Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- U.N. Estimates 60,000 Killed in Syria
- Britain: Judge Rules Christians Have No Right to Refuse to Work on Sundays
- Sandy Hook Students Resume Classes for First Time Since Shooting
- First Openly Bisexual Member of Congress Takes Office
U.N. Estimates 60,000 Killed in Syria
As the civil war in Syria nears its two-year anniversary, the United Nations estimates that more than 60,000 people have been killed, with monthly casualty figures steadily increasing, reports Yahoo! News. The death toll, based on reporting by seven different sources, is a third more than the figure of 45,000 given by activists opposed to the regime of President Bashar Assad -- the first time that the U.N.'s estimates are higher. "The number of casualties is much higher than we expected, and is truly shocking," said Navi Pillay, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Britain: Judge Rules Christians Have No Right to Refuse to Work on Sundays
A new court ruling in Britain says Christians have no right to refuse to work on Sundays because it is not a "core component" of their beliefs, The Telegraph reports. The judgment came on an appeal brought by a Christian woman who said she was forced to resign from the job she loved at a care home because she refused to work on Sundays. Celestina Mba said when she took the position in 2007, her managers initially agreed to accommodate her church commitments, but after a few months they began pressuring her to work on Sundays and threatening her with disciplinary measures even though other workers were willing to take her shifts. The ruling has caused an uproar among Christians who say the decision puts them at a disadvantage to other religions and essentially means the courts are now in a position of deciding what is and what is not a "core" doctrine of Christianity.
Sandy Hook Students Resume Classes for First Time Since Shooting
Students from Sandy Hook Elementary School returned to class Thursday for the first time since a gunman's massacre killed 20 of their classmates and six adults, CBN News reports. The Newtown, Conn., school is still a crime scene, so officials re-opened a closed middle school in the neighboring town of Monroe, re-naming it Sandy Hook Elementary School. "We want to get back to teaching and learning," superintendent Janet Robinson said. "We will obviously take time out from the academics for any conversations that need to take place, and there will be a lot of support there. All in all, we want the kids to reconnect with their friends and classroom teachers, and I think that's going to be the healthiest thing." Former Sandy Hook principal Donna Page, who retired two years ago, is returning to help in the transition, and local police will patrolling the grounds to provide security.
First Openly Bisexual Member of Congress Takes Office
Democrat Kyrsten Sinema, who was elected to the House of Representatives in November by voters in Arizona's 9th Congressional District and sworn into office Jan. 3, is being touted as the first openly bisexual member of Congress, CNSNews.com reports. When asked by ABCNews.com about her sexual orientation, Sinema said: "We've made history, and we're proud of that, but what I am interested in is making history by making things better for the people of Arizona's 9th Congressional District." Sinema's campaign was supported by the Victory Fund, a gay rights group that funds and trains LGBT candidates. "We're thrilled for Kyrsten," said Chuck Wolfe, president and CEO of the Victory Fund. "She's a dynamic leader and she'll be a strong voice for her community and for all LGBT Americans." National Public Radio reported on Tuesday that Sinema is the "first openly bisexual member of Congress" and that she represents a "changing Arizona."
Publication date: January 4, 2013