Religion Today Daily Headlines - December 20, 2012

Religion Today Daily Headlines - December 20, 2012

Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.

In today's edition:

  • Obama Announces More Gun Control by January
  • In Debate Over Gun Control and Mental Health, Evangelicals Diverge From Rest of Nation
  • Gallup: Majority Believe Gays Can Adopt But Not Lead Boy Scouts

 

Obama Announces More Gun Control by January

President Barack Obama announced Wednesday the formation of a new working group on gun violence to be chaired by Vice President Joe Biden in light of last week's school shooting in Connecticut, CNSNews.com reports. Obama told press gathered at the White House: "Look, like the majority of Americans, I believe that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual the right to bear arms. ... And the fact is, the vast majority of gun owners in America are responsible; they buy their guns legally and they use them safely. ... But you know what? I am also betting that the majority of responsible, law-abiding gun owners would be some of the first to say that we should be able to keep the irresponsible, law-breaking few from buying a weapon of war. I'm willing to bet that they don't think that using a gun and using common sense are incompatible ideas. That an imbalanced man should be able to get his hands on a military-style assault rifle so easily." Almost immediately following Friday's deadly shooting in Newtown, Conn., Obama hinted at taking action on gun control, but he did not talk about specific measures until Wednesday. Several members of Congress have also called for stricter gun control measures in response to the shooting.

In Debate Over Gun Control and Mental Health, Evangelicals Diverge From Rest of Nation

In the wake of last week's massacre of 20 first-graders at Sandy Hook Elementary, two main subjects of debate have emerged regarding how to prevent future tragedies: better gun control versus better treatment of mental illness. Both sides have vocal advocates, and a recent survey of attitudes toward gun control suggests where evangelicals and other religious groups stand on the issue, Christianity Today reports. The August survey by the Public Religion Research Institute and the Religion News Service posed the question: "What do you think is the most important thing that could be done to prevent mass shootings from occurring in the United States?" Only 8 percent of white evangelicals said "stricter gun control laws and enforcement," whereas 19 percent said "better mental health screening and support." Thirty-six percent chose a third option: "Put more emphasis on God and morality in school and society." Meanwhile, 41 percent of minority Christians favor focusing on gun control whereas 20 percent favor focusing on mental health and only 14 percent favor focusing on God and morality. By comparison, 27 percent of all Americans favor focusing on gun control, 22 percent favor focusing on mental health and 20 percent favor focusing on God and morality. Catholics and the religiously unaffiliated favor focusing on gun control, whereas mainline Protestants favor focusing on mental health. 

Gallup: Majority Believe Gays Can Adopt But Not Lead Boy Scouts

A Gallup poll shows strong majorities of Americans favor a broad range of rights for gays and lesbians, including adopting children, but a slim majority also say gays should not be Boy Scout leaders, the Christian Post reports. Sixty-one percent of respondents said gays and lesbians should be able to legally adopt children, but when asked "Do you think the Boy Scouts of America should or should not allow openly gay adults to serve as Boy Scout leaders?" 52 percent answered that gays should not be allowed to serve as Boy Scout leaders. Forty-two percent said gays should be allowed to be Boy Scout leaders, and 36 percent said gays and lesbians should not be allowed to adopt children. Given the lack of polling on the Boy Scouts question, there is no way to tell whether there is a trend in favor of or in opposition to gay leaders, noted Gallup's Frank Newport. Also unclear, Newport added, is whether the respondents were showing support for allowing a private organization to decide who holds its own leadership positions. The Boy Scouts announced in July that, after a two-year review, the organization would continue its policy of not allowing gays to become members, volunteers or leaders.

Publication date: December 20, 2012

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