Religion news in brief

AP News
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Posted: Dec 30, 2015 12:10 PM
Religion news in brief

Clinton fields questions at New Hampshire church

PORTSMOUTH, N.H. (AP) — Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has held a town hall meeting in a New Hampshire church, fielding questions about health care and the economy.

Some of the questions at Portsmouth's South Church came from children. A young girl asked how college could be made more affordable. A boy asked if the government could do more for the disabled. Clinton said those are problems she would address as president.

She also pledged to boost Alzheimer's disease research, declaring to an appreciative crowd that "the heavens support what we are going to do."

In the church venue, Clinton didn't mention Republican rival Donald Trump.

She said this should be a season of compassion, especially "for those of us who celebrate Christmas."

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Rubio vows to protect constitutional rights

CLINTON, Iowa (AP) — Florida Sen. Marco Rubio says as president, he would appoint judges and an attorney general who would defend First Amendment religious rights and the Second Amendment right to own firearms.

At a town hall meeting in Iowa, Rubio said the Obama administration is "obsessed with taking away religious liberty and the Second Amendment."

The GOP presidential hopeful said the U.S. was founded on the principle that people's rights come from God and not from government, and that life is precious at every stage.

Rubio accused the media of undermining values that children are taught at church and in the home. He said Americans who oppose abortion are accused of waging a war on women, and "if you believe in traditional marriage today you're called a bigot, an outdated hater."

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Vos: Allen used state resources to make Christmas video

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin state Assembly Speaker Robin Vos says a Republican lawmaker used state resources to produce a Christmas video encouraging people to consider becoming Christians.

Rep. Scott Allen of Waukesha posted a video on the Assembly GOP's YouTube Channel on Dec. 18 quoting Bible verses and inviting non-Christians to "consider the hope offered by the Prince of Peace."

The Freedom From Religion Foundation sent a letter to Vos complaining that Allen was overtly proselytizing and asking whether he used state resources to make the video, saying that would be unconstitutional.

Vos said Tuesday that Allen used the Assembly's studio in the state Capitol and state equipment to produce the video. Vos said he thinks the message is appropriate and people are making too much of it.

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Man accused in pastor's wife's death charged in 2nd slaying

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — An 18-year-old man accused of killing an Indianapolis pastor's pregnant wife during a home invasion faces another murder charge.

Larry Jo Taylor Jr., was charged Monday with murder and robbery resulting in serious bodily injury in the Nov. 4 fatal shooting of Rolando Gonzalez-Hernandez.

Taylor and co-defendant Jalen Watson, 21, already face murder charges in the Nov. 10 shooting death of 28-year-old pastor's wife Amanda Blackburn. Both remain in the Marion County Jail, pending a Jan. 8 pretrial conference.

Prosecutors said Taylor and Watson, after burglarizing two other homes, entered Blackburn's home through its unlocked front door shortly after her husband, Pastor Davey Blackburn, left for the gym that morning. The couple's 15-month-old son was at home upstairs in a crib but was not harmed in the attack.

Amanda and Davey Blackburn, both children of Christian pastors, moved to Indianapolis from South Carolina in 2012 to found the independent Resonate Church.

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Man pleads guilty to defacing Islamic center in Springfield

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) — A California man has admitted to helping deface the Islamic Center of Springfield, Missouri, and to burning two Qurans.

Adam David Smock pleaded guilty Tuesday to participating in a conspiracy to intimidate members of the Islamic Center. He admitted that he and two other people spray-painted graffiti on the center In January 2011. The same three people also burned the Qurans in April 2011 and left them in front of the Islamic Center, with a note that included the words "Death to Islam."

Attorneys will recommend that Smock spend 14 days in jail, followed by five years' supervised release. He also must pay $10,440 in restitution and perform 40 hours of community service, possibly at an Islamic Center in Springfield.

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Officials: Baby Jesus figures stolen from 5 churches

CLIFTON, N.J. (AP) — Investigators are trying to figure out who snatched baby Jesus statues from five northern New Jersey churches since Christmas Eve.

The latest theft came at St. Clare Roman Catholic Church in Clifton. The Rev. Peter Glabik says the figurine was taken from its outdoor nativity scene between 7 p.m. Saturday and 7 a.m. Sunday.

James Goodness, a spokesman for the Archdiocese of Newark, says thieves made off with statues from four other churches in Kearny, Lyndhurst and North Arlington.

Authorities are working to determine if the thefts are related.

Goodness says he's hoping that the crimes are nothing more than pranks and that the statues will be returned.

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