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Nov 26, 12:10 PM EST

Religion news in brief

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AP Photo/Charlie Riedel

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Religion news in brief

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Ferguson clergy pray for peace and recovery

FERGUSON, Mo. (AP) - Religious leaders in Ferguson, Missouri, say they're appalled at the violence that erupted after a grand jury decided not to indict a white police officer who fatally shot 18-year-old Michael Brown.

Some local clergy joined Ferguson Mayor James Knowles at a Tuesday afternoon news conference.

Baptist Pastor Timothy Woods said they condemn the arson and looting that badly damaged more than a dozen businesses.

Evangelist Vivian Dudley said more than 800 local ministers and people of faith were uniting in prayer for Ferguson's peace and recovery. She led a prayer from the podium, asking God to lead the community to repentance and "spiritual renewal."

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Clergy protest grand jury decision near Ferguson

CLAYTON, Mo. (AP) - Clergy and others who blocked morning traffic in the St. Louis suburb where the Ferguson grand jury decision was announced have ended their protest without any apparent arrests being made.

About 100 demonstrators assembled in downtown Clayton, Missouri, shortly after sunrise Tuesday and spent several hours blocking intersections, singing spirituals and chanting, "This is what theology looks like." They also observed a 4 1/2-minute moment of silence to mark the 4 1/2 hours that Brown's body remained on the Ferguson street before it was removed.

Many protesters wore orange reflective vests identifying themselves as clergy.

The demonstrators blocked intersections for up to 10 minutes at a time before moving to another. Police monitored the demonstration, which was one of many planned for Tuesday in the St. Louis area.

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Missouri students want religious policy change

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) - A student group has asked the University of Missouri to strengthen a classroom policy to ensure that professors accommodate students who have to miss class for a religious holiday.

The Missouri Student Association, after meeting with Thalia Sass, president of the Jewish Student Organization at MU, presented the faculty council with a proposed change that would obligate faculty to make religious allowances.

The current rules only encourage professors to excuse students from classes, tests or activities because of religious obligations.

Student leaders say the change is needed because some students have problems with their professors without a mandate in place.

The student association proposal also recommends students provide notice to professors about possible absences toward the beginning of each semester.

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Colorado court upholds Day of Prayer proclamations

DENVER (AP) - The Colorado Supreme Court is upholding the governor's right to issue Day of Prayer proclamations.

Monday's ruling reverses a 2012 appeals court decision that found that the proclamations unconstitutionally favored the religious over the non-religious.

The Colorado Supreme Court found that opponents of the proclamations don't have the right to sue because they weren't forced to participate in the day of prayer and didn't suffer any negative consequences from the government.

The court also said the plaintiffs didn't suffer significant "psychic harm" from media coverage of the prayer proclamations.

Congress established a National Day of Prayer in 1952, and most states hold statewide days of prayers to coincide with the national event.

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Marion Barry's turkey giveaway goes on without him

WASHINGTON (AP) - Marion Barry's annual turkey giveaway went on without the longtime District of Columbia politician.

Hundreds of people gathered Tuesday outside Union Temple Baptist Church in Southeast Washington. For years, the former mayor and city councilman raised money to buy turkeys and give them to the poor. Many residents mourned Barry's death as they waited in line for one of the 3,500 turkeys that were given away.

LaToya Foster, Barry's spokeswoman, said that's what Barry lived for - giving back to the poorest people and serving those who didn't have a voice.

Barry died early Sunday at the age of 78.

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