Religion Today Daily Headlines - February 22, 2013

Religion Today Daily Headlines - February 22, 2013

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

In today's edition:

  • Obama Administration May Ask Supreme Court to Overturn Prop 8
  • 8th-Grader Told to Cover Abstinence-Promoting T-Shirt
  • Brown University to Cover Students' Sex Changes
  • Study: Parents Prefer the Pill Over Condoms for Their Teenage Daughters


Obama Administration May Ask Supreme Court to Overturn Prop 8

The Obama administration is considering asking the Supreme Court to overturn California's Proposition 8, the voter approved-measure that defined marriage in the state as only between a man and a woman, CBN News reports. President Obama raised expectations for gay marriage supporters last month when he declared during his inaugural address that gays and lesbians must be treated like anyone else under the law. The administration has one week to file a "friend of the court" brief, and while an administration brief alone is unlikely to sway the Supreme Court, the government's opinion does carry weight with the justices.

8th-Grader Told to Cover Abstinence-Promoting T-Shirt

A Florida eighth-grader says she was told by school staff to change her abstinence-promoting T-shirt because it was "inappropriate," Fox 35 Orlando reports. Summer Schreiner, 15, had gotten the T-shirt with the words "Don't drink and park... accidents cause kids" the night before from a Christian conference called The Silver Ring Thing, a gathering held in cities around the country during which teenagers pledge to remain abstinent until marriage. Summer said she was asked by the assistant principal during school to remove her shirt. "I was pretty upset," she said. "I thought it was silly. It's not like I was wearing a curse word or something that was promoting violence. IT's the shirt I got at a conference that is something that is very important to me." Summer's mother, Angela Hogan, said: "They actually had her take off the shirt and put on a T-shirt the school issues for inappropriate dress. And the shirt they had her put on says 'Tomorrow I will dress for success.' This is what upsets her more. It was really humiliating for her, because she came dressed for success." Hogan spoke with school administrators, but they are standing by their decision. "This is not a situation of whether or not the district agrees or disagrees with sexual abstinence among teenagers," said Michele Irwin, director of communications for the school district. "It's about the fact there is sexual innuendo on the shirt, and so we believe it violated our dress code policy."

Brown University to Cover Students' Sex Changes

Starting in August, Brown University's student health insurance plan will cover sex change operations for students who want to change genders, Baptist Press reports. "We identified this as an important benefit for students to have access to," Jeanne Hebert, director of the university's insurance services, told The Brown Daily Herald, the student newspaper. Insurance companies typically consider such surgeries cosmetic and exclude them from coverage. The total package of "sexual reassignment surgeries," hormone therapy and related services can cost up to $50,000 per person, the newspaper said. Kelly Garrett, Brown's LGBTQ Center coordinator, said the insurance policy changes were part of a broader effort to keep transgender students from being discriminated against at the university. In addition, Garrett said, the university is training people in health services and psychological services to be sensitive to transgender students, and the LGBTQ Center is compiling lists of gender-neutral restrooms on campus and advocating for gender-neutral housing options for students.

Study: Parents Prefer the Pill Over Condoms for Their Teenage Daughters

"If your teen's doctor found out your daughter was having sex, is it acceptable or unacceptable to you for the doctor to provide birth control to your teen confidentially?" The question was posed to a diverse group of parents of girls aged 12 to 17. On a scale from 1 to 4, researchers at UC San Francisco wanted to know, how comfortable were they with their daughters being given birth control pills? Condoms? Emergency contraception? An intrauterine device (IUD)? Per the results, published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, 59 percent said they'd be okay with birth control pills, while only 51 percent approved of condoms, reports Jim Liebelt. And way down the scale, past injectables (46 percent), emergency contraception (45 percent), the transdermal patch (43 percent), and the implant (32 percent), was the IUD, with only 18 percent approval. "The lower-than-expected acceptability of condoms likely reflects parents' overall low acceptability of contraception in general for their daughters," said lead author Lauren Hartman. "It also highlights the importance of educating parents about the importance of condoms, both for protection from STIs and pregnancy." Parents who believed their teenager was likely to have sex in the coming year were more likely to accept their use of emergency contraception and condoms. The authors suspect that they only begrudgingly OKed those two because "parents may associate these methods with a single episode of sex rather than condoning an ongoing sexual relationship, which would require a more permanent contraceptive method."

Publication date: February 22, 2013