Religion Today Daily Headlines - December 7, 2012

Religion Today Daily Headlines - December 7, 2012

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

In today's edition:

  • Fiscal Cliff Imperils Adoption Tax Credit
  • Pakistani Christians Hold Prayer Rally for Wounded Missionary
  • Belgium: Two Newly Elected Muslim Politicians in Brussels Vow to Implement Sharia
  • Israel Still Excluded From Obama Administration's Touted Counter-Terror Forum


Fiscal Cliff Imperils Adoption Tax Credit

With Congress embroiled in debate over the so-called "fiscal cliff," many in the adoption community are concerned that the adoption tax credit set to expire at the end of the year could be forgotten, Baptist Press reports. The tax credit that provided last year a maximum of $13,360 to each adoptive family has helped countless low- and middle-income families afford the costly endeavor. Unlike a tax deduction, which only reduces taxable income, a tax credit actually reduces a person's tax liability. U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) introduced in September the Making Adoption Affordable Act, which would permanently establish the tax credit and make it "refundable," allowing adoptive families to receive a refund "in excess of their tax liability," but amid all the debate regarding the fiscal cliff, the bill "has sort of been stalled," says Bill J. Blacquiere, president of nationwide adoption agency Bethany Christian Services. "Throughout this year we've always been told by legislators that this bill would be taken up after the election," he said. "Well, now it is after the election..." Blacquiere fears that without the tax credit, there will be fewer adoptions. "People would just simply say, 'I can't afford this cost,' and they would back out of it," he said. 

Pakistani Christians Hold Prayer Rally for Wounded Missionary

Hundreds of Pakistani Christians gathered in the city of Lahore to pray for a wounded Christian missionary, CBN News reports. Bargetta Emmi, a Swedish national and director of the Full Gospel Assemblies in Pakistan, is fighting for her life after being shot in the neck by a gunman on a motorcycle in front of her Lahore home earlier this week. The shooter escaped and no one has yet claimed responsibility or stated a motive for the attack. Emmi, who is in her 70s, has worked in the Muslim country for nearly 40 years.

Belgium: Two Newly Elected Muslim Politicians in Brussels Vow to Implement Sharia

Two Muslim politicians who won October municipal elections in Belgium's capital, Brussels, have vowed to implement sharia, or Islamic law, in Belgium, the Gatestone Institute reports. The two candidates, Lhoucine Ait Jeddig and Redouane Ahrouch, both from the fledgling Islam Party, won seats in two heavily Islamic municipalities of Brussels, and say they regard their election as key to the assertion of the Muslim community in the country. In a one-hour video of a post-election press conference, Ahrouch says at one point that he will strive to make sure the town council's "motions and solutions are durable and definitive and will emanate from Islam." The Islam party, which plans to field candidates in European-level elections in 2014, campaigned on three core issues: ensuring that halal meals are served in public school cafeterias, securing the official recognition of Muslim religious holidays, and pushing for a law that would legalize the wearing of Islamic headscarves in public spaces. Ahrouch has admitted he is taking a gradual approach, saying it may take decades to enforce sharia, but says his ultimate goal -- creating an Islamic state in Belgium -- has not changed. "I think we have to sensitize people, make them understand the advantages to having Islamic people and Islamic laws," he told a reporter. "And then it will be completely natural to have Islamic laws and we will become an Islamic state." Muslims now make up one quarter of the population of Brussels.

Israel Still Excluded From Obama Administration's Touted Counter-Terror Forum

Six months after the Obama administration said it was "committed" to involving Israel in its flagship international counter-terrorism initiative, there has evidently been little progress, and the State Department indicated Wednesday it was still trying, reports. As Secretary of State Hillary Clinton prepares to attend a meeting of the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF) in the United Arab Emirates next week, a State Department spokesman said the U.S. would there again raise the issue with its GCTF partners. The Obama administration took flak from the start when it excluded Israel from the forum, because Israel has had decades of experience facing and combating terrorism -- far more than most other countries invited to join the forum. Critics said it was obvious Israel was left out because Muslim countries, which the administration wanted to draw in, would not have joined had Israel been involved. Eleven of the 29 countries welcomed into the GCTF are members of the 56-nation Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC); a senior administration official said last summer a key aim of the GCTR was to "bridge old and deep divides in the international community between Western donor nations and Muslim-majority nations."

Publication date: December 7, 2012