U.S. Troops Trash Korans in Afghanistan: News Roundup

In the news this week: Afghans protest U.S. amid Koran mistreatment, a judge rules Washington State can’t force Pharmacies to sell emergency contraceptives, a Holocaust survivor calls on Romney to denounce the Mormon practice of posthumously baptizing Jews, and other news.

Thousands of enraged Afghans have taken to the streets for a fourth day, after US soldiers inadvertently set fire to copies of the Koran. In the deadliest day of unrest so far, at least 12 people died across the country, as mobs charged at US bases and diplomatic missions.
 
More than 20 people have been killed since the unrest began, including two US soldiers who died on Thursday. 
President Barack Obama has apologised for the Koran-burning incident. In a letter to his Afghan counterpart Hamid Karzai, Mr Obama said the books had been "unintentionally mishandled". US personnel apparently put the books into a rubbish incinerator at Bagram air base, near Kabul. BBC
 
A hotly disputed proposal to build a 66,000-square-foot church in California drew accusations of everything from a secret agenda to build a convention center to religious discrimination during an emotional, all-day hearing Tuesday that again pitted neighbor against neighbor.
 
More than 700 people packed the Lesher Center for the Arts on Tuesday for the special Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors meeting to consider the Sufism Reoriented sanctuary. Supervisors heard hours of public testimony, but made no decision whether the 350-member religious group can build its church just outside Walnut Creek city limits. Mercury News
 
In a ruling that appears headed toward appeal, a federal judge has ruled that Washington State cannot force pharmacies to sell Plan B or other emergency contraceptives.
 
The state's true goal in adopting the rules at issue was not to promote the timely access to medicine, but to suppress religious objections by druggists who believe that such drugs can have an effect tantamount to abortion, U.S. District Judge Ronald Leighton said in his ruling Wednesday. Modern Healthcare
 
Elie Wiesel, the Holocaust survivor and Nobel Prize laureate, whose name was entered into a database so that he could be baptized in a Mormon ritual after his death, said yesterday he wants Mitt Romney to speak out against the Mormon practice of posthumously baptizing Jews.
 
“He is a Mormon, and since he’s running for president – the highest office in the world, not only in America – he should know what is happening, and he should have said simply, ‘It is wrong,’ ’’ Wiesel, a professor at Boston University, said in an interview.   Boston Globe
 
Several Jewish groups joined an interfaith coalition calling on presidential candidates to refrain from using religion as a political wedge issue.
 
Fifteen religious organizations, including the Anti-Defamation League, American Jewish Committee and the Union for Reform Judaism, issued an Interfaith Statement of Principles advising the candidates to abide by principles of religious liberty and avoid religious discord as they campaign for the November race.
 
The principles included calls for candidates to be responsive to constituents of all religions, conduct campaigns without appeals for support based on religion, reject messages that reflect religious prejudice and avoid actions that encourage religious division in the electorate. JTA