Wednesday’s roundup

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Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer waded into the Quran-burning debate on Tuesday, telling “Good Morning America” that such conflagrations would not necessarily be protected by the Constitution.

Previous justices have found that the First Amendment “doesn’t mean you can shout `fire’ in a crowded theater,” Breyer said. “Because people will be trampled to death. And what is the crowded theater today? What is the being trampled to death?”

Maybe it’s in Afghanistan, where police fired warning shots earlier today to disperse hundreds of stone-hurling Afghans, the latest in a series of protests against Quran burning in the U.S. The would-be bonfire was more than a momentary flare up, American Muslims say.

France’s Senate overwhelmingly passed a ban on wearing full-face Islamic veils in public, the final step towards legislation — but the country’s constitutional court still must approve it.

Missouri passed a law stating that human life begins at conception, becoming the second state (after South Dakota) to take a stance on the scientific, theological and philosophical conundrum, and adding new regulations to the state’s abortion statutes.

British Prime Minister David Cameron said Pope Benedict XVI will receive a “warm welcome” when he arrives in Britain tomorrow, but the Associated Press isn’t too sure, noting that the Cardinal of England and Wales said he expects smaller crowds than originally planned for. Also, “Pope Nope” T-shirts have been spotted around London and public discussions on the church’s celibacy requirements for priests are scheduled.

The Roman Catholic Church in Belgium is in a state of confusion, Reuters says, offering apologies now for not fully apologizing at a media conference about sexual abuse on Monday.

With prominent Mormons in politics (Reid, Beck) and pop culture (“Big Love,” “Twilight,” and “American Idol”) the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is playing in religion’s big leagues, says the Salt Lake Tribune. A Chicago priest will be the first Catholic cleric since Archbishop Fulton Sheen to have a regular, national program on a commercial network, Catholic News Agency reports.

The Justice Department has filed a religious discrimination lawsuit against a Southern California city for denying a permit for a Buddhist center.

A scholarly debate over the origin of the Dead Sea Scrolls descended into a thoroughly modern mess of website hoaxes and ad hominem attacks, according to a court trial in New York. Israel will no longer accept online payments for services like renewing a passport during the Sabbath, even though, technically, no one at the Interior Ministry is handling money.

Voodoo is making a comeback in Benin, an African nation that claims to have given birth to the faith. Buddhism is back in Mongolia after a decades-long hiatus. A prominent Southern Baptist says he’s embarassed that he once supported women in ministry.

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