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Pastor: UPS gunman was 'troubled' over work

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama — An Alabama pastor says the man who killed two former co-workers and then himself at a UPS warehouse in Birmingham had told some people that he was having problems at work but never suggested that the situation might turn violent.

A law enforcement official, speaking on condition of anonymity, identified the shooter as Joe Tesney.

Bill Wilks, the pastor at NorthPark Baptist Church, says Tesney, his wife and his two children had been members at the church since 2003. Wilks described the 45-year-old Tesney as being "troubled" over his work and financial situation.

Police said earlier Tuesday that an ex-employee who had been fired just a day ago entered the sorting facility through a truck dock door and opened fire, killing a supervisor and another worker.


Scientists and clergy: Climate change policies could hurt the poor

DALLAS — A conservative group of more than 140 scientists, economists and faith leaders is warning that policies to combat climate change could needlessly hurt the poor.

The signed declaration, released by the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation, warns that mandatory reductions in carbon dioxide emissions would likely have minimal impact on global temperatures while making it more difficult for people in developing nations to get access to basic electricity and transportation.

It also argues that natural cycles outweigh human influences in climate change, and declares that "rising atmospheric CO2 benefits all life on Earth by improving plant growth and crop yields, making food more abundant and affordable, helping the poor most of all."

The declaration calls for caution as more than 120 world leaders prepare to convene the United Nations Climate Summit, and urges Christians to care for creation out of love for God and their neighbors.

Some evangelical groups favor efforts to control climate change.


Poll: Support for gay marriage may be leveling off

WASHINGTON — A new survey from the Pew Research Center indicates American support for same-sex marriage has declined.

The study released Monday found a 5 percentage point drop since February, from 54 percent to 49 percent, in Americans who want legal recognition for same-sex relationships. The poll of 2,002 adults, conducted Sept. 2-9, has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points.

The findings were part of a survey in which nearly three-quarters of Americans said religious influence in public life was waning and most saw that as a negative trend. About half of respondents said churches and houses of worship should speak out more on public issues.

Nearly half of all the respondents said businesses that provide services for weddings, such as florists, should be allowed to deny service to same-sex couples if the owners have religious objections. The Pew survey also found the percentage of people who consider gay relationships sinful had increased from 45 percent a year ago to 50 percent last month.

Online: http://www.pewforum.org/2014/09/22/public-sees-religions-influence-waning-2/


Scholar behind anti-Obama film gets probation

NEW YORK — The former president of a Christian college has been ordered to spend eight months in community confinement and undergo therapeutic counseling for arranging straw donors for a U.S. Senate candidate.

Dinesh D'Souza pleaded guilty in May, admitting he arranged for straw donors to contribute $20,000 to New York Republican Wendy Long's failed U.S. Senate bid.

The charges came soon after D'Souza resigned his $600,000 job as head of The King's College, an evangelical school in Manhattan, after World Magazine reported that he attended a conference with his fiancee while still married to his wife of 20 years.

D'Souza made the film "2016: Obama's America." The 2012 documentary predicted dire consequences if the president was re-elected.


Students continue prayer tradition around school flagpoles

SAN DIEGO — Organizers of Wednesday's "See You At The Pole" events say the students gathered around their school flagpoles aren't protesting. They're praying.

National coordinator Doug Clark says the annual event, now in its third decade, is an opportunity for Christian students to connect at the beginning of the school year and pray for their classmates, their schools and the nation. Some students bring guitars to lead hymns as well.

Clark says the gatherings are constitutionally permissible at public schools because they're student-led and take place outside of class time, usually before school starts. He says the prayer circles on thousands of campuses nationwide attract more than one million students each year on the fourth Wednesday in September.

Christian musicians promoting this year's "See You At The Pole" include Casting Crowns lead singer Mark Hall, who is a youth pastor at his church in Georgia.

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