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Politics

Utah bishop decries governor's decision to sign firing squad measure

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By reinstating the use of a firing squad as a method of execution in Utah, "it seems as if our government leaders have substituted state legislation for the law of God," said the state's Catholic bishop.

"They argue that, because executions are lawful, they are then moral. This is not so. No human law can trump God's law," Salt Lake City Bishop John Wester said in a March 24 statement. "Taking a human life is wrong; a slap in the face of hope and a blasphemous attempt to assume divine attributes that we humble human beings do not have."

Catholic advocates push Congress for a budget that protects poor people

Catholic advocates are pressing Congress to make the needs of poor and vulnerable people a priority as legislators hammer out a federal spending plan for 2016.

The advocates told Catholic News Service they want to prevent trillions of dollars in social services spending from disappearing over the next decade as Congress seeks to balance the federal budget and reduce the nation's growing debt.

Their actions unfolded in recent weeks as they learned of Republican plans to remake the way social services such as Medicaid and food stamps are funded.

Oklahoma bill would abolish state's role in granting marriage licenses, leave it in clergy hands

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In an effort to block the state's involvement with gay marriage, the Oklahoma House of Representatives passed a bill Tuesday to abolish marriage licenses in the state.

The legislation, authored by Rep. Todd Russ, R-Cordell, amends language in the state law that governs the responsibilities of court clerks. All references to marriage licenses were removed.

Court orders review of Notre Dame's case on contraceptive mandate

The Supreme Court on Monday ordered the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to reconsider its previous ruling and review -- in light of the June Hobby Lobby decision -- whether the University of Notre Dame must pay for coverage of contraceptives in employee and student health insurance plans.

The Supreme Court on June 30 said Hobby Lobby, a chain of arts and crafts stores, and Conestoga Wood Specialties, which also sued, need not comply with a federal mandate to include a full range of contraceptives in employee health insurance.

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