Rick Jervis writes for USA Today.
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Catholic Church Could Play Larger Role in a Post-Fidel Castro Cuba
Even in his death, announced on Nov. 25, Castro defied the church by requesting that his remains be cremated, a practice accepted but discouraged by the Vatican.
But his death could also embolden the church to take a more proactive role on the communist island, in the years to come, and bolster its budding relationship with his brother, President Raúl Castro, said Enrique Pumar, head of the Sociology Department at Catholic University of America, who has studied the Catholic Church in Cuba.
Report: Fire at Black Church in S.C. Was Not Arson, Feds Say
Although arson is blamed for at least three fires over the past two weeks at several predominantly black churches in Southern states, a blaze that destroyed Mount Zion African Methodist Episcopal church in South Carolina was not deliberately set, according to a federal source, the Associated Press reported July 1.
Churchgoers had feared the worst because the church in Greeleyville, S.C., was burned to the ground by the KKK in 1995. The latest fire broke out June 30 during a night of frequent storms and lightning strikes.
Texas Takes Defiant Stance as Gay Marriage Decision Looms
The U.S. Supreme Court is now weighing arguments in the same-sex marriage case it heard on April 28 that could lead to a landmark decision requiring all states to acknowledge the unions.
But don’t count Texas out without a fight.
State lawmakers are considering at least five bills designed to block same-sex marriages, which are currently illegal in the state, and some state leaders say they’ll battle to bar the unions regardless of any Supreme Court decision.
Michael Brown's Funeral Echoes with Cries for Justice
ST. LOUIS — Justice was a recurring theme as thousands of mourners packed the mammoth Friendly Temple Missionary Baptist Church on Monday for the funeral of Michael Brown, a black teen whose fatal shooting following a confrontation with a white police officer set off weeks of sometimes violent protests.
The Rev. Al Sharpton, among the speakers, called for a “fair and impartial investigation” into the shooting.
“We are not anti-police, we respect police,” Sharpton said. “But those police that are wrong need to be dealt with just like those in our community who are wrong need to be dealt with.”
Benjamin Crump, a lawyer representing Brown’s family, alluded to the “three-fifths” clause in the Constitution for counting slaves (which actually was an anti-slavery clause) and demanded that Brown get “full justice, not three-fifths justice.”
Brown’s body was being laid to rest, but the controversy surrounding the Aug. 9 shooting was far from over. Prosecutors have not determined whether the Ferguson police officer, 28-year-old Darren Wilson, will face charges in Brown’s death.
For Navy Yard Shooter, Buddhism Was a Temporary Refuge
What people here are wondering today is what in the world went wrong with Aaron Alexis?
The man who shot and killed 12 people had his problems. But friends who worked and lived beside Alexis say they don’t recognize the man who went on a shooting rampage Monday at a military complex in Washington, D.C., and eventually was shot dead in a gunfight.
Alexis’ life ended in Washington, where he lived in a Residence Inn in the southwest part of the city and worked as civilian contractor for the military. But much of his story is centered in Fort Worth, where he seemed to be an easygoing guy who practiced Buddhism, meditated for hours and hung out with friends who spoke Thai, as he did.