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Religion news in brief: Gay bishop divorces husband; Muslim wrestler can keep beard

May 7th, 2014 6:31 pm by Associated Press

Religion news in brief: Gay bishop divorces husband; Muslim wrestler can keep beard

In this photo released by the Episcopal Dioceses of New Hampshire, Mark Andrew, left, and Bishop V. Gene Robinson are shown during their private civil union ceremony performed by Ronna Wise in Concord, N.H., in this Saturday June 7, 2008 file photo. AP

First openly gay Episcopal bishop divorces husband

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — The first openly gay bishop in the Episcopal church and the global Anglican Communion has announced he is divorcing his husband.

Retired Bishop Gene Robinson announced that he is divorcing Mark Andrew in an email to the Diocese of New Hampshire and an article for The Daily Beast.

The couple entered into a civil union in 2008 that converted to a marriage when New Hampshire legalized gay marriage in 2010.

Robinson's election in 2003 as the first openly gay Anglican bishop created an international uproar and led conservative Episcopalians to break away from the main church in the United States.

He writes that details of his divorce are private and that he can't repay the debt he owes Andrew "for his standing by me through the challenges of the last decade."

Robinson had previously been married to a woman and had two children before he and his wife divorced.

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Vatican defrocks 848 priests in 10 years for abuse

GENEVA (AP) — The Vatican has released comprehensive statistics for the first time on how it has disciplined priests accused of raping and molesting children: It says 848 priests have been defrocked and another 2,572 given lesser sanctions over the past decade.

The Vatican's U.N. ambassador to Geneva, Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, revealed the figures during a second day of grilling Tuesday by a U.N. committee monitoring implementation of the U.N. treaty against torture.

Tomasi insisted the convention applied only inside the tiny Vatican City State. He nevertheless released statistics about how the Holy See has adjudicated abuse cases globally — and acknowledged that sexual abuse involving children "can be considered torture."

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SD lawmaker discusses post on homosexuality

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — A South Dakota state lawmaker who called gay sex a moral and a health issue says he regrets the wording of his recent Facebook post but not the sentiment of his controversial comments.

Republican Steve Hickey, who also is a Sioux Falls pastor, has received both praise and backlash for his remarks. He believes people are tired of hearing the religious argument against homosexuality and wants medical professionals to come forward to explain the health risks of homosexual activity.

The South Dakota Democratic Party has called the remarks "reprehensible."

Hickey told the Argus Leader he "could have spent more time to be more precise." But he also said he believes homosexuality is a "deviation" from "biology and nature."

Hickey says if people object to his views they can, in his words — "vote me out."

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Town prayer case challengers: The debate matters

GREECE, N.Y. (AP) — The upstate New York residents who challenged their town board's prayer practice before the nation's highest court say their disappointment in losing is softened by the dialogue the case has inspired.

A day after the U.S. Supreme Court's narrow decision upholding Christian prayers at the start of Greece Town Board meetings, Linda Stephens and Susan Galloway say they'll continue to push the board to be more inclusive as it schedules people to deliver the prayers.

Both say they are happy to see the debate their case has generated around the country, where it's been a top news story and has generated thousands of online comments.

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Muslim college wrestler gets waiver to keep beard

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — A Muslim college wrestler in New York who chose to sit on the sidelines rather than shave his beard has been granted a waiver that will allow him to compete with the facial hair.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations on Monday praised the NCAA's decision in the case of University at Buffalo wrestler Muhamed McBryde.

NCAA rules say that wrestlers must be clean shaven. But McBryde says shaving his beard would compromise his faith. He missed nearly a whole season of competition because of the conflict.

In April, the NCAA Wrestling Rules Committee said McBryde could compete with a beard during the 2014-15 season, as long as he wears a face mask and chin strap to cover it.

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