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After Roe's demise, clergy lead faithful in praise, laments

After Roe's demise, clergy lead faithful in praise, laments

Praise and lament for the overturning of abortion rights filled sacred spaces this weekend as clergy across the U.S. rearranged worship plans or rewrote sermons to provide their religious context — and competing messages — about the historic moment. Abortion is a visceral issue for deeply divided religious Americans. Some are sad or angry in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s seismic Dobbs v. Jackson decision Friday. Others are grateful and elated. At St. Paul Cathedral in Pittsburgh, the Very Rev. Kris Stubna discarded his planned Sunday homily and focused on the decision, calling it “a day of great joy and blessing.” He said the overturning of the nearly 50-year-old Roe v. Wade ruling was the result of prayers and efforts of many Catholics and others.“This law violated the very law of God, that every life is sacred,” he said. “A person cannot support abortion and still be a faithful member of the church.” Stubna’s comments would be considered divisive by some since U.S. Catholics disagree on abortion rights. Supporters include high-profile members of the faith like President Joe Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi who face Communion restrictions as a result. Not everyone sat through Stubna’s entire homily. Although unable to ask their reasons, an Associated Press photographer saw one woman leave during it. Security personnel estimated three others also exited early. Views on abortions are not just polarizing within denominations; the divisions span the religious landscape. “SCOTUS just dealt a terrible blow to women, to girls, to all childbearing people, to freedom,” said the Rev. Jacqui Lewis, senior minister at Middle Collegiate Church, a multicultural Protestant congregation in Manhattan. She mourned the overturning of Roe, expressing deep emotions during a service Sunday, saying, “It took safe legal abortions off the table, opening the door for states to rush in and crush reproductive justice. We are reeling. Spinning. So hurt we can hardly move. We are feeling the loss, the pain of it.”A majority of adults from Buddhist, Hindu, historically Black Protestant, Jewish, mainline Protestant, Muslim and Orthodox Christian faiths support legal abortion in all or most cases, according to a Pew Research Center’s Religious Landscape Study.Rabbi Sarah DePaolo carved out time at the start of Friday night’s Shabbat service at Congregation Shir Ha-Ma’alot in Irvine, California, to express her disappointment, urging community members to support each other and create space for the fearful. “One of the most upsetting things about this decision is that while it claims to represent people of faith, it does not represent our faith,” DePaolo said. “It does not reflect our Jewish law. It does not reflect our traditions. It does not reflect our community.”Catholics are split on the issue while most evangelical Protestants, Jehovah’s Witnesses and members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints say abortion should be illegal in all or most instances, according to the Pew Research Center study. The Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, views the ruling as a moral and spiritual victory. On Sunday, he told his California congregation at New Season that now is the time for an unprecedented adoption movement. “We’re gonna adopt babies, but we’re gonna adopt moms, pregnant moms … who have abortions because they can’t afford to have a baby,” he said.Southern Baptists, who are members of the nation’s largest Protestant denomination, are staunch supporters of anti-abortion views. On Sunday, several pastors praised the ruling from their pulpits. The congregation at First Baptist Concord in Knoxville, Tennessee, broke into applause when Pastor John Mark Harrison addressed it. He invited a panel of advocates to explain how everyone can continue supporting those with unwanted pregnancies via mentorship, fostering, adoption, addressing systemic issues and more.“There’s so much anger and emotion,” Harrison said. “What we need to understand is that we’re not called to fuel the emotions of the right or the left. We’re called to walk in and through the gospel of Jesus Christ … and minister to real people in real times of crisis.” At Central Church, in College Station, Texas, lead Pastor Phillip Bethancourt echoed that overturning Roe is not the finish line: “It’s the starting gate of a new chapter. Abortion should be not just unlawful but unnecessary and unthinkable.” David Rhoades, lead pastor of Broadview Baptist Church in Lubbock, Texas, said in an email the court decision was on a par with the Emancipation Proclamation and Juneteenth, and will reverberate for years. He hoped church members left Sunday’s service with a clear understanding of what they must do next, including ”minister to both the baby and its mother, and continue to work to elect pro-life representatives.”Other faith leaders doubled down on their support for abortion rights.Women should be able to make their own decisions, preached the Rev. Fletcher Harper at the Episcopal Church of Our Saviour in Secaucus, New Jersey. “Outlawing abortion is a sinful act that perpetuates male domination and the subjugation of women,” he said. “It extends the coercive power of the state into a place where it should have no business.”During a service Sunday at the Unitarian Universalist Church of the South Hills in Mt. Lebanon, Pennsylvania, director of music Mary Pratt read aloud a denominational statement affirming it would remain “committed to reproductive justice.”Pratt said members were shocked and grieving, although they expected the outcome. “They were looking for reminders of why we need to get back out and fight,” she said. The start of services at Pilgrim United Church of Christ in Durham, North Carolina, included two verses of “We Shall Overcome” and a prayer by the Rev. Melinda Keenan Wood for those outraged, heartbroken and fearful about Roe’s demise. “We know that this decision will be measured in deaths, incarcerations and life-altering trauma as politicians rush to control the most painfully intimate of decisions,” Keenan Wood said.A prominent Black pastor in Columbus, Ohio — Bishop Timothy Clarke of the First Church of God — tried to strike a balance in his Saturday message to congregants, acknowledging conflicting views on abortion and calling on the church to show compassion. “I know and love persons in both camps,” Clarke said. “They are sincere, committed. … They truly see this as a life altering issue.” ———Meyer reported from Nashville, Tennessee, and Crary from New York. AP Religion Team members Peter Smith and Jessie Wardarski in Pittsburgh; Luis Andres Henao, in Princeton, New Jersey; Mariam Fam in Winter Park, Florida; Deepa Bharath in Los Angeles; and AP writer Tom Foreman Jr. in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, contributed.———Associated Press religion coverage receives support through the AP’s collaboration with The Conversation US, with funding from Lilly Endowment Inc. The AP is solely responsible for this content.

