Thirty more dead in Indonesia religious riots

Officials say the death count over the last year in the violence between Muslims and Christians in the area has passed 1,700.

Coptic priest not charged in Egyptian violence

Charges were dismissed against Father Gabriel Abdul Masih and at least 15 others who were earlier accused of "provoking violence" that led to 23 deaths; 136 others werecharged.

Zamfara, Nigeria, suspends shari'a law

After religious riots in the country between Muslims and Christians, the governor of Zamfara has suspended the Islamic shari'a law while federal and state officials discuss the matter. Zamfara was the first of several Nigerian states to adopt shari'a.

Apology 'watered down' at last minute, charges Italian newspaper

The Milan daily newspaper Corriere della Sera says the Pope toned down his Sunday message to mitigate "objections to the idea of an apology raised in recent years by historians and theologians, as well as by some cardinals and bishops."

Chicago Tribune praises papal apology

"As is so often the case, John Paul's action had a level of significance beyond the obvious. It was, to be sure, a genuine apology for genuine wrongs, past and present," says the unsigned editorial, which leads by quoting Matthew 5:23-24. "But it also was an example to a world riven by historical grievances of how reconciliation must begin: with a brotherly—or sisterly—plea for forgiveness, evoking, one hopes, a response in kind."

Black churches (finally) fighting AIDS, albeit slowly

"For African-Americans, the church has long been the institution they have turned to for help in times of crisis," reports The Dallas Morning News. "Yet black religious leaders, health officials and those infected and affected by AIDS say that as the deadly disease has grown to epidemic proportions among blacks, the African-American church—though it's doing better—still lags in its efforts to fight it."

Anti-abortion invocation brings protests in House

"We ask you, Lord, if you would, instill in their hearts the desire to protect the unborn, those babies being carried by women all over the state of Florida," said Daryl Orman, senior pastor at First Baptist Church of Stuart, in his invocation to the Florida State House. Such a "political" prayer violates the House rules for invocations, but Orman says, "I received a copy of the guidelines, and to be truthful, I didn't read them because I pray extemporaneously. When I speak to the Lord, I want to speak unfettered."

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Associated Press takes a hard look at when God doesn't answer prayer

Kaia Jergenson, a freshman basketball player at the Churches of Christ's Lipscomb University, became ill with a blood infection. Despite the fervent prayers of the campus body, her legs were amputated. Now, reports Marta W. Aldrich, many at the school are facing a crisis of faith: "Questions flowed: 'Why did Jergenson lose her legs when so many were praying for her to be healed? Does prayer work? How does God respond?'" Theology professor Earl Lavender comments, "These issues no longer have a nameless face. Now when they ask themselves these questions, they think of Kaia."

India minister reportedly hiding after accusations of forced conversions

Five Christians are accused of forcibly converting 127 Hindus to Christianity. Three have been arrested, but two, including the pastor of the local Protestant church, have absconded.

Holyfield's pastor appeals to Supreme Court

Heavyweight boxing champ Evander Holyfield is divorcing his wife, Janice, after two years. The two of them have asked their pastor, Creflo Dollar Jr., to testify in the case. But Dollar refuses, and has asked the U.S. Supreme Court on Friday to block a subpoena forcing him to do so. So says the UPI story, anyway. It makes no mention of Janice Holyfield's claims that her husband gave Dollar's church $7 million and that Dollar has been accused of trying to bribe police officers after a traffic infraction.

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