Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- Adoption Tax Credit Made Permanent in Fiscal Cliff Bill
- Court Blocks Ban on Gay Therapy for Minors
- Abortion Restrictions Hit Second-Highest Total Ever in 2012
- Al Jazeera Launches American Cable Network Incursion
Adoption Tax Credit Made Permanent in Fiscal Cliff Bill
The "fiscal cliff" bill signed by President Obama didn't fully please either political party, but it did contain good news for the adoption community by maintaining a tax credit that makes adoption more affordable for low- and middle-income families, Baptist Press reports. The adoption tax credit was set to expire at the end of 2012, and for months the adoption community had been lobbying Congress to extend it. The House and Senate did more than that, making the credit permanent under the bill passed just before the new year. Unlike a tax deduction, which only reduces taxable income, a tax credit actually reduces a person's tax liability. Under IRS rules, an adoptive family can claim adoption expenses -- court costs and adoption agency fees, among others -- up to the maximum amount allowed under the credit, which last year was $13,360. Since many adoptions cost $20,000 and up, the tax credit simply makes the expensive process more affordable.
Court Blocks Ban on Gay Therapy for Minors
A federal appeals court shortly before Christmas blocked a California ban on "reparative therapy," giving concerned parents the right -- for now -- to seek counsel for a child with homosexual tendencies, WORLD News Service reports. The first-of-its-kind ban would have gone into effect Jan. 1, before a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit of Appeals issued an emergency order putting the law on hold until the court can hear full arguments on the measure's constitutionality. The law, passed by the legislature and approved by Gov. Jerry Brown in the fall, says therapists and counselors who use "sexual orientation change efforts" on minors would be practicing unprofessional conduct and subject to discipline by state licensing boards. Mathew Staver of Liberty Counsel, who is representing reparative therapy practitioners and recipients in a suit seeking to overturn the ban, applauded the court's decision to grant his request to delay its implementation. "The law is an astounding overreach by the government into the realm of counseling and would have caused irreparable harm."
Abortion Restrictions Hit Second-Highest Total Ever in 2012
State lawmakers passed the second-highest number of abortion restrictions ever in 2012, with 19 states enacting 43 measures limiting access to abortion services, Christianity Today reports. The record was set in 2011 when 24 states enacted 92 restrictions. According to LifeSiteNews, "While abortion is still legal, it is increasingly difficult to access, thanks to the closing of so many abortion clinics and pro-life laws that help women by giving them additional information and alternatives." Those laws include a recently approved ban on Planned Parenthood funding in Texas and recent Michigan bills that increase regulation requirements for abortion providers.
Al Jazeera Launches American Cable Network Incursion
The Pan-Arab news channel Al Jazeera -- known for its anti-Israel, pro-Islamist propaganda and its long record as the chosen news outlet for al Qaeda and other terrorist cells -- will soon infiltrate the homes of almost 40 million Americans following its Jan. 2 purchase of Al Gore's left-leaning cable channel Current TV, WORLD News Service reports. Gore confirmed the sale, claiming in a statement that Al Jazeera shared Current TV's mission "to give voice to those who are not typically heard; to speak truth to power; to provide independent and diverse points of view; and to tell the stories that no one else is telling." Time Warner Cable Inc., the nation's second-largest TV operator, immediately dropped the station after the deal was confirmed. Al Jazeera, owned by the government of Qatar, plans to transform Current TV into a network called Al Jazeera America by hiring more journalists and adding five to 10 new U.S. bureaus, in addition to the five it has now. "This is a pure business deal based on recognized demand," spokesman Stan Collender said. "When people watch Al Jazeera, they tend to like it a great deal." According to Collender, more than half of the content will be U.S. news and its headquarters will be in New York.
Publication date: January 7, 2013