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Some barred from ice bucket challenge

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The charity stunt has lured athletes, celebrities, politicians and rock stars and gone viral on the Internet, but don't look for any more U.S. diplomats getting in on the fun.

Lawyers at the State Department have banned American ambassadors and other high-profile foreign service officers from participating in the ice-bucket challenge to raise money and awareness for Lou Gehrig's disease, also called amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS.

In a cable sent this week to all U.S. diplomatic missions, they say it runs afoul of federal ethics rules barring officials from using public office for private gain "no matter how worthy the cause."

The unclassified cable was obtained by The Associated Press Thursday.
  

At least one U.S. ambassador had already participated in the challenge by the time the cable was sent.

A Catholic diocese in Ohio is also discouraging its schools from participating in the ice bucket challenge to benefit the ALS Association, citing its funding of research involving embryonic stem cells.

 In a letter sent Tuesday to its 113 schools, the Archdiocese of Cincinnati's superintendent of Catholic schools says the research being funded is "in direct conflict with Catholic teaching."


The superintendent told the schools that students and staff can still do the ice bucket challenge, but any funds raised should be given to organizations that combat ALS without embryonic stem cell research.


An ALS Association spokeswoman says the group funds one study involving embryonic stem cells, but donors can stipulate that their funds go elsewhere.


ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that causes paralysis and almost certain death.

 
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