CAIRO

Coptic priests warned not to bless second marriages

The head of the Egyptian Coptic Church threatened to excommunicate priests who perform second marriages after a court ruled that divorced Copts could remarry.

Pope Shenouda III strongly condemned the verdict, which he said goes against the Bible. He said priests who perform these marriages, along with people requesting to remarry, will not be allowed to enter the church again as they are considered “deviants.” He explained only those divorced on grounds of adultery can remarry.

“The issue of remarriage for those divorced is a specifically religious matter that only the Bible can dictate,” Shenouda said.

Shenouda warned that this ruling, which has sparked anger in the Coptic community, endangers the church’s relations with the state and could alienate Copts. Copts make up less than 10 percent of the population.

BATON ROUGE, La.

Senate panel nixes bill OK’ing concealed weapons in church

A Senate committee shot down a bill that would have allowed concealed weapons to be carried inside churches.

The bill, which had passed the House in a 74-18 vote, found no support in a Senate judiciary committee. The Senate Judiciary B Committee voted 3-0 against the proposal.

State Rep. Henry Burns, a Republican from Haughton, told the committee that churches are not the safe places they used to be and should be able to take steps to protect their parishioners. He said while he was against a measure last year to bring guns on college campuses, he hopes to allow concealed weapons in churches because religious buildings tend to be much smaller and easier to secure than universities.

Opponents have argued it was inappropriate to have concealed handguns in church, but there was little debate about the measure in the Senate committee Tuesday before it was killed.

SALT LAKE CITY

Seven Aphorisms won’t join Ten Commandments in park

A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit against the city of Pleasant Grove over a monument displaying the Ten Commandments.

A religious sect called Summum wanted to erect a display of its Seven Aphorisms in the park where the Ten Commandments monument stands.

U.S. District Judge Dale Kimball ruled that Pleasant Grove did not violate the U.S. Constitution by accepting a Ten Commandments monument in a city park and denying a Summum monument. The Constitution prohibits government from establishing an official religion or favoring one religion over another.

Kimball says the city displays the monument for historical purposes, not religious, and did not cite Summum’s beliefs when denying the group. “There is no evidence that anyone in Pleasant Grove government had any idea what Summum’s religious beliefs were,” Kimball wrote in his decision.

Summum, a Latin word meaning highest or greatest, is rooted in Gnostic Christianity.