Religion news in brief

AP News
Posted: May 28, 2014 12:57 PM
Religion news in brief

Abuse victims' leader calls pope's planned meeting a public relations ploy

CHICAGO (AP) — The head of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests says Pope Francis's plan to meet with abuse victims looks like "a public relations ploy."

SNAP President Barbara Blaine says the pope already has all the information he needs to remove priests who abuse minors and bishops who cover it up.

Francis's upcoming meeting with a half-dozen victims, announced Monday, is being organized by Cardinal Sean O'Malley, the archbishop of Boston. O'Malley was instrumental in setting up a 2008 meeting between clergy sex-abuse victims and Francis' predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI. Blaine says that meeting didn't lead to meaningful action.

Pope Francis said Monday that abuse of children is an "ugly" crime that betrays God. He also revealed that three bishops are currently under investigation by the Vatican for abuse-related reasons, though it wasn't clear if they were accused of committing abuse or covering it up.


Parents of rampage victim remember son's spiritual fruit

GOLETA, Calif. (AP) — At a memorial service for victims of a 22-year-old man's weekend rampage in California, a message was read from the parents of one of the killer's slain roommates to their departed son.

The message to 20-year-old Weihan Wang from his parents said, "You will be at peace in the hands of God."

They added that they had seen God's "spiritual fruits" in his life — that their son was "gentle, kind, loving, joyful, peaceful, faithful and self-controlled."

Wang, who went by the name of David, graduated from Fremont Christian School and was studying computer engineering at UC Santa Barbara. The tribute from his parents was read by Richard Martinez, whose son Christopher also was among the victims.

Seven young people died, including the killer.


Son of late Ky. snake handler recovering from bite

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — The son of a snake-handling Kentucky preacher who died from a snake bite says he's recovering from his own rattlesnake wound.

Cody Coots told the Lexington Herald-Leader that he was bitten on a finger as he removed snakes from a cage on Monday. The 21-year Coots says he declined medical treatment from an ambulance crew. Instead, he says he relied on prayer for healing.

Coots says he told the Lord he wouldn't go to the hospital. He says his hand swelled and he vomited repeatedly, but by Tuesday the pain was gone.

Coots is a fourth-generation snake handler and had been bitten five times before.

His father, Jamie Coots, died of a snake bite in February. Following his death, Cody Coots took over as pastor of the Full Gospel Tabernacle in Jesus Name church in Middlesboro, Kentucky.


NC's protests are Democratic tool in election year

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Weekly protesters at the North Carolina Legislature have some work to do if they want their voices against GOP policies to translate to votes at the polls. Thousands have turned out for the protests in Raleigh over the last year.

The "Moral Monday" movement has sought the repeal of GOP-favored voting laws, increased teacher pay, Medicaid expansion and more funding for social programs. All of the movement's positions are favored by Democrats, who hope to publicize their platform and recruit volunteers to help them win elections, especially the contested U.S. Senate race.

The Rev. William Barber says his group is launching a new campaign to register voters and spur local movements throughout the state. Republicans say they're doing the same.


Bible college president faces forced labor charge

FLORENCE, S.C. (AP) — The president and founder of Cathedral Bible College faces federal charges that he made international students work long hours with little pay by threatening their legal status.

The Sun News of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and WBTW reported that bond was set at $250,000 at a hearing last Friday for Reginald Wayne Miller. Under the terms of his bond, he is not allowed to visit the college's campus in Marion or communicate with current or former foreign students.

Miller's attorney said his friends and family would try to raise the bond money.

Agents with Homeland Security Investigations filed a criminal complaint against Miller this week, saying they have probable cause to charge him with forced labor, a felony that carries a maximum prison sentence of 20 years for each count.