Obama extension of gay rights may not include religious exemption
WASHINGTON (AP) - The White House says President Barack Obama plans to sign an executive order banning federal contractors from discriminating against employees on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity, but it’s unclear if there will be a religious exemption.
Obama hoped that Congress would pass a broader non-discrimination measure that would apply to nearly all employers. Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch called on the White House to include the same religious exemptions in the executive order that are included in legislation the Senate passed but which is stalled in the House. The bill includes exemptions for churches and other houses of worship, as well as religiously affiliated organizations.
Nathan Diament, Executive Director for Public Policy for the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, says if there’s no religious exemption, some Christian and Jewish charities will have to either violate their faith or withdraw from federal contracts.
Arizona break-in highlights gun-possessing clergy
PHOENIX (AP) - A deadly burglary at an Arizona church is raising questions about the wisdom of clergy possessing weapons, no matter how dangerous their mission.
Authorities say a Roman Catholic priest responding to a break-in last week at his downtown Phoenix church grabbed a handgun that ended up in the burglar’s hands - and was then used to kill a fellow priest who tried to help.
Many American Catholic leaders have argued that church teaching compels them to advocate for greater limits on guns, but self-defense is also part of Catholic theology, and Catholics have different views of the issue.
Concern about security at churches has grown in the last decade or so in the wake of several high-profile shootings.
The Diocese of Phoenix has no policy on priests carrying guns.