In brief: Bishops reject Obama birth control proposal
American bishops said Thursday the Obama administration’s latest compromise on birth control coverage and religious employers doesn’t go far enough to answer church concerns.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said a bigger buffer is needed between religious charities and any third party arranging contraceptive coverage.
Bishops also want a clearer statement that faith-affiliated hospitals and other nonprofits are religious ministries. And church leaders continue pressing for an exemption for owners of for-profit businesses who say the requirement forces them to violate their religious beliefs. The government has given no indication that it is considering a religious opt-out for business owners.
The bishops made their comments nearly a week after the Department of Health and Human Services announced another revision on coverage for contraception. The regulation is part of President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul, known as the Affordable Care Act.
The department had no reaction Thursday to the bishops’ criticism.
Phelps’ granddaughters leave Westboro church
Kansas City, Mo. – Two granddaughters of Westboro Baptist Church firebrand Fred Phelps have split with the Topeka, Kan.-based congregation, indicating their views have evolved and they now regret the pain they have caused others.
One of them, 27-year-old Megan Phelps-Roper, had been a highly visible member of the church who spoke to media outlets and spread its message via Twitter.
She and a younger sister, Grace Phelps-Roper, in November left the congregation known for its anti-gay stance and for picketing funerals of fallen soldiers and others.
“We ripped the Band-Aid off,” Megan wrote in a text to the Kansas City Star.
A statement signed by both sisters and posted on social media Wednesday said the two were trying to figure out their future.
Steve Drain, a spokesman for the church, said in an interview Wednesday that the sisters had rejected the Lord.
Police say mom passed drugs to son with kiss
Penn Yan, N.Y. – Police said an upstate New York woman passed drugs to her son while kissing him when she visited him in jail.
Sheriff’s deputies in Yates County told local media outlets that 54-year-old Penn Yan resident Kimberly Margeson was visiting her son last week when she hid oxycodone pills and passed them from her mouth to his while giving him a kiss.
Police haven’t said how the drugs were discovered.
Margeson pleaded not guilty Tuesday to charges of criminal sale of a controlled substance and promoting prison contraband.
Authorities say her 30-year-old son also was charged with promoting prison contraband. He remains in jail on an unrelated felony weapon possession charge.