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Religion Briefs for Sept. 20

Court: Crosses in city logs are unconstitutional

LAS CRUCES, N.M. – A federal appeals court has rejected claims that using Christian crosses in city logos and buildings is unconstitutional.

The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver affirmed a lower court decision to dismiss a lawsuit brought by Las Cruces residents Paul Weinbaum and Martin Boyd against the city, and another claim by Weinbaum against Las Cruces Public Schools. Las Cruces, Spanish for “The Crosses,” routinely uses three crosses in its city and school district logos.

Co-founder of Promise Keepers returns

DENVER – Bill McCartney, the former college football coach who forged Promise Keepers into a formidable men’s movement, has come out of retirement to lead the evangelical Christian group.

McCartney, 68, has returned as chief executive officer and chairman of the ministry he co-founded. McCartney replaces Tom Fortson, who resigned voluntarily, according to Promise Keepers general counsel Ed O’Brien. The announcement was made last week.

Catholic parishes protest downsizing plan

CLEVELAND – A downsizing plan that could shutter more than 45 Roman Catholic parishes in the Diocese of Cleveland is prompting some Catholics to look for ways to save their churches.

More than 20 regional groups of parishes are preparing recommendations for closing or merging parishes in response to population shifts to the outer suburbs and the ongoing clergy shortage. Bishop Richard Lennon is expected to decide the fate of the parishes by March. The most closures are expected in Cleveland, where about 25 parishes are in danger of being shut down.

Mormons consolidate headquarters to Frankfurt

FRANKFURT, Germany – The Mormon church has consolidated its European headquarters to Germany as it undertakes a bid to increase its membership across the continent.

In August, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints – which claims some 13 million members worldwide – consolidated its former western European head office in Birmingham, England, with its central European offices in Frankfurt in Germany.

Missing Torahs returned to NYC synagogue

NEW YORK – Eight stolen scrolls of Hebrew Scriptures have been returned to a New York City synagogue in time for the Rosh Hashana holiday.

The Torahs are valued at around $500,000. They were taken in August from the Jewish Center of Kew Gardens Hills in Queens. A maintenance worker and a suspected accomplice were charged with criminal possession of stolen property.