

About 700 police were on hand Tuesday to maintain order for the demonstration, organized by a group called the International Al Quds Federation of Thailand. The group had called for a peaceful protest on its Facebook page.

Protesters carried signs and banners saying "We love Prophet Muhammad" and "Stop insulting our religion," and chanted "Down with America" and "Down with Israel."

A protest leader, Sa-id Sulaiman Husseini, said the world could become a "sea of fire" if the American government does not stop the distribution of the film.


Long Island church helps synagogue mark the High Holy Days following a flood

ISLAND PARK, N.Y. (AP) — A Long Island church is lending a hand to a neighbor — helping a synagogue mark the High Holy Days.

Leaders of the Jewish Center of Island Park discovered extensive flood damage from a broken pipe on Sunday.

Sacred Heart Church, about a block away, was getting its own house back in order after the Feast of San Gennaro. CBS New York says firefighters and other volunteers helped get the parish hall in shape in time for Rosh Hashana.

Leaving the Left
John Stossel

The two days of Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, started Sunday at sundown.

The synagogue will hold services at Sacred Heart through Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.


Minn. gay marriage ban foes air ad, backers tout clergy

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The two major groups facing off on the proposed constitutional ban on gay marriage tussled over religion Tuesday, as clergy including the state's top Catholic leader called for the amendment's passage while opponents prepared to air a TV commercial featuring a Catholic married couple.

The ad is the first from Minnesotans United for All Families, a coalition of gay rights groups, and is scheduled to start airing Tuesday night in the Twin Cities and Duluth. Spokeswoman Kate Brickman said the ad, which the campaign plans to eventually broadcast statewide, is the first salvo in a multimillion-dollar investment in a series of TV ads that will air continually until Election Day.

The amendment, if passed, would strengthen an existing gay marriage ban under state law by adding it to the state constitution. If it is defeated, gay marriage would still be illegal under state law.

But Minnesota for Marriage, comprised of religious and socially conservative groups, brought about 40 faith leaders to the Capitol on Tuesday to argue that defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman is important enough to put it permanently in the state's highest document.

Archbishop John Nienstedt of the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis said the measure is "not intended to be hurtful or discriminatory to anyone." He said that humankind's understanding of marriage "predates any government, or in fact any religious denomination.