Campbellsville Univ. to break with Baptists

LOUISVILLE- A Christian university in central Kentucky has changed its longstanding relationship with Kentucky Baptists so it can appoint its own trustees, and it also will be giving up about $1 million in annual church funding.

Campbellsville University board of trustees Chairman Joseph L. Owens and President Michael V. Carter wrote in a letter last week that the move is to "avoid undue influence and the imposition of theological and doctrinal control." It said the board of trustees voted to phase out over four years the $977,000 it receives annually from Baptist churches.

The letter said the university also has adopted a revised set of bylaws that would allow it to select its own trustees and maintain academic freedom.

Baptist Convention President Chip Hutcheson said he was "terribly saddened" by the move, which upends a 1986 covenant agreement.

The convention is the state organization for Southern Baptists, and includes about 2,400 member churches.

Lesbian sues Kansas City diocese over firing

A parish food pantry worker who was fired over her marriage to another woman sued the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph last week, the latest in a growing number of clashes over gay rights between Roman Catholic leaders and their employees nationwide.

Colleen Simon, 57, said the diocese and the parish where she worked knew she was married and that her wife was a well-known community leader before Simon was hired.

She was fired when the couple was mentioned last April in a newspaper article.

New Ways Ministry, a Catholic gay rights group, has found more than 15 cases since 2010 of U.S. teachers, school administrators or parish musicians who lost jobs or resigned after expressing support for gay marriage or going public with their own same-sex relationships. Several of the former employees have sued.

Family Bible records now available online

- Visitors to the website of the Tennessee State Library and Archives can now access family Bible records.

They were previously available only to patrons visiting TSLA's building. But over the past few years, more than 1,500 family Bible records have been scanned for online viewing.

Officials say most of the records were photocopied from privately held family Bibles and preserved at TSLA by archivists and librarians.

A new database on the TSLA website allows researchers to browse the records in their entirety.

For more information about the State Library and Archives, visit: www.tennessee.gov/tsla/.

Atheist opens N.Y. town meeting

GREECE, N.Y. - An atheist has delivered the invocation before a town meeting in the New York community whose leaders won a U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding the right to start their gatherings with a prayer.

Dan Courtney invoked the signers of the Declaration of Independence last week and urged members of the Greece town board to "seek the wisdom of all citizens, and to honor the enlightened wisdom and profound courage of those 56 men."

The court ruled 5-4 in May that the prayers were in line with national traditions and said the content is not significant as long as the prayers don't denigrate others or try to win converts.

The town said persons of any faith were welcome to give the invocation.

Associated Press