Latest Church and state News

Bible Release Program stirs impassioned debate

Dec. 7, 2019 1:15 PM EST

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — At Wednesday evening’s Board of Education work session in the City County Building’s Large Assembly Room, nearly every seat on the floor was filled. And most stayed as the board worked through a long agenda, discussing contracts, grants, the minutiae of a proposed...

Push to ratify ERA launched in Utah, eyed in other states

Dec. 6, 2019 4:20 PM EST

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A renewed national push to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment has come to conservative Utah, where supporters have launched a long-shot bid to become the tipping point state, despite opposition from the influential Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Utah is one of several...

Shinto festival carries on centuries-old tradition in Japan

Dec. 5, 2019 2:36 AM EST

CHICHIBU, Japan (AP) — As fireworks light up the winter night, scores of men, women and teenagers crying “washoi, washoi” haul the last of six towering, lantern-covered floats up a small hill and into the town center, the culminating moment of a Shinto festival that has evolved from a harvest...

Surge of new abuse claims threatens church like never before

Dec. 3, 2019 12:07 PM EST

NEW YORK (AP) — At the end of another long day trying to sign up new clients accusing the Roman Catholic Church of sexual abuse, lawyer Adam Slater gazes out the window of his high-rise Manhattan office at one of the great symbols of the church, St. Patrick’s Cathedral. “I wonder how much...

New wave of abuse suits could hit church like never before

Dec. 2, 2019 1:12 AM EST

NEW YORK (AP) — A wave of new laws in 15 states that allow people to make claims of sexual abuse going back decades could bring a deluge of lawsuits against the Roman Catholic Church that could surpass anything seen so far in its clergy abuse crisis. Associated Press reporting found it could result in...

Pope says Nativity scenes should go in town squares, schools

Dec. 1, 2019 12:12 PM EST

GRECCIO, Italy (AP) — Pope Francis on Sunday hailed Nativity scenes as “simple and admirable” signs of Christian faith and encouraged their placement in workplaces, schools and town squares, as he bolstered a Christmas tradition that has at times triggered bitter legal battles in the United...

Utah banning ‘conversion therapy’ with Mormon church backing

Nov. 27, 2019 5:25 PM EST

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Utah is on its way to becoming the 19th state to ban the discredited practice of conversion therapy in January after state officials formed a proposal that has the support of the influential Church of a Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Republican Gov. Gary Herbert announced Tuesday...

Highlights of Pennsylvania’s church scandal legislation

Nov. 20, 2019 10:36 PM EST

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — The Pennsylvania state Senate on Wednesday passed a package of legislation inspired by Roman Catholic Church scandals to relax criminal and civil statutes of limitations on sexual abuse crimes. Here is a look at the bills: ___ CRIMINAL PROSECUTION There would be no statute of...

State probe into SC church finances finds no wrongdoing

Nov. 20, 2019 7:08 AM EST

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina authorities found no evidence of wrongdoing in an investigation into the finances of Emanuel AME Church, which received millions in donations after a racist attack that killed nine worshippers. State Law Enforcement Division spokesman Tommy Crosby tells reporters that...

Japanese emperor performs secretive key succession ritual

Nov. 14, 2019 9:33 AM EST

TOKYO (AP) — Japanese Emperor Naruhito performed a secretive and controversial ritual Thursday, a once-in-a-reign event to give thanks for good harvests, pray for the peace and safety of the nation and play host to his family’s ancestral gods. Or at least that’s what experts and officials...