Religion news in brief

AP News
Posted: Oct 05, 2011 12:48 PM
Religion news in brief

SC Episcopalians to discuss national church charge against local bishop

CHARLESTON, S.C. _ Episcopal clergy from the Diocese of South Carolina will meet next week to discuss charges by the national church that the local bishop has abandoned the Episcopal Church.

Bishop Mark Lawrence says Tuesday's meeting will discuss implications and pray about the situation. The national church has also asked for the records of the standing committee of the diocese.

Two years ago, the diocese voted to distance itself from the national church because of its growing acceptance of same-sex relationships _ among other differences over interpreting the Bible. The diocese did not break with the national body.

The diocese is comprised of 75 parishes in the southern and eastern part of the state. The 2 million-member Episcopal Church is the U.S. branch of the Anglican Communion, which has 77 million members worldwide.


SD man asks state Supreme Court to let him have trial on alleged abuse at Catholic-run boarding school

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) _ A man who alleges he was sexually abused decades ago at St. Paul's Indian School in Marty has asked the South Dakota Supreme Court to let him continue his lawsuit against the Roman Catholic religious order and diocese that ran the school.

A circuit judge threw out the case, ruling that D.Z. Iron Wing, 64, waited too long to file the lawsuit because he knew of injuries caused by the alleged abuse more than three years before he took legal action.

Iron Wing's lawyer, Michael Shubeck of Rapid City, said the lawsuit should be reinstated so a trial could determine whether Iron Wing only recently discovered that the alleged abuse had caused him some injuries.

But lawyers representing the religious organizations that previously operated the boarding school said Iron Wing waited too long to go to court because he has acknowledged that he never forgot the alleged abuse and knew it caused him to be angry and hate the religious organizations.

The Supreme Court's hearing at Dakota Wesleyan University in Mitchell was broadcast through the court's website. The court will issue a written decision later.

Iron Wing, 64, filed a lawsuit in 2008 against the Catholic Diocese of Sioux Falls, Blue Cloud Abbey, the Oblate Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament and a nun and a priest he alleged abused him when he attended the school in 1953-1964. Catholic officials ran the school for decades, but the school has since been transferred to control of the Yankton Sioux Tribe. Lawyers said the nun and the priest accused of the abuse have died.

Dozens of similar lawsuits alleging sexual abuse at Indian boarding schools in South Dakota have been filed, but most have been dismissed after judges found the former students waited too long to go to court.

Michael J. Ford, a lawyer for the Oblate Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament, said there is no proof that Iron Wing was molested.


Quinnipiac names first Muslim chaplain who has also served at W. Mass colleges

HAMDEN, Conn. (AP) _ Quinnipiac University has appointed its first Muslim chaplain.

Shamshad Sheikh has served previously at Mount Holyoke, Amherst and Hampshire colleges in western Massachusetts.

Quinnipiac officials said they appointed Sheikh to help better serve Muslim students, many of whom come from overseas to attend the 7,900-person university. The school already has Roman Catholic, Protestant and Jewish faith leaders.

Sheikh received a master's degree from American International College in Springfield, Mass., and a graduate certificate in religious study from Hartford Seminary in Connecticut, which has a program that trains Muslim chaplains. She was born in Pakistan and is a former associate university chaplain at Yale University.


Seattle churches won't need permit to host tent cities for homeless

SEATTLE (AP) _ The Seattle City Council has voted unanimously to allow religious organizations to host tent cities for the homeless without requiring a city permit. There will be no limit on the number of such tent cities citywide.

The ordinance approved Monday means faith-based organizations can provide temporary shelter on their property, subject to basic health and safety rules and a limit of 100 people per encampment. They won't have to notify neighbors and there is no limit on how long an encampment can stay in one spot.

Councilman Nick Licata said the city's homeless shelters filled to capacity, tent cities are "one solution."

There are two current tent encampments in Seattle.


Iowa Supreme Court to hear 2 cases in Mason City, including steel wheel ordinance

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) _ The Iowa Supreme Court will hear arguments next week in a challenge to Mitchell County's ordinance banning vehicles with steel wheels from hard-surface roads.

The case involves a Mennonite teenager. Matthew Zimmerman was cited for driving a steel-wheel tractor on a county road in 2010. He was found guilty of violating the ordinance. An Iowa judge agreed with a magistrate's ruling upholding the constitutionality of the ordinance.

Zimmerman's family said the ordinance interferes with their religious practice. The county said the regulation is important to prevent damage caused by the wheels.

The court said Tuesday that the main issue is whether the ordinance violates Zimmerman's state and federal rights to free exercise of religion. The case will be heard on Thursday, Oct. 13.


2 Algerian Islamists call for bars to close, saying drinking perverts youth

ALGIERS, Algeria (AP) _ Two former ranking members of a banned Islamist party want a shutdown of all bars and other places where alcoholic beverages are sold in Algeria.

The two men, Hachemi Sahnouni, who helped found the Islamic Salvation Front, and Abderazak Zeraoui Hamadache, said in a statement Wednesday that alcohol is "perverting our youth and destroying our religious morals."

Their bid is significant because this Muslim North African country is in the process of defeating Islamist insurgents waging war since 1992. The call to close all bars recalls the period referred to as the "black decade" in the 1990s when extremists imposed their will on numerous villages and cities.

The two cite a September dust-up among drinkers in a small port outside Algiers that left a young man dead.