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Religious

CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 6, 2014 | By Abby Sewell
The American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California and a group of religious leaders filed a lawsuit against Los Angeles County in federal court Thursday over the decision to restore a cross to the county's seal. The county Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 last month to add a cross to the top of the San Gabriel Mission in its depiction on the county emblem, which is displayed on buildings, vehicles and official communications. The complaint filed Thursday argues that restoring the cross was unconstitutional because it "favors the Christian religion over all other religions and divides County residents by religion and by adherence or non-adherence to religious beliefs.
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 6, 2014 | By Abby Sewell
A group of religious leaders filed a federal lawsuit Thursday against Los Angeles County over a Board of Supervisors' decision to place a cross on the county's seal. Supervisors voted 3 to 2 last month to add the cross to the top of the San Gabriel Mission as it appears on the county emblem, which is displayed on buildings, vehicles and official written communications. Years ago, the board had removed a cross from the seal when a similar suit was threatened. The complaint filed Thursday argues that restoring the cross violates the state and U.S. constitutions because it "favors the Christian religion over all other religions and divides County residents by religion and by adherence or non-adherence to religious beliefs.
OPINION
February 4, 2014 | By The Times editorial board
Two decades ago, Congress overwhelmingly approved and President Clinton enthusiastically signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. But now that the 1993 law is being used to challenge the Obama administration's requirement that employer health plans include contraceptive services, some supporters of the law are having second thoughts, and several organizations want the Supreme Court to declare it unconstitutional. That would be a mistake. The law was a response to a 1990 Supreme Court decision involving two Oregon men who had been denied unemployment benefits after they were fired for using the hallucinogenic drug peyote during a Native American religious rite.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 30, 2014 | By Charles McNulty, Los Angeles Times Theater Critic
Right at the start of Sarah Ruhl's "Passion Play," now at the Odyssey Theatre, a religious crisis of the kind Freud would have appreciated erupts. The actress playing Mary in the town's religious pageant secretly has the hots for the young hunk playing Jesus. How can she be expected to act maternal - never mind holy - when he's strutting around so temptingly in a loin cloth that keeps slipping? The frolicsome boldness of Ruhl's imagination is on cheeky display in this Odyssey Theatre Ensemble-Evidence Room co-production directed by Bart DeLorenzo.
SCIENCE
January 17, 2014 | By Emily Alpert Reyes
Divorce is higher among religiously conservative Protestants - and even drives up divorce rates for other people living around them, a new study finds. The study, slated to be published in the American Journal of Sociology, tackles the “puzzling paradox” of why divorce is more common in religiously conservative “red” states. If religious conservatives believe firmly in the value of marriage, why is divorce especially high in places like Alabama and Arkansas? To figure that out, researchers from the University of Texas and the University of Iowa analyzed county divorce statistics against information from an earlier study of religious congregations.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 7, 2014 | By Abby Sewell
A divided Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to restore a cross to the county seal. The motion, proposed by Supervisors Michael D. Antonovich and Don Knabe and supported by Mark Ridley-Thomas, will add a cross to the top of the San Gabriel Mission in its depiction on the county emblem. The decision came despite the threat of lawsuits over the constitutionality of placing a religious symbol on the seal. Antonovich and Knabe maintained that they simply want the seal to accurately depict the mission.
WORLD
December 30, 2013 | By Erin Conway-Smith
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa - A series of attacks in the Democratic Republic of Congo's capital left dozens of people dead Monday as the army fought off assailants identified as followers of a disgruntled religious leader. The coordinated attacks, at first thought to be a coup attempt, targeted a state television station, the airport and a military base in Kinshasa, the capital. Gunfire was also reported in Lubumbashi, the country's second-largest city and capital of mineral-rich Katanga province.
ENTERTAINMENT
December 30, 2013 | By Hector Tobar
Reza Aslan began 2013 as an academic teaching creative writing at UC Riverside. In the summer, he published the book "Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth" and everything changed. Now Aslan is ending his wild year with a movie deal for "Zealot" as well as writing a pilot for cable TV network FX, running the "transmedia" company Boomgen Studios, working on a novel -- and trying to craft the next episode in his unorthodox life as an Internet-era public intellectual. "Zealot," which portrayed Jesus not as a divine being but as an angry rebel, had already hit bestseller lists before an interview Aslan did with Fox News made him a viral video star.
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