Religion news in brief
Netanyahu: Palestinians must recognize Israel as a Jewish state
WASHINGTON (AP) - In a White House meeting with President Barack Obama, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has reiterated his demand that Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state.
At a joint press conference, Obama said he believes that with compromise on both sides, "It is still possible to create two states, a Jewish state of Israel and a state of Palestine, with people living side by side in peace and security."
Netanyahu responded that Obama "rightly" called Israel a Jewish state. The Israeli leader said Israel has been the Jewish homeland for thousands of years, and if Palestinians want recognition for a Palestinian state, they must "recognize a nation state for the Jewish people."
The Palestinians reject that out of hand, saying it would undermine the property claims of displaced Palestinian refugees as well as the rights of Israel's Arab minority.
Studio adds "explanatory message" to Noah film
WASHINGTON (AP) - National Religious Broadcasters President Jerry Johnson is thanking Paramount Pictures for adding what he calls a "disclaimer" to advertising for its movie "Noah," starring Russell Crowe, which debuts in theaters March 28.
At Johnson's request, the studio is advising filmgoers that the movie "is inspired by the story of Noah," and that "artistic license has been taken." But Paramount says it believes that the "film is true to the essence, values, and integrity" of the story from the Bible's book of Genesis.
The NRB president, who previewed the film, praises its acting, production values, and faithfulness to the biblical story's main elements of sin, judgment and restoration.
Johnson warns, however, that the flood appears to be punishment for man's destruction of the environment, and that Noah wonders if his own family should be the last.
That said, Johnson thinks "Noah" is better than many of today's films, and he believes Christians can enjoy it, separate fact from fiction and "pass the popcorn."
Noah's ark project in Ky. to move forward
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - A Christian ministry's long-stalled plans to build Noah's Ark in the hills of Kentucky have been revived.
Creation Museum founder Ken Ham says a municipal bond offering has raised enough money to begin construction on the Ark Encounter project, estimated to cost about $73 million. Groundbreaking is planned for May and the ark is expected to be finished by the summer of 2016.
Ham said a high-profile evolution debate he had with "Science Guy" Bill Nye earlier this month helped boost support for the project.
Nye said he was "heartbroken and sickened for the Commonwealth of Kentucky" after learning that the project would move forward.
The wooden ark is to have old-world details, such as wooden pegs instead of nails, straight-sawed timbers and plenty of animals - some alive, some robotic.
Group asks Supreme Court to allow California cross
SAN DIEGO (AP) - A veterans group has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to overrule a judge's order to remove a war memorial cross from a Southern California mountain.
The Mt. Soledad Memorial Association on Tuesday asked the nation's highest court to allow the 43-foot cross to remain atop the mountain in San Diego. In December, U.S. District Judge Larry Burns said it must go.
The veterans group- and the U.S. Department of Justice - already have asked the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to overrule the judge.
The group says it hopes appealing straight to the Supreme Court will hasten resolution of a legal dispute that began in 1989 over whether the Korean War memorial site represents an unconstitutional endorsement of Christianity on public property.
Survey finds pastors believe religious liberty on the decline
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - A survey of American preachers, conducted by Nashville-based LifeWay Research shows growing concern among senior pastors about religious liberty in America.
About seven in 10 senior pastors at Protestant churches say Christians have lost or are losing the culture war. The telephone survey was taken Sept. 4-19, 2013.
According to LifeWay, seventy percent of the pastors agree with the statement, "Religious liberty is on the decline in America." Twenty-seven percent disagree. Eighty-one percent of self-identified evangelical pastors were more likely to agree. Among mainline pastors, 47 percent agreed.
Seventy-nine percent of Evangelical pastors were more likely to say that Christians are losing or have lost the culture war. That compares to 60 percent among mainline pastors.