Religion news in brief

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Associated Press

Posted on March 26, 2014 at 7:35 PM

Updated Wednesday, Mar 26 at 7:37 PM

Former president: male-dominated religions oppress women

ATLANTA (AP) — Former President Jimmy Carter says male-dominated religions contribute to the oppression and abuse of women by twisting sacred texts to portray females as inferior to men "in the eyes of God."

The 89-year-old Carter makes that argument in his new book, "A Call to Action: Women, Religion, Violence and Power."

In an interview broadcast on NBC's "Meet the Press," the former president faulted his former denomination, the Southern Baptist Convention, and the Roman Catholic church for denying women the same opportunities as men to serve as pastors and priests.

Carter said some married men who belong to those churches conclude that their wives are inferior and treat them accordingly.

The Catholic Catechism and the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message declare that men and women have different roles but are equal in the eyes of God.

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High court seems divided over birth control rule

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court seems divided over whether companies have religious rights that should exempt them from the health care law's birth control mandate.

The case involves family-owned companies that provide health insurance to their employees, but object to covering certain methods of birth control that they say can work after conception, in violation of their religious beliefs.

Tuesday's arguments at the court focused mainly on the question of whether profit-making businesses have religious rights. The Obama administration says they don't, but lawyers for Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties argue that a 1993 federal law on religious freedom extends to businesses as well as individuals.

If the justices agree, they would have to decide whether the government policy is crucial and is put in place in the least objectionable way possible.

Justice Anthony Kennedy, whose vote could decide the case, showed interest in the argument that the companies could stop offering health insurance and instead pay a tax of $2,000 per employee. That route might allow the court to sidestep the thorniest questions in the case.

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Prominent Christian charity World Vision reverses decision to hire gay Christians

NEW YORK (AP) — A prominent evangelical charity is reversing a policy change announced two days ago to hire Christians in same-sex marriages.

The humanitarian relief agency World Vision said in a letter to supporters Wednesday that the nonprofit had made a mistake by changing its policy for the United States. The aid group's leaders said they were broken-hearted over the pain the decision had caused.

Agency officials had said Monday they would now hire Christians in same-sex marriage to avoid a divisive fight that would hurt their work. But the announcement sparked a social media firestorm. Critics said they would no longer give money to the agency, while supporters increased their donations.

World Vision is a $1 billion a year agency based in Washington state that provides disaster relief and supports economic development.

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Ball State, legislators to talk intelligent design

MUNCIE, Ind. (AP) — Ball State University's president is planning to meet with four conservative Indiana legislators who have questioned her decision to prohibit the teaching of intelligent design in a science course.

Ball State President Jo Ann Gora is inviting the lawmakers to the Muncie campus following their letter this month about whether the school had violated the religious and academic freedoms of the professor involved.

The Star Press reports that Gora wrote to the legislators that she felt it would be more productive to talk in person.

The inquiry is from three Republican state senators and a Republican House member. They say they might seek legislative action over the treatment of the physics professor who faced complaints of teaching creationism.

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Married Davenport man will become Catholic priest

DAVENPORT, Iowa (AP) — An Iowa man will remain married when he's ordained this summer as a priest in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Davenport.

Chris Young, who has been married 29 years, will join the Catholic clergy thanks to a 1980 dispensation from Pope John Paul II, according to the Quad-City Times. The pastoral provision, applies to former clergy of the Episcopal Church.

The 53-year-old Young will be one of about 100 men in the U.S. who became Catholic priests through such a process.

Young was a lifelong Episcopalian until eight years ago and had served as priest at Christ Episcopal Church in Moline, Ill., but says he was drawn to "unequivocally belong to the church that our Lord himself had founded."

Young said he'll practice celibacy upon becoming a Catholic priest. His wife, Jody Young, said it's an unusual change but one she accepts.

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