Religion Today Daily Headlines - June 1, 2012

Religion Today Daily Headlines - June 1, 2012

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

In today's edition:

  • House Votes Down Bill to Ban Gender-Based Abortions
  • Zanzibar Islamists Burn Churches
  • Poll: Obama's Position on Gay Marriage Could be Key Issue in Swing States
  • Maryland Gay Marriage Foes Exceed Signature Goal for Referendum


House Votes Down Bill to Ban Gender-Based Abortions

The House of Representives on Thursday failed to pass the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act, which would have criminalized aborting a preborn baby because of its gender, the Christian Post reports. The vote, 246-168, required a two-thirds majority because it was brought to vote under suspension of the rules. Most Republicans voted for it, while most Democrats voted against it. Congressman Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), the bill's sponsor, said: "Worldwide now, we're probably missing 200 million girls because of sex-selective abortions, and in America we have now allowed thousands of little girls to be dismembered, usually late in the pregnancy when they can feel extreme pain, simply because they are little girls. And it's gotten so that the most deadly words on the planet are 'It's a girl.' ... It should assault our conscience. And we should do what's necessary to end it." Opponents of the bill argued it was "intended to chip away at a woman's right to seek safe, legal medical care," but Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle (R-N.Y.) said: "There can be no rights for women if we don't allow them the right to life. ... This is the ultimate war on women. If we don't allow women to be born, we cannot talk about any other rights."

Zanzibar Islamists Burn Churches

Hundreds of Islamic radicals set fire to two churches and clashed with police over the weekend on the Muslim-dominated island of Zanzibar, Reuters reports. Christian minorities have repeatedly come under attacks from Islamists in Zanzibar, and the newest attacks have raised fears of an escalation in religious tensions. "There's a lot of tension, people are hiding in their houses," resident Mai Zuberi said. "All the streets are empty; it's only the police who are out there." Police said they have arrested 30 members of Uamsho -- a Swahili acronym of the Association for Islamic Mobilization and Propagation -- but the group dismissed the accusation of inciting riots.

Poll: Obama's Position on Gay Marriage Could be Key Issue in Swing States

A new Quinnipiac poll found that if the election were today, Obama would lose Florida -- a key swing state -- by six points, WORLD News Service reports. The poll shows Romney ahead there 47 percent to 41 percent. What's more, 25 percent of voters said Obama's position on same-sex marriage made them less likely to vote for him. Only 11 percent said they were more likely to vote for him because of this stand. Among independent voters, the figures were 23 percent less likely and 9 percent more likely. So what does the data mean? According to politician and family advocate Gary Bauer, "the radical notion that men should 'marry' other men is a political loser by a 2-to-1 margin. ... That's not surprising given that 62 percent of Florida voters supported a marriage protection amendment in 2008." Bauer believes this issue could be critical in Ohio, Virginia, North Carolina, Iowa, Nevada and Wisconsin "if the GOP and the Romney campaign don't run away from traditional values in this campaign."

Maryland Gay Marriage Foes Exceed Signature Goal for Referendum

Supporters of a Maryland referendum that would reverse the state's gay marriage law have submitted more than twice the number of signatures needed -- a month ahead of schedule, Baptist Press reports. The Maryland Marriage Alliance needed to collect 55,736 valid signatures by June 30 to place a referendum on the November ballot that would overturn the gay marriage law passed by the legislature and signed by Gov. Martin O'Malley earlier this year; instead, it submitted 113,000 signatures May 29, all of which it said were valid. Though Maryland is a left-leaning state, the new law could be in danger because of strong opposition from churches. Last year, opposition from black pastors was critical in defeating a gay marriage bill in the legislature. It squeaked by in the state Senate this year, 25-22, days after it passed the House of Delegates 72-67. Derek McCoy, executive director of the Maryland Marriage Alliance, said President Obama's endorsement of gay marriage only helped the signature drive. "Support for the referendum was strong from the beginning and has only intensified once President Obama announced his support for same-sex marriage."

Publication date: June 1, 2012