Bill Nye defends evolution in Kentucky debate
PETERSBURG, Ky. (AP) — Bill Nye the "Science Guy" and the head of the Creation Museum have debated whether evolution or the Bible better explains how everything began.
Nye said it takes magical thinking to believe the universe was created in six days only six-thousand years ago. He said scientific dating methods show that there are rocks and fossils, not to mention distant stars, far older than that.
Creationist Ken Ham responded that dating methods are fallible and that both sides have the same evidence but interpret it differently. Ham said the only witness to how things began is God, who explains it all in Genesis.
Bill Nye said the Bible is not a science book and shouldn't be taught as such in schools, but Ham said it also takes faith to believe in evolution.
The hours-long debate took place in a sold-out 800-seat auditorium in the Creation Museum in northern Kentucky.
MLK estate wants his daughter to give up his Nobel
ATLANTA (AP) — The estate of Martin Luther King Jr. is asking a judge to force the civil rights icon's daughter to relinquish her father's Nobel Peace Prize and "traveling" Bible.
The complaint against Bernice King was filed Friday in an Atlanta court by her father's estate, which is controlled by her brothers, Martin Luther King III and Dexter King.
The lawsuit says Martin Luther King Jr.'s heirs in 1995 assigned their rights to property inherited from the civil rights icon to the Estate of Martin Luther King Jr. Inc. The lawsuit says Bernice King has "secreted and sequestered" the medal and Bible in violation of that agreement.
Bernice King says in a statement that her brothers want to sell the medal and Bible to a private buyer and that she opposes that.
President Barack Obama used the Bible for his oath of office during his ceremonial inauguration when he was sworn in for his second term on the King holiday last year.
Group appeals lease for mountain Jesus statue
HELENA, Mont. (AP) — The Freedom From Religion Foundation is asking the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn a federal judge's decision that allowed the U.S. Forest Service to renew a 10-year permit for a statue of Jesus that was placed on a Montana ski hill six decades ago.
In its Jan. 28 brief, the group continues its argument that "a permanent Catholic shrine on public land" is prohibited under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that prohibits Congress from making any law regarding the establishment of religion. In June 2013, U.S. District Judge Dana Christensen said the statue at Whitefish Mountain Resort is more often used as a meeting point and site for photo opportunities rather than a solemn place for religious reflection.
Vatican surveys find Catholics reject sex rules
VATICAN CITY (AP) — Surveys commissioned by the Vatican have shown that the vast majority of Catholics in Germany and Switzerland reject church teaching on contraception, sexual morality, gay unions and divorce.
The Vatican took the unusual step of commissioning the surveys ahead of a major meeting of bishops that Pope Francis has called for October to discuss the family.
This week, German and Swiss bishops reported the results. They were surprising in the near-uniformity of responses: that the church's teachings on sexuality, morality and marriage are rejected as unrealistic and outdated by the vast majority of Catholics who nevertheless are active in parish life and consider their faith vitally important. Also surprising was the eagerness with which the bishops publicized the results.
Despite the findings, moral theologians warned that church doctrine won't change.
'Merry Christmas' bill passes Indiana Senate
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana's state Senate has unanimously passed a bill to allow the celebration of Christmas and other holidays in its public schools.
The legislation would allow schools to decorate with Nativity scenes or menorahs if paired with a secular symbol or one from another religion. Legislation also would permit schools to teach the history of winter holidays and to give holiday greetings, such as "Merry Christmas."
Ten other states have proposed similar laws.
The Indiana branch of the American Civil Liberties Union says the bill would be unconstitutional and would allow public schools to endorse religion.
The bill's author, state Sen. Jim Smith, it's necessary because Christmas is "under attack."