Desmond Tutu wins $1.7M Templeton Prize

LONDON – The John Templeton Foundation says it has awarded South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu one of the world’s leading religion prizes.

The organization says Tutu, 81, is the winner of the 2013 Templeton Prize for his “lifelong work in advancing spiritual principles.” The honor comes with a 1.1 million-pound ($1.7 million) award.

The foundation said Thursday that Tutu, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, will receive the prize at a ceremony at the Guildhall in London on May 21.

Responding to the announcement, Tutu thanked supporters and said that he accepted the prize “in a representative capacity.” The Templeton Prize was established in 1972 by the investor and philanthropist John Templeton. Last year’s winner was the Dalai Lama. Past recipients have included the late Chiara Lubich, founder of the Focolare movement.

Arraignment set for Ga. megachurch reverend
ATLANTA – An arraignment has been scheduled for a metro Atlanta minister and his brother who are accused in an investment scheme.

The Rev. Wiley Jackson, pastor at Gospel Tabernacle Cathedral, and his brother, Rodney, were named in an eight-count indictment in December. Officials say the Jacksons’ company, Genesis LLC., was paid at least $12,000 in investments from two church members since 2002 although the Jacksons were not licensed to sell investment contracts. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports the two are set to be arraigned April 12.

Officials have said investors lost their money and Genesis LLC. was not registered with the Secretary of State.
Rodney Jackson has filed a motion to remove his attorney from the case and Jerome Froelich, who represents the reverend, says he plans to plead not guilty.

Marker identifies church founded by former slaves
COLUMBIA, S.C. – A new state historical marker identifies a church founded by former slaves 144 years ago in Rock Hill. The York County Culture and Heritage Commission and the Hermon Presbyterian Church have dedicated the marker at the site of the church’s original building on Dave Lyle Boulevard.

Hermon Presbyterian Church was established in 1869 and is the oldest black church in Rock Hill. The original church was built between 1901 and 1903 by the congregation. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1992 and became a community center after a larger building was built on Heckle Boulevard in 1999.

Released documents detail FBI informant role
MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Documents newly released by the FBI shed light on how a freelance news photographer passed photos and information about the civil rights movement to the agency.

The Commercial Appeal obtained FBI records through a lawsuit settlement and reported Ernest Withers sometimes photographed prominent people involved in the movement in what a historian calls a “vacuum cleaner approach” by the FBI.

A notation cited by the newspaper quotes an entry after an FBI agent debriefed Withers about a speech by James Bevel at LeMoyne-Owen College. Bevel was Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s head of “direct action” and was in Memphis on that March 1968 day to organize a demonstration.
The FBI probe into the Southern Christian Leadership Conference began well before King’s assassination in Memphis on April 4, 1968.

Vandal destroyed Jesus statue outside church
ROCK ISLAND, Ill. – Rock Island police are investigating after a man destroyed a 100-year-old statue of Jesus outside a Catholic church.

The 6-foot-tall concrete statue was damaged on Easter. A surveillance video shows a man pushing and pulling the 750-pound icon to the ground. Church members surveying the damage found the statue lying on the ground, with both arms broken off, a missing shoulder and a crack running the length of its body.

The head of security at Sacred Heart Church told the Rock Island Argus that the damage was “heartbreaking.”
Parishioners plans to raise money to try to replace the statue, which is valued at about $20,000.

Judge finds Okla. bomb suspect mentally unfit
TULSA, Okla. – An Illinois man accused of plotting to bomb dozens of Oklahoma churches has been found temporarily mentally unfit to stand trial.

Prosecutors allege that Gregory Weiler of Elk Grove Village plotted to destroy 48 churches in northeastern Oklahoma. On Wednesday, a judge in Tulsa ordered that Weiler be sent to a Bureau of Prisons facility for mental health treatment.

Weiler’s public defender says his client has been hospitalized numerous times in the past five years for mental health issues that include depression and bipolar disorder.

At the hearing, Weiler gave a brief, rambling speech before a court official pulled away his microphone. A federal grand jury indictment charges Weiler with one count of possessing an unregistered, destructive device, which is punishable by up to 10 years in prison upon conviction.