Boy Scouts Vote on Policy Toward Openly Gay Boys
GRAPEVINE, Texas - The National Council of Boy Scouts of America has voted to open its ranks to gay Scouts. But the new policy will not allow gay Scout leaders.
The policy was approved by 61 percent of the roughly 1,400 voting members who cast ballots in Grapevine, Texas. It will take effect Jan. 1.
The policy doesn't sit well with either side in a bitter debate. Liberal groups, including some churches, support the proposal to accept gay youth, but say the ban on gay adults should also be struck down.
Conservatives, including some church groups, voiced strong opposition. Southern Baptist convention executive committee president Frank Page said, "Homosexual behavior is incompatible with the principles enshrined in the Scout oath and Scout law." The Assemblies of God said the new policy "will lead to a mass exodus." And John Stemberger of OnMyHonor.Net charged that BSA officials caved to pressure.
A statement from BSA said it won't sacrifice its mission or allow the organization "to be consumed by a single, divisive and unresolved societal issue."
Mormon Church on Board with Boy Scouts Rule Change
SALT LAKE CITY - The Mormon Church says the decision of the Boy Scouts of America to lift its ban on gay Scouts won't affect the church's long-time association with the BSA.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints posted a statement on its website saying sexual orientation has never been, and is not now, something that precludes young boys from being in Mormon Scout troops. Church officials said as long as youth refrain from premarital sex - a strict church rule - they can participate in Boy Scouts.
The LDS church teaches its members that marriage is between a man and a woman, and that same-sex relationships are sinful. But the church recently launched a campaign encouraging members to be more compassionate toward gay and lesbian members of the church.
Nevada Assembly OKs Gay Marriage Resolution
CARSON CITY, Nev. - Nevada is one step closer to giving voters another chance to allow same-sex marriage in the Silver State.
The Assembly voted 27-14 Thursday in favor of a bill that repeals language in the Nevada Constitution that defines marriage as between a man and a woman. Voters adopted that language with the Protection of Marriage Act in 2002, but polls indicate a growing number of Nevadans have changed their minds. Some of the state's largest employers have also embraced changing the law.
The issue will still have to be approved by lawmakers again in two years. If it clears that hurdle, it will be up to the voters in 2016 to decide if they want Nevada to recognize all marriages regardless of gender.
Muslim Groups Denounce Deadly Attack
LONDON - Three major Muslim groups in Britain are condemning Wednesday's fatal attack on a British soldier who was stabbed to death on a street.
The attackers boasted of their exploits to horrified bystanders and warned in cell phone videos recorded by witnesses that there will be more violence by Islamists.
But three Muslim organizations -- the Muslim Council of Britain, Ebrahim College and the Association of Mosques and Islamic Centres -- gathered in London on Thursday to condemn the killing.
They used terms like senseless and sickening to describe the murder and said it had no basis in Islam.
Muslim Group Advises Enhance Security
WASHINGTON - A leading Muslim advocacy group has distributed enhanced security recommendations to U.S. mosques and Islamic facilities.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) says the recommendations, complied by a security analyst, follow a spate of recent vandalism, arsons and bomb threats against places of worship, schools and other facilities.
CAIR Spokesman Ibrahim Hooper says the recommendations are typical for any institution and include steps such as installation of metal doors, use of video cameras and establishing better relationships with police and neighbors.
$250K Bail on Hold in Faith-Healing Death
PHILADELPHIA - A Philadelphia couple who believe in faith healing over medicine and have had two sons die of pneumonia will apparently remain in custody on murder charges until a bail hearing on Friday. Their bail is currently set at $250,000.
Herbert and Catherine Schaible are charged with third-degree murder in the April death of their 8-month-old son, Brandon.
A jury had convicted them of involuntary manslaughter after their 2-year-old son, Kent, died in 2009, and they were sentenced to 10 years of probation. They were required to get their other children routine and emergency medical care.
Prosecutors say the parents instead prayed over Brandon as he deteriorated in the days before he died and "flouted" the court order to call a doctor. The Schaibles have seven other children.
Turkey Debates Alcohol Sales and Ad Restrictions
ANKARA, Turkey - Turkish lawmakers are debating a bill that bans all alcohol advertising and tightens restrictions on sales of such beverages.
The government insists the proposal is aimed at protecting the young from the ills of alcohol. But secularists say the measure is an example of the Islamic-based ruling party's encroachment on personal freedoms.
The proposal bars the sale of alcohol anywhere within 100 yards of mosques, schools and other educational centers, which could lead to the eventual cancellation of several establishments' alcohol licenses. Advertising alcoholic products in any form would also be banned, and there would be stricter penalties for drunken driving.
Islam prohibits the consumption of alcohol.
Mourners Remember Mormon Church President's Wife
SALT LAKE CITY - Hundreds of mourners have gathered in Salt Lake City to remember the wife of the Mormon Church's president.
Frances Monson died Friday at the age of 85 while surrounded by family at a Salt Lake City hospital. Her husband, Thomas S. Monson, has led The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints since February 2008.
Church leaders and friends spoke at the public funeral service at the Salt Lake Tabernacle Thursday, describing her as a devoted wife who left behind a "legacy of humility, service, faithfulness and love."
Thomas Monson did not speak at the service.
Houston 'Pastor' Accused in Real Estate Scam
HOUSTON - A Houston man who portrayed himself as a pastor running a religious-themed investment program is charged with 24 counts of fraud for what federal prosecutors say was a real estate scheme that cost a Mississippi woman $650,000.
Federal authorities say Samuel Ray Palasota surrendered in Houston.
An indictment unsealed Thursday describes Palasota as manager of a firm called "The Maker's Resources" where in 2009 he made false promises and representations about reselling foreclosed homes around Houston. Prosecutors say he duped the unidentified Mississippi woman to invest with him proceeds from a $1 million divorce settlement but spent the money on himself.
If convicted, he could get up to 20 years in prison on each count.
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