Doug Stanglin writes for USA Today.
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Ex-Trooper Says He Was Not Told the Truth in Duggar Molestation Case
A former Arkansas state trooper claims the Duggar family concealed the extent of their son’s alleged fondling of underage girls when the patriarch of the family turned to him for help disciplining the teenager more than a decade ago, the tabloid In Touch reports.
The tabloid broke the original story that Josh Duggar, the eldest son of the Duggar family, from the TLC reality show 19 Kids and Counting, had allegedly molested girls when he was a teenager. It published a 2006 police report on the incident.
Duggar has since apologized for “acting inexcusably” as a teenager and has resigned as executive director of the Family Research Council’s lobbying arm.
Nebraska Lawmakers Vote to Abolish Death Penalty
Nebraska lawmakers passed a bill May 20 to abolish the death penalty by a big enough margin to override a threatened veto by Gov. Pete Ricketts.
The measure passed 32-15 in the state’s unicameral Legislature. It would replace the death penalty with a sentence of life in prison.
If lawmakers override the expected veto, Nebraska would become the first conservative state to repeal the death penalty since North Dakota in 1973, the Lincoln Journal Star reports.
Indiana Lawmakers Agree to Amend ‘Religious Freedom’ Law
Indiana Republican legislative leaders, under growing pressure from inside and outside the state, said April 2 that lawmakers had reached agreement to amend Indiana’s controversial “religious freedom” law to ensure it does not discriminate against gay and lesbian customers of Indiana businesses.
Second American Ebola Patient Arrives in US
A small plane carrying Nancy Writebol, the second American Ebola patient from Liberia, arrived in the United States on Tuesday, making a brief refueling stop in Bangor, Maine, en route to Atlanta and Emory University Hospital.
The same plane, a Gulfstream jet specially outfitted with an isolation pod, brought the first American patient, 33-year-old physician Kent Brantly, to the medical center from Liberia on Saturday, WLBZ-TV reports. The plane was on the ground in Bangor for less than an hour.
Brantly, with Samaritan’s Purse, and Writebol, with Service in Mission, are medical missionaries who were infected with Ebola while working with patients in Liberia.
SIM USA said on Monday that the 59-year-old Writebol was in serious condition.
Iranian Women Shed Veils for Facebook Page
Thousands of Iranian women are sending photos of themselves without their hijab, or veil, to a new London-based Facebook page dedicated to allowing them “stealthy freedoms.”
The Facebook page — called “Stealthy Freedom of Iranian Women” — was set up by Iranian journalist Masih Alinejad and has attracted almost 150,000 likes.
Alinejad told the Guardian, which first reported about the site, that she has been inundated with messages and photos since launching it May 3.
“I’ve hardly slept in the past three days because of the number of pictures and messages I’ve received,” she told the newspaper.
The photos show women — sans veil — in parks, on the beach, or on the street.
New Testing Dates Shroud of Turin to Era of Christ
New scientific tests on the Shroud of Turin, which went on display Saturday in a special TV appearance introduced by the pope, date the cloth to ancient times, challenging earlier experiments that dated it only to the Middle Ages.
Pope Francis sent a special video message to the televised event in the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist in Turin, Italy, which coincided with Holy Saturday, when Catholics mark the period between Christ’s crucifixion on Good Friday and his resurrection on Easter Sunday.
The Vatican, tiptoeing carefully, has never claimed that the 14-foot linen cloth was used to cover Christ after he was taken from the cross 2,000 years ago, as some believers claim.
Arkansas Senate OKs Guns in Churches
The Arkansas Senate has passed a bill that lifts a ban on carrying concealed weapons in church.
The proposal, which goes to the Arkansas House for consideration, would allow churches to decide which, if any, worshippers with concealed carry permits can bring their firearms inside.
The measure passed 28-4 on Monday Jan. 28, KATV reported.
Bus Ads Aim to Reclaim the Meaning of ‘Jihad’
An ad campaign on San Francisco buses is aimed at trying to change public perception of the word “jihad,” which the program’s founder says has been distorted by extremists — Muslim and anti-Muslim alike.
Ahmed Rehab, a 36-year-old political activist, started the campaign in Chicago in December and expanded it to 25 San Francisco buses at the start of the year.
Rehab, who heads the Chicago office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, says his MyJihad campaign, which defines jihad as a personal struggle in many areas of life, is aimed at reframing a debate over a word that has become synonymous in many quarters with armed struggle and terrorism.
He said the debate has been taken over “more or less by two extremes — Muslim extremists and anti-Muslim extremists.”