DES MOINES, Iowa — An influential group of religious conservatives plans to sit out the fall gubernatorial election after candidates it favored lost in the recent Republican primary.
The Iowa Family Policy Center's decision Monday was a blow to Republican Terry Branstad, who had banked on support from religious conservatives in his race against Democratic Gov. Chet Culver. The religious group said neither major party candidate met its standards.
"After nearly a week of calls for blind partisan unity from Republican loyalists, the Iowa Family PAC today reaffirmed their intention to withhold support from either major party candidate for governor in 2010 unless one or both of them illustrates a fundamental transformation," said Danny Carroll, chairman of the Iowa Family Policy Center. "Our commitment to biblical principles and t he constitutional rule of law is not the result of any political affiliation, nor is it something that changes depending on the names on the ballot."
Religious conservatives are a key group in Iowa. Polling during the 2008 presidential caucuses found that six out of 10 who attended Republican caucuses described themselves as evangelical Chri stians.
Branstad spokesman Tim Albrecht said the former governor would still work hard for the votes of religious conservatives. The campaign noted that during Branstad is a longtime opponent of aborti on and signed a state law outlawing same-sex marriage, which the Iowa Supreme Court later overturned.
French police ban planned street party serving pork and wine in heavily Muslim neighborhood
PARIS — French police banned a street party whose organizers planned to serve alcoholic cocktails and pork sausages in a heavily Muslim neighborhood of Paris.
Police said the party, called "Sausage and Booze," could have been viewed as a provocation in the Goutte-d'Or neighborhood of northern Paris, where many Muslims pray on the streets because th ere are not enough mosques. Alcohol and pork are forbidden by Islam and the party had been slated for just after Friday's main Muslim weekly prayers.
Organizers said they were holding the party to protest Islam's encroachment on traditional French values in the neighborhood. Muslim groups had announced a counterparty serving halal, or religi ously approved, food.
Police banned both events.
French rights group SOS Racisme praised the ban on the party, which they called it a "flagrant call for hatred."
The woman who organized the party on Facebook gives her name as Sylvie Francois. She told the Metro newspaper Tuesday that the "Islamization" of her working-class neighborhood was "more and more ostentatious," and complained that Muslims now block several streets during Friday prayers.
14-story NYC building to be lit in honor of Mother Teresa after Empire State Building declined
NEW YORK — A 14-story office complex in New York City will do what the 102-story Empire State Building would not: honor Mother Teresa on what would have been her 100th birthday.
City Councilman James Vacca says the Hutchinson Metro Center in the Bronx will be illuminated on Aug. 26 in blue and white, the colors of Mother Teresa's order. The lights will be visible to mo torists along the Hutchinson River Parkway.
Last week, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn also called for a day of service to honor the late Nobel Prize winner. She also asked New Yorkers to put battery-operated lights in their windows on Aug. 26.
Empire State Building's owner, Anthony Malkin, declined to light up the iconic skyscraper, citing a policy of not honoring religious figures.
Boston College law dean to become president of Catholic University of America in DC
WASHINGTON — John Garvey, the dean of Boston College Law School and a lay person, has been named president of Catholic University of America, the U.S. national university of the Roman Cath olic Church.
Garvey, 61, succeeds the Rev. David M. O'Connell who led the school for 12 years and was recently appointed bishop-elect of the Diocese of Trenton, N.J.
Garvey has been the law dean at Boston College for more than a decade. He will be Catholic University's third lay president. The appointment of the school's leader requires approval from the Va tican.
Before joining Boston College, Garvey was an assistant to the solicitor general in the Reagan administration and a law professor at Notre Dame and the University of Kentucky.
Garvey graduated from Harvard Law School in 1974. He clerked for federal appeals judge Irving R. Kaufman, who presided over the 1951 espionage trial of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg and imposed th eir death sentences. Garvey starts work in July.
History museum presents exhibit on 400 years of Jewish life in NC
RALEIGH, N.C. —Visitors to the North Carolina Museum of History will have the chance to view the results of the first major effort to document and present more than 400 years of Jewish li fe in the state.
"Down Home: Jewish Life in North Carolina" is on exhibit at the museum in downtown Raleigh. Next year, it will begin a tour of museums in Greensboro, Wilmington, Charlotte and Asheville.
The exhibit chronicles how Jews integrated into North Carolina by blending their own traditions into Southern culture while maintained their religious traditions.
The exhibit will close at the Raleigh museum between July 11 and Aug. 1, then reopen Aug. 2 and continue through March 7, 2011. It was produced and organized by the Jewish Heritage Foundation o f North Carolina.