Religion news in brief

AP News
Posted: Oct 10, 2012 1:21 PM
Religion news in brief

Thousands march to mark killing of Egyptian Coptic protesters, demand trial of ex-army rulers

CAIRO (AP) — Several thousand Egyptians marched for miles through Cairo on Tuesday, marking the year anniversary of a military crackdown on Christian protesters that killed 26 people and demanding retribution against army leaders they hold responsible for the deaths.

Muslim clerics, Christian priests, activists and liberal former lawmakers joined the procession, filling large boulevards to memorialize the "Maspero massacre," referring to the name of the state TV building overlooking the Nile River where the violence took place a year ago.

The protest last year was led by hundreds of Christians angered over a string of attacks on churches and denouncing the military — which ruled the country at the time — for failing to protect them. Soldiers attacked the crowd, with military vehicles running over some protesters, while others were killed by gunshots. Almost all the dead were Christians.

For many in Egypt's Coptic Christian minority, the violence marked a turning point, ending their faith that the state would protect them in the face of increasingly assertive Islamic hardliners. Christian worries have only grown since Islamist Mohammed Morsi, Egypt's first freely elected president, came to power in late June, ending military rule.


Pope prays in Arabic, for Arabs in new outreach for Mideast Christians during general audience

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Benedict XVI has delivered a prayer in Arabic during his weekly general audience in a new effort by the Vatican to show support for Christians in the Middle East.

A priest read a summary of the pope's remarks on Wednesday in Arabic. The pope then delivered his own brief greeting in Arabic: "The pope prays for all the Arabic-speaking people. God bless you all."

The Vatican said it was adding Arabic to the six other languages, aside from the original Italian, typically spoken during the general audience, to remind Catholics to pray for peace in the Middle East.

Khalid Hussain, a Pakistani-born Muslim tourist visiting St. Peter's Square, praised the initiative, saying "I think it will bring a lot of audience into what the pope is saying."


Suburban Kansas City church started by former pastor of financially troubled megachurch folds

OLATHE, Kan. (AP) — The suburban Kansas City church that a pastor started after losing his megachurch to foreclosure has folded.

The Kansas City Star reports that the Rev. Jerry Johnston's New Day Church Kansas City held its last service Sept. 30. The church met in Olathe schools after last year's closure of the First Family Church in Overland Park. The megachurch once was described as among the fasting-growing in the country.

But members began leaving in 2007 because of financial accountability concerns. Last year, the church was foreclosed upon after its lender alleged it owed more than $14 million in mortgage payments and other costs.

Johnston doesn't appear to be leaving the ministry. In recent months, he's been a guest on the religious television program "100 Huntley Street."


Church outside Atlanta wins bid to stop Walmart store from selling alcohol

POWDER SPRINGS, Ga. (AP) — A church outside Atlanta has won a battle to stop a Walmart Supercenter from selling alcohol.

The Marietta Daily Journal reports that Cobb County commissioners on Tuesday denied a request from the Powder Springs store to have a wine and beer package license.

The vote was 4-1, with county chairman Tim Lee alone in support of the sales.

The store wanted the commission to waive its restriction of selling alcohol within 600 feet of a church.

The Rev. Bobby Wood of Pine Grove Baptist Church had said congregation members were asking commissioners not to approve the waiver for the store on Barrett Parkway.

Powder Springs is about 20 miles northwest of Atlanta.


Spokane Valley fire captain fired over sending religious emails from department account

SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. (AP) — The Spokane Valley Fire Department has fired a captain who continued to send religious emails from his department account despite numerous orders to stop.

The Spokesman-Review reported that Capt. Jon Sprague, who runs the Spokane County Christian Firefighter Fellowship, has been disciplined several times for sending the emails. This year, he received two letters of reprimand and a suspension before the Spokane Valley Board of Fire Commissioners voted unanimously to fire him on Monday.

Sprague sent emails to a group of firefighters who agreed to receive the notices. They contained information about upcoming meetings and events of the Christian fellowship group.

Department attorney Mike McMahon says sending the emails was an unlawful use of department resources.


Catholic nun group to kick off 1,000-mile tour of Ohio ahead of election

CINCINNATI (AP) — A group of Roman Catholic nuns is kicking off a 1,000-mile bus tour of Ohio to urge political leaders to focus on the state's most vulnerable residents.

The so-called "Nuns on the Bus" tour will start in Cincinnati Wednesday morning and travel throughout the state for five days.

The nuns plan to visit Catholic-sponsored social service agencies that they say would be harmed by federal budget cuts.

They're calling on Democrats and Republicans to approve a budget that "affirms the life of all God's children — not just the wealthiest few."

Their stops will include Dayton, Lima, Toledo, Cleveland and Columbus.

Some of the same nuns in the group went on a nine-state tour over the summer that focused on the needs of low-income and vulnerable Americans.