Newspaper: Oklahoma gun deaths rose as firearms access grew

Newspaper: Oklahoma gun deaths rose as firearms access grew

OKLAHOMA CITY — Gun deaths in Oklahoma have increased since a “permitless carry” law allowing people over the age of 21 to carry a gun without a permit or training went into effect in 2019, according to a newspaper’s review of data. The Oklahoman analyzed state medical examiner data and found that Oklahoma has recorded some of its deadliest months in history since the law took effect.In the decade before “permitless carry,” only 10 months had 70 or more firearm deaths. From November 2019 until January, a 15-month span, 10 months had more than 70 gun-related deaths, the newspaper reported. That included 95 deaths in June 2020, the deadliest month in the 12 years of data examined. The average number of gun deaths per month increased nearly 20% compared with the 10 years before the law took effect, a period in which the population grew just over 6%, according to the newspaper’s analysis. The newspaper reported Sunday that it’s hard to determine if the permitless carry law directly contributed to a rise in gun violence. At least some of the increase occurred even as homicides rose nationally in the U.S. in 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic. But as Oklahoma lawmakers have increased access to firearms over the past decade, firearm-caused suicides, accidents and homicides in the state have increased, The Oklahoman reported.The debate over gun control measures and efforts to expand gun rights comes following recent mass shootings in Buffalo, New York, Uvalde, Texas, and in Tulsa. When Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt signed the permitless carry bill into law, he said it would expand the rights of Oklahoma residents while also making the state safer. “There shouldn’t be any uptick in violence,” he said.Kate Vesper, a spokesperson for Stitt, said the governor would continue to fight “to protect Oklahomans’ constitutional right to keep and bear arms.” In recent weeks, Vesper said, “Stitt has held school safety meetings … to examine what policies, laws, and procedures are already in place and which of those the state can and should better enforce, as well as examining any additional steps the state may need to take to keep our kids and schools safe.”Since 2010, more than 8,600 Oklahomans have been killed by gun violence. In 2010, Oklahoma’s gun-caused death rate was 14.3 per 100,000 residents, based on data from the state medical examiner and U.S. Census Bureau population estimates. In 2020, the gun death rate was 21.2, one of the highest in the nation.“The narrative of saying we need more guns is only creating a situation where more people are dying from guns,” said Joshua Harris-Till, an Oklahoma City-based gun control advocate who lost his sister to gun violence nine years ago. But Republican leaders in Oklahoma have not shown an interest in any gun control measures.“We are serious about public safety. We are also serious about protecting the Second Amendment,” Senate Pro Tem Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City, told reporters this month.

