Egyptian town, site of last month's deadly religious riots, changes name

The southern Egyptian village of Al-Koshh (alternately spelled el-Kusheh) will change its name. In classic Arabic, reports the BBC, the name may mean "to harbor enmity." The new name, Al-Salam, is Arabic for peace.

Priests-with-AIDS report 'no surprise,' say Catholic officials

Catholic officials around the Kansas City area, where the Kansas City Star is publishing a three-part series about priests dying of AIDS, say the statistics are "sad" and "a disappointment," but not a surprise. "You have to look at society in general. Why would we say they (priests) would not mirror what is in the society?" asks one.

Associated Press looks at Song of Solomon for Valentine's Day

AP religion writer Richard Ostling says the Song of Solomon, "the Bible's most controversial book," is entirely appropriate for Valentine's Day—but not for the reasons you might expect. Both are the subject of historical debate, and neither may originally have had anything to do with male-female relationships.

More sex, please, says Greek Orthodox leader

Archbishop Christodoulos says married couples should enjoy lovemaking, even if its not for procreative purposes, reports the Associated Press. A few days earlier, Christodoulos suggested Greek Orthodox not celebrate Valentine's Day, which he regards as "foreign standards."

Shaker dig reveals more lawbreaking than expected

Archaeologists at the Canterbury Shaker community found "widespread evidence for violations of the Shakers, own … laws," reports Discovering Archaeology magazine. "Contraband included: countless beer, whiskey, wine, and perfume bottles; tobacco pipes; alcohol-filled patent medicines … pig bones … and gaudy, material items." (What do you know? The Shakers are human too.) Says one of the archaeologists, "The Shakers were middle-class consumers who left few traces of their own crafts, but ample evidence of their mass-market tastes."

Florida's Bible history classes under investigation

The Florida Department of Education is investigating elective Bible history classes offered in 14 school districts after they came under attack from People for the American Way. "A lesson on John 8 used in Levy County asks, 'Who, according to Jesus, is the father of the Jews? The devil,' " alleges the group.

Zambian bishops back doctors' strike

Resident doctors at the University Teaching Hospital in Lusaka got a boost Friday as the Zambia Episcopal Conference of Roman Catholic bishops issued a statement saying their strike is based on a desire to provide service, not on selfishness.

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Suicide of police officer prompts antigambling effort

Solomon Bell, a police officer in the Detroit area, committed suicide last week at the MotorCity Casino. On Sunday, pulpits throughout the city were full of antigambling sermons, reports The Detroit News.

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