Religion news in brief
Pastor: Image of lynching meant to remind people importance of voting
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — An Indianapolis pastor said a sign in front of his church with images of a lynching and slaves in chains is meant to remind people of the importance of their voting rights.
One side of the sign outside Greater St. Mark Missionary Baptist Church features a photo of the 1930 lynching of two black men before a crowd of white people in Marion, Ind. ‘‘VOTE!!!’’ is written about the image, and beneath it: ‘‘Is this a reason to vote?’’
Rev. Joy Thorton, who is black, said he has heard few complaints since the sign went up about a week ago.
‘‘I think there is a sense of complacency about the price that was paid for one of the most precious rights we have, and that is the right to vote,’’ Thornton told WRTV. ‘‘That sign serves as a historical reminder.’’
The sign along busy 38th Street amid a typically lower-income neighborhood on the city’s east side has drawn varied reactions.
Joyce Hise, the president of nearby Discount Casket Sales, said the sign delivered an important message.
‘‘It is disturbing, however, it’s a part of history,’’ said Hise, who is black. ‘‘It’s a part of history that we have to remember.’’
ACLU suit challenges flier ban at Mormon temple; non-LDS church says free speech curtailed
BRIGHAM CITY, Utah (AP) — The American Civil Liberties Union of Utah is suing the town of Brigham City, claiming it is squelching a non-denominational Christian church’s free speech by limiting flier distribution near a Mormon temple.
Leaders of Main Street Church say they got a city permit to pass out literature during the temple’s open house Aug. 18 to Sept. 15, but have been barred from staking out the two busiest sides of the building.
‘‘The overbreadth of Brigham City’s ‘Free Speech Zone’ Ordinance is breathtaking,’’ said John Mejia, legal director of the ACLU of Utah. ‘‘Under this ordinance, you would arguably have to apply for a permit to engage in nearly any speech in the city. The ordinance could be used to silence anyone, from two friends debating politics on the sidewalk to a missionary handing out fliers.’’
Brigham City Attorney Kirk Morgan told KSL that Main Street Church members are upset because they’re being kept away from bus unloading zones, where thousands of people arrive at the temple each day. Morgan said the restrictions are for pedestrian and traffic safety.
Main Street, which describes itself as a Bible-based church with a presence in Brigham City since the 1960s, believes Mormonism falls outside of orthodox Christianity.
US opposes Jewish group’s bid for penalty against Russia for withholding historical documents
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration is opposing a Jewish group’s bid to have civil fines levied against Russia for failing to obey a court order to return its historic books and documents — a dispute that has halted the loan of Russian art works for exhibit in the United States.
In a recent court filing, the Justice Department argued that judicial sanctions against Russia in this case would be contrary to U.S. foreign policy interests and inconsistent with U.S. law.
The Jewish group, Chabad-Lubavitch, based in the Brooklyn borough of New York City, has already convinced Chief Judge Royce Lamberth of the U.S. District Court here that it has a valid claim to the tens of thousands of religious books and manuscripts, some up to 500 years old, which record the group’s core teachings and traditions.
Lamberth ruled the records are unlawfully possessed by the Russian State Library and the Russian military archive. And in 2010, he ordered the Russian government to turn them over to the U.S. embassy in Moscow or to the group’s representative.
Russia, which doesn’t recognize the authority of the U.S. court, has refused. It says the collection is part of Russia’s national heritage.
Representatives of major religions meet, pray for peace in Sarajevo
SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) — Representatives of some of the world’s major religions have concluded a three-day interfaith meeting in Sarajevo by calling for peace around the world.
The meeting involved officials from Greek Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu and Buddhist communities, and they walked together through Sarajevo’s streets Tuesday evening before issuing their joint commitment to peace.
Their choice of Sarajevo for the meeting was significant because it was here that the 44-month Bosnian Serb siege took place during the 1991-95 Bosnian war, killing more than 11,500 civilians.Continued...