Average US gasoline price drops 4 cents to $5.05 per gallon

Average US gasoline price drops 4 cents to $5.05 per gallon

CAMARILLO, Calif. — The average U.S. price of regular-grade gasoline fell by 4 cents per gallon in the past two weeks to $5.05 for regular grade, it was reported Sunday.It was the first drop in nine weeks and came with a drop in oil prices amid deepening global inflation fears, industry analyst Trilby Lundberg said.“As lower gasoline prices make their way through distribution to retail, consumers will likely see further declines in coming days,” Lundberg said.The average price at the pump as of Friday was still $1.90 higher than it was one year ago.Nationwide, the highest average price for regular-grade gas was in the San Francisco Bay Area, at $6.39 per gallon. The lowest average was in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, at $4.39 per gallon.According to the survey, the average price of diesel rose 3 cents to $5.89 a gallon.

Chicago suburb warehouse temporary employee charged after allegedly fatally shooting 1, injuring 2 others

Chicago suburb warehouse temporary employee charged after allegedly fatally shooting 1, injuring 2 others

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A temporary employee in a suburban Chicago warehouse is being charged after allegedly shooting three coworkers Saturday morning, one of which died.Charles McKnight, a Chicago resident, allegedly opened fire in a WeatherTech warehouse in Bolingbrook, Illinois, on Saturday morning after allegedly robbing two coworkers at gunpoint, according to the Bolingbrook Police Department who spoke with FOX 32. Police were called to the scene at 6:25 a.m., and McKnight left the warehouse.
Charles McKnight, a Chicago resident, allegedly opened fire in a WeatherTech warehouse in Bolingbrook, Illinois, on Saturday morning after allegedly robbing two coworkers at gunpoint
(Bolingbrook Police Department)Coworkers told police that McKnight was working the overnight shift and allegedly robbed two coworkers of a watch and wallet while at gunpoint. When other coworkers confronted McKnight about the robberies, he allegedly shot three of them, with one person pronounced dead.According to the report, police say McKnight was with a temporary employment agency and WeatherTech was his assignment as of June 9.CHICAGO 5-MONTH-OLD BABY GIRL DIES AFTER BEING SHOT IN THE HEAD: ‘A DISGRACE’
WeatherTech warehouse in Bolingbrook, Illinois
(FOX 32)He is being charged with attempted first-degree murder and first-degree murder.A 25-year-old man is described to be in critical condition after the shooting and a 43-year-old man was treated at a local hospital and released, according to the report.Central Hightower, 37, died in the shooting.CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APPBolingbrook, Illinois, is a suburb of Chicago.

Virginia firefighter, mother of two dies while teaching swift water rescue course

Virginia firefighter, mother of two dies while teaching swift water rescue course

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A Virginia firefighter and mother of two boys died on Saturday when she “suffered a catastrophic accident” during a swift water rescue training, according to officials. Alicia Monahan, 41, was instructing the course in the North Carolina mountains when she tragically passed away. It wasn’t immediately clear how the accident happened. Monahan was an 11-year veteran of the Chesterfield County Fire Department and leaves behind her fiancée and two sons. PHILADELPHIA FIREFIGHTER KILLED IN BUILDING COLLAPSE, 5 RESCUED IN ‘CATASTROPHIC ACCIDENT’”Our hearts and prayers go out to Alicia’s family, friends, and co-workers during this very difficult time,” the fire department said Saturday. 
Alicia Monahan, 41, died while instructing a swift water training course in North Carolina on Saturday. 
(Chesterfield County Fire and EMS )Swift water rescue is a specialized discipline that trains rescuers to navigate situations in natural bodies of water and flood environments, according to the National Parks Service. CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP”Alicia was more than a teammate she was also a personal friend to many of us and this loss is unimaginable,” the Virginia Search and Rescue Dog Association said. “Alicia was a wonderful, caring person… a beautiful, bright light went out today and our hearts are broken.”

