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Bishop is investigated amid Episcopal schism

CHARLESTON | A South Carolina bishop is being investigated by the Episcopal Church in a new chapter of the ongoing schism in the church over the ordination of gay ministers and other issues.

Bishop Mark Lawrence is the first diocese leader to be investigated under new rules to determine whether he has abandoned the national church. That could lead to him being deposed.

The probe comes amid an Episcopal schism that has seen some conservative dioceses leave. The Diocese of South Carolina has distanced itself, but not split from the national church.

Bishop Lawrence says while the South Carolina parishes are in the Episcopal minority, they hold the same beliefs Anglicans have held for 500 years. The 2 million member Episcopal Church is a branch of the 77-million member worldwide Anglican Communion.


Immigration case against Mercedes exec dropped

TUSCALOOSA | The city of Tuscaloosa has dropped a charge against a German Mercedes-Benz executive who was arrested under Alabama’s new crackdown on illegal immigration.

Police arrested the man last week for not having proper citizenship documents while driving a rental car in the city.

City attorney Tim Nunnally told the Tuscaloosa News that authorities dismissed the charge because an associate of the man was able to provide the documents to police.

Republicans who support the law say it will help create jobs for legal Alabama residents, but some business leaders say it could hurt economic development in the state by scaring away foreign companies.

The man’s arrest led to a state inquiry to the city prompted by Gov. Robert Bentley, who signed the law.