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Prayers

ENTERTAINMENT
December 28, 2013 | By Mark Olsen
Just days after the release of two band members from Russian prisons, the political activists known collectively as Pussy Riot continue to make headlines and spark controversy. A screening of a documentary on the group, "Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer," had been scheduled for Sunday in Moscow with the newly-freed Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolonnikova in attendance. As reported by Buzzfeed , that screening has been canceled by the order of the head of Moscow's cultural department.
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NATIONAL
December 12, 2013 | By Becca Clemons
WASHINGTON - Solemn moments of prayer and the singing of hymns contrasted with calls for political action during a vigil at the Washington National Cathedral on Thursday, almost a year after 20 children and six adults were gunned down at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. The sermons and speeches during the vigil aimed to console, as well as to demand action on gun-control laws. “A year ago next Sunday I said from this pulpit behind me that the gun lobby is no match for the cross lobby,” said the Very Rev. Gary Hall, dean of the Washington National Cathedral.
ENTERTAINMENT
December 10, 2013 | By Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times Music Critic
This review has been updated. Mohammed Fairouz's Symphony No. 3 "Poems and Prayers" is long, brash, overwrought, beatific - and huge. For its West Coast premiere Sunday night by UCLA's Philharmonia, University Chorus and Chorale, along with two vocal soloists and a solo clarinet, more than 300 performers crowded the stage at Royce Hall. Written in 2010 when the impressively prolific American composer of Palestinian descent was 25, the symphony is a young man's extraordinary effort to say what needs to be said, feel what needs to be felt and demonstrate what needs to be demonstrated about the Israeli and Palestinian morass in the Middle East.
OPINION
November 10, 2013
Re "Prayer case bedevils Supreme Court," Nov. 7 Justice Antonin Scalia's concern that the Supreme Court might "stifle the manner in which [religious adherents] invoke their deity" can be resolved by a couple of minutes of silence when public meetings begin. During that solemn time, believers may mentally reconnect with their chosen deities. Meanwhile, nonbelievers may reflect on their good fortune to live where one's lack of belief can remain private, never to provoke reprisal.
NATIONAL
November 6, 2013 | By Tim Phelps
WASHINGTON -- Supreme Court justices appeared confounded Wednesday by how to fashion guidelines for prayer at public meetings at a time of vastly greater diversity of religious belief than earlier in the nation's history. The justices have struggled for decades to come up with a coherent set of rules for prayers at public meetings. Past decisions have allowed public bodies, including Congress, state legislatures and city councils, to open their meetings with prayers, but the justices have also ruled that public officials may not take actions that appear to “endorse” a specific set of religious beliefs.
NATIONAL
November 6, 2013 | By Timothy M. Phelps
WASHINGTON - Mulling over the beliefs of Christians, atheists, Bahais and even devil worshipers, Supreme Court justices appeared confounded Wednesday by how to fashion guidelines for prayer at public meetings in an era of rapidly increasing religious diversity in America. The justices have struggled for decades to come up with a coherent set of rules for prayers conducted at government forums. Past decisions have allowed public bodies, including Congress, state legislatures and city councils, to open their meetings with prayers, but the justices have also ruled that public officials may not take actions that appear to endorse a specific set of religious beliefs.
OPINION
November 5, 2013 | By Erwin Chemerinsky
In a move sure to please religious conservatives, President Obama's Justice Department filed a brief in the Supreme Court in favor of allowing overtly Christian prayers before city council meetings. It's an inexplicable move, and it's one more befitting a Republican administration than one headed by a Democrat and a constitutional scholar. The case is Town of Greece vs. Galloway, and it's set to be argued in the Supreme Court on Wednesday. Greece is a suburb of Rochester, N.Y. Until 1999, its Town Board opened meetings with a moment of silence - a practice that excludes no one. But then Town Supervisor John Auberger initiated a policy change, and the town began inviting clergy to open meetings with a prayer.
NATIONAL
November 2, 2013 | By David G. Savage
WASHINGTON - When Susan Galloway, who is Jewish, and Linda Stephens, an atheist, complained about the Christian prayers at town board meetings in Greece, N.Y., they were told they could "leave the room or just not listen," Galloway said. "We felt like outcasts," Galloway said. "We are not Christians, but we wanted to be at the meetings. When the minister was at the podium, it felt like a pulpit. " On Wednesday the U.S. Supreme Court will hear an appeal of a lower court decision in their favor in a case that could lead to a significant shift in law separating church and state and free city councils to open their meetings with explicitly Christian prayers.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 27, 2013 | By Samantha Schaefer
Whenever she has bad news for a family at the Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center emergency room, Gabriela Perez says a little prayer to herself before stepping through the door. A devout Roman Catholic nicknamed "Mother Teresa" by her co-workers, Perez became a nurse practitioner 27 years ago to serve her community and those in need. It's more than a job, she said. Serving the needy is deeply intertwined with her faith. Perez attended the White Mass at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels on Sunday afternoon to pray for her patients and for others in the healthcare profession.
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