POSTED: Saturday, April 10, 2010

Annual breakfast highlights efforts to minister to inmates

The 31st annual Hawaii Prayer Breakfast on April 23 will feature a presentation on ministry to prison inmates.

Roy Yamamoto, former prison inmate who is now a leader in the New Hope Christian Fellowship prison ministry program, and the Rev. Elwin Ahu, New Hope pastor and former state judge, will speak at the 7 a.m. event at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Coral Ballroom.

Federal, state and county government leaders traditionally participate in the annual event sponsored by local Christian groups. About 1,500 people are expected to attend. It is open to the public. Tickets are $27. Reservations can be made by calling 486-8986 or by sending a check to Hawaii Prayer Breakfast, P.O. Box 29804, Honolulu, Hawaii 96820.

A free inspirational forum following the breakfast will feature several speakers, including Dennis Arakaki of Hawaii Family Forum; musician Tim Kepler; soccer coach Matt Martinson; radio talk host Dawn O'Brien; Judge Michael Town; contractor Kiha Pimental; and Jon Okinaga, author of “;How God Sanitized my Soul.”;


Earth Day seminar to look at spirituality of living green

The spiritual dimension of going green will be the theme of an Earth Day 2010 seminar at Chaminade University.

Sarah McFarland Taylor, who has written widely on the “;greening”; of American religion, will be the guest speaker at the April 24 event. It will be at 1 p.m. at the Mystical Rose Oratory on the campus of the Catholic university.

Taylor is associate professor of religious studies at Northwestern University and former senior research fellow at the University of Chicago Martin Marty Institute for Advanced Study of Religion. She is the author of “;Green Sisters: A Spiritual Ecology,”; which won Catholic Press Association awards for best book on social concerns and on gender issues.

The program, which is free and open to the public, is part of the Rev. Yoshiaki Fujitani Interfaith Program, sponsored by Buddhist communities and Chaminade to promote interfaith dialogue and the search for understanding, peace and justice.


Laws protecting gays' rights take effect in Utah's capital

SALT LAKE CITY » Salt Lake City's landmark ordinances to protect gays from discrimination in housing and employment have taken effect.

Mayor Ralph Becker was joined by gay-rights advocates at a ceremony last week marking enactment of Utah's first such laws.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints endorsed the ordinances as protecting people's right to work and have roofs over their heads. The laws exempt religious organizations, businesses with 15 or fewer employees and some small landlords. They also create a complaint and investigation process for violations.

Equality Utah is campaigning for 10 more Utah cities or counties to pass similar anti-discrimination ordinances this year. Salt Lake County, Utah's most populous county, has already done so.


School officials defend ban on giving out fetus-like dolls

ROSWELL, N.M. » Roswell Independent School District officials say the district's decision to bar students from distributing dolls that resemble fetuses does not violate the students' constitutional rights.

District administrators said they prohibited the students from Church on the Move from distributing the dolls because school policy does not allow advertising or solicitation on campus.

The district says that although the dolls had a Bible verse attached, they were not confiscated for religious reasons. The cards with the Bible verse promoted the services of a pregnancy resource center, school officials said.

Attorneys for Liberty Counsel, a legal advocacy group for religious freedom and anti-abortion efforts, suggested the district was violating the free speech rights of the high school students. But district officials say some students disrupted class with the dolls earlier this year.