Christian singer explains why she missed her Grammy Award win
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Christian singer Mandisa says she was at home watching Sunday's Grammy Awards ceremony online when her song "Overcomer" was named the best contemporary Christian music song. Minutes later, her album of the same name won the Grammy for best contemporary Christian music album.
Mandisa explained that she was at home alone "allowing the Lord to speak" to her and protect her from being either proud of winning or self-conscious about gaining back some of the weight she had lost.
As a Christian, Mandisa said she also had found some parts of past Grammy Awards ceremonies she attended uncomfortable to watch.
She says the song "Overcomer" applies to her, not as a personal achievement, but rather a recognition that Christ in her has overcome the world.
On her blog, Mandisa says, "I lay this trophy at the feet of my Jesus in humility, honor and gratitude for all He has done in, to, and through me."
Proposed Kansas response on gay marriage debated
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Gay-marriage opponents are urging Kansas legislators to approve new legal protections for bakeries, photographers and others who refuse for religious reasons to supply goods or services for same-sex weddings, anticipating that federal courts could soon strike down the state's ban on such unions.
But gay-rights advocates said the bill backed by social conservatives and the Kansas Catholic Conference would permit individuals, businesses and groups to discriminate against gays and lesbians and encourage government officials to ignore court rulings favoring gay marriage.
Federal judges in Oklahoma and Utah recently struck down bans in those states, which are under the jurisdiction of the same federal appeals court as Kansas.
Under the bill, no individual, business or religious group with "sincerely held religious beliefs" could be required by "any governmental entity" to provide services, facilities, goods, employment or employment benefits related to any same-sex marriage or domestic partnership. The measure prohibits anti-discrimination lawsuits on such grounds.
Jimmy Carter writing book on women's rights
NEW YORK (AP) — Jimmy Carter's next book will be a defense of women's rights and an attack against those who use religion to deny them.
Simon & Shuster announced Tuesday that the former president's "A Call To Action: Women, Religion, Violence, and Power" will be published March 25. The publisher says Carter will draw upon personal observations from his worldwide travels as he condemns abuses of women and girls and the alleged distortions of religious texts cited as justification.
The 89-year-old Carter has written a wide range of books since leaving office in 1981, from memoirs and poetry to a controversial work on the Middle East, "Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid."
Immigrant fasters take reform campaign nationwide
WASHINGTON (AP) — Immigration reform advocates who fasted more than three weeks last fall on the National Mall say they're taking their campaign nationwide.
Religious leaders of the "Fast for Families" say they'll visit more than 100 congressional districts during the next 10 weeks to rally support for legislation that offers undocumented immigrants a path to citizenship.
The Senate passed an immigration reform bill last summer.
The Rev. John McCullough (muh-KUH'-luh), president of the Church World Service, says "We are prayerfully and powerfully demanding that the House act now."
A 22-year-old Miami-Dade College student who has lived most of her life in the country illegally is expected to be among those attending President Barack Obama's State of the Union speech. Mayra Rubio Limon (lee-MOHN'), the daughter of Mexican farmworkers, was invited by U.S. Rep. Joe Garcia, D-Fla.
Southern Baptist leaders to host sex summit
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Southern Baptist Convention leaders are hosting a summit in Nashville that will focus on sex.
The topics will range from pornography, teen sex and homosexuality to how pastors can talk to their congregations about human sexuality.
The Rev. Russell Moore, Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission president for the Southern Baptist Convention, says the summit's theme is a timely one.
Panel topics include discussions on the gospel and homosexuality and the gospel and ministry in a sex-saturated world. The sessions will also focus on how the "gospel shapes a person's sexual identity, redeems sexual desire and sets free people held captive by sin."
The summit will be held from April 21-23. The event's main sessions will be streamed live on the Web for people who cannot attend.