Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- National Cathedral Gay Marriage Change 'Not Surprising,' Opponents Say
- Gay Troops Ousted Under 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' to Get Back Pay
- CDC: One in Five High School Girls Binge Drinks
- Biden: Obama Will Act on Guns With or Without Congress
National Cathedral Gay Marriage Change 'Not Surprising,' Opponents Say
Opponents of gay marriage are expressing disappointment but not surprise at the announcement that the Washington National Cathedral will now wed same-sex couples, CBN News reports. Peter Sprigg of the Family Research Council said the Episcopal Church, which operates the cathedral, "has been moving away from Christian orthodoxy on the subject of sexuality" for years. He predicted the decision would accelerate the denomination's long-running decline in membership. Thomas Peters of the National Organization for Marriage said the cathedral's announcement showed that "marriage is really an all-or-nothing deal." He added that Americans must ask whether they want to retain traditional marriage or "fundamentally give it up."
Gay Troops Ousted Under 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' to Get Back Pay
The federal government has agreed to pay $2.4 million to dozens of gay troops who were discharged and denied full separation pay under the pre-2011 "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, according to a new court settlement, USA TODAY reports. The class-action lawsuit was spearheaded by the American Civil Liberties Union and filed in 2010 on behalf of about 181 gay troops who were honorably discharged for violating the military's ban on gays serving openly in uniform. The government agreed to provide full back pay -- an average of about $14,000 per former service member. Service members are typically entitled to separation pay when leaving the military; for years, however, the Pentagon maintained a policy of granting only half the standard separation pay amount for troops who were honorably discharged for being open about their sexual orientation.
CDC: One in Five High School Girls Binge Drinks
Millions of high school-aged girls and women binge drink, behavior that can have disastrous results, including long-term health effects, according to a new report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CNN reports. For females, binge drinking means consuming four or more drinks in one sitting; for males, it's five or more drinks. Previous reports have focused on higher rates of binge drinking among males, but the CDC in its new report aimed to raise awareness of the problem among women. Of the estimated 23,000 annual deaths attributed to excessive alcohol use among women and girls, binge drinking was responsible for more than half, said Dr. Thomas Frieden, CDC director. About 50 percent of all the alcohol consumed by adults, and about 90 percent of all alcohol consumed by young people, is consumed during a binge drinking session, he said. The greatest frequency of binge drinking is found among women aged 18 to 34 and high school-age girls: One in eight women binge drinks, and one in five high school girls binge drinks, nearly as high as the binge drinking rates among high school boys. About 62 percent of high school senior girls who drink reported binge drinking.
Biden: Obama Will Act on Guns With or Without Congress
Vice President Joe Biden told reporters at the White House on Wednesday that President Obama is going to take action on gun control, and he can do so through "executive orders," CNSNews.com reports. "I want it clear to the American public that on behalf of the president we are reaching out to all parties, on whatever side of this debate you fall," Biden said. "But the president is going to act. There are executive orders, executive action, that can be taken. We haven't decided what that is yet. But we're compiling it all with the help of the attorney general and all the rest of the cabinet members -- as well as legislative action we believe is required." Obama appointed Biden to head a task force to put together options for federal actions on firearms following the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., and the group is set to make recommendations to the president by the end of the month. Talk of unilateral White House action -- on which the administration declined to elaborate -- has alarmed gun-rights supporters. "The Founding Fathers never envisioned executive orders being used to restrict our constitutional rights," said Rep. Jeff Duncan, a Republican from South Carolina. "We live in a republic, not a dictatorship."
Publication date: January 11, 2013