Thursday, 19 December 2013 09:34 Published in National News
NORRISTOWN, Pa. (AP) - Church officials have defrocked a United Methodist pastor from central Pennsylvania who officiated his son's gay wedding in Massachusetts.
The Rev. Frank Schaefer of Lebanon had already been suspended. On Thursday, he met with church officials to determine whether he would continue as a pastor.
Schaefer was told to resign from the clergy by Thursday if he could not follow the denomination's Book of Discipline. But Schaefer says the book discriminates against gay people and says he wouldn't voluntarily surrender his credentials.
Church spokesman John Coleman says officials decided to defrock him.
Schaefer left the short meeting with church officials without commenting but planned to address the matter later Thursday.
Wednesday, 18 December 2013 16:38 Published in National News
WASHINGTON (AP) - A Senate panel has approved a bill that would allow the U.S. to restore its full aid relationship with Egypt.
Wider congressional support for the measure is unclear.
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee's bill, passed Wednesday, softens the American ban on assistance to governments suffering coup d'etats. It allows the president to waive the restriction for up to a year on national security grounds.
For Egypt specifically, President Barack Obama has a waiver option through September 2015.
However, the bill requires the administration to make a coup determination within 30 days of a questionable government change. Obama's aides avoided such a decision after the Egyptian Army's July overthrow of the country's Islamist president, citing the risk to important military programs.
The administration suspended much of the aid in October.
Wednesday, 18 December 2013 16:07 Published in National News
WASHINGTON (AP) - Democratic officials say President Barack Obama intends to nominate Montana Sen. Max Baucus as ambassador to China.
The nomination is subject to Senate confirmation. The Democrat had announced earlier this year that he would not seek re-election.
The 72-year-old Baucus is chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, with jurisdiction over taxes, trade and other areas.
He was instrumental in efforts to pass Obama's health care law four years ago and has spent much of this year seeking to build support for a sweeping overhaul of the tax code.
There was no immediate comment from the White House.
The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to publicly discuss the nomination in advance of Obama's announcement.