TOPEKA — Kansas has joined 19 other states in asking the U.S. Supreme Court to hear a dispute over crosses along Utah highways honoring state troopers who died while on duty.
Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt says he joined the effort because he wants to protect the right of free expression on public land.
Fourteen crosses have been erected by the Utah Highway Patrol Troopers Association, using private funds. Each 12-foot-high cross contains a biography of the trooper who died and the state patrol's logo.
An atheist group sued over the crosses in 2005 and a federal appeals court ruled in the group's favor, concluding the crosses were an unconstitutional government endorsement of religion. Utah then appealed.
Ore. Senate votes to remove spiritual defense for murder
SALEM, Ore. —Oregon lawmakers have approved a bill that would remove faith healing as a legal defense in murder or manslaughter cases.
The legislation was drafted largely in response to the deaths of children among members of the Followers of Christ Church in Oregon City, who rely on spiritual treatments instead of medical care.
A couple that belongs to the church stands trial this week on criminal mistreatment charges for failing to seek medical care for their infant daughter. Another couple was convicted last year of criminally negligent homicide in the 2008 death of their teenage son.
New Testament translated into Gwich'in
FAIRBANKS, Alaska — An Alaskan couple has translated the New Testament into Gwich'in.
Meggie and Pierre DeMers read a passage from a copy of their translation of the New Testament during Sunday morning services at the St. Matthew's Episcopal Church in Fairbanks.
Parishioners responded with a standing ovation.
The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner says the DeMers, who are missionaries with Wycliffe Bible Translators, have worked for 31 years to complete the Gwich'in translation of the New Testament.
Falun Gong members sue Cisco for helping China build Firewall
WASHINGTON — Members of the Falun Gong spiritual movement are suing Cisco Systems.
A federal lawsuit filed in California accuses Cisco and its top executives of supplying the Chinese government with computer networking equipment used to spy on dissidents and censor the Internet.
In a statement, Cisco disputes the allegations. The company says, "We sell the same equipment in China that we sell in other nations worldwide in strict compliance with U.S. government regulations."
School graduations to proceed at Ga. church
WOODSTOCK, Ga. —Cherokee County high schools will hold graduation ceremonies at the First Baptist Church of Woodstock this weekend despite complaints about using a religious venue for the events.
The 7,500-seat church charges about $2,000 per graduation for the five county high schools, and the school system has used it since 2005.
Rob Usher, a member of Cherokee County's school board, says using the church makes sense because it's big enough to seat the graduates' families and friends and is cheaper than other facilities.
Americans United for Separation of Church and State expressed concern over the use of the church. The school board voted in January to go ahead with the graduations there.