Georgia siblings, including a 3-year-old, drown in lake on the same day

Georgia siblings, including a 3-year-old, drown in lake on the same day

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Three siblings drowned on the same day last week during a boating excursion on a lake in Georgia last week, according authorities and local media.Lincoln County Sheriff Paul Reviere said the three siblings drowned Thursday in the Amity Recreation Area on Clarks Hill Lake.
Small lake ripples and soft sunshine reflections. 
(iStock)Coroner Tim Quarles identified the victims as 22-year-old Raven Powell, of McDuffie County and her two younger brothers Mason Powell, 4 and Sawyer Powell, 3.News outlets report the bodies were recovered and were being sent to the state crime lab for an autopsy. The coroner’s office said the three siblings died sometime after 5 p.m. Thursday.MAN DROWNS IN GEORGIA’S LAKE LANIER NEAR JIMMY BUFFETT-THEMED MARGARITAVILLE RESORTFurther details about what happened have not been released. The incident remains under investigation by the sheriff’s office, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
Amity Recreation Area on Clarks Hill Lake in Georgia. 
(Google Maps)”We have not ruled out anything at this point as the autopsy will hopefully provide us with more information as well as the interviews and other investigative leads we are following,” Pat Morgan of GBI told WRWD.Clark Hills lake is located in Northeastern Georgia, near the border with South Carolina.CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APPA little over a year ago, friends Eynn Wilson and Edward Kirk drowned in the same area during a boating excursion with friends and family members. Shontover Kirkland, 32, was charged with reckless conduct and involuntary manslaughter and pleaded guilty in the case last week.The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Los Angeles 29-year-old trans woman beats 13-year-old girl to first place in NYC women's skateboarding contest

Los Angeles 29-year-old trans woman beats 13-year-old girl to first place in NYC women's skateboarding contest

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A 29-year-old biological male who identifies as a transgender woman beat out a 13-year-old girl for first place in a New York City skateboarding tournament on Saturday.Ricci Tres, who also goes by Ricci And Tres, took the top title in the women’s division of The Boardr Open, taking home $500.In second place was Shiloh Catori, a 13-year-old girl who is 133 in the Boardr Global Ranks, which are based on performance in skateboarding competitions. Tres, by comparison, sits at 838 in the rankings.Four of the six competitors in the tournament were under age 17, and the youngest was Juri Iikura, who is only 10 years old but came in fifth place.TITLE IX’S 50th ANNIVERSARY: DEBATE OVER TRANSGENDER ATHLETESMany on social media excoriated the tournament for the biological and age disparities between the competitors, including female skateboarder Taylor Silverman, who spoke out in May after having repeatedly placed second in skateboarding contests against biological males.”I have been in three different contests with trans women, two of which I placed second,” Silverman wrote in an Instagram post on May 17, which met with a barrage of negative comments. She went on to explain that the transgender competitor she lost against in a Redbull Cornerstone skate event took home $1,000 in qualifiers, $3,000 in finals and $1,000 in best trick.”This totaled $5,000 of the prize money meant for female athletes,” Silverman noted.FORMER PENN SWIMMER LIA THOMAS HAS OLYMPIC GOALS, SAYS TRANS WOMEN ‘NOT A THREAT TO WOMEN’S SPORTS’Christina Pushaw, a spokeswoman for Gov. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., questioned from her personal Twitter account why 28- and 29-year-olds were “competing against children.”Broadcaster Tim Pool wrote that biological males have a physical advantage in skateboarding because they “have higher centers of gravity granting advantages that cannot be removed with [hormone replacement therapy].”The Boardr did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APPThe skateboarding competition comes amid a national debate over whether biological men have a competitive advantage over biological women.On the 50th anniversary of Title IX, the Biden administration has indicated that it wants transgender athletes to enjoy the same protections that Title IX originally afforded women when it passed half a century ago.Fox News’ Ryan Gaydos contributed to this report.

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