Religion Today Daily Headlines - June 4, 2013

Religion Today Daily Headlines - June 4, 2013

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

In today's edition:

  • Churches Boot Boy Scouts for Lifting Ban on Openly Homosexual Members
  • Texas Cheerleaders' Free Speech Battle Heads Into Overtime
  • Lutherans Elect First Openly Gay Bishop
  • Delaware Abortion Doctor Charged With Unsafe Practices


Churches Boot Boy Scouts for Lifting Ban on Openly Homosexual Members

Following the Boy Scouts' recent vote to lift its ban on openly homosexual members, a number of churches across America have announced they will be cutting ties with the organization, Christian News Network reports. The majority of entities that charter with the Boy Scouts are either faith-based organizations or churches; however, some churches have now decided not to allow the Scouts to use their facilities any more as the organization no longer represents their moral values. Pastor Mike Shaw of the First Baptist Church of Pelham, Ala., is among those ending his alliance with the Scouts. He recently explained that his church could not in good conscience support the acceptance of sinful behavior. "We don’t hate anybody," Shaw told reporters. "We're not doing it out of hatred. The teachings of the Scripture are very clear on this. We're doing it because it violates the clear teaching of Scripture." Pastor Ernest Easley of Roswell Street Baptist Church in Marietta, Ga., said his church would no longer support the Scouts either. "It is extremely sad," he stated. "I'd never dreamed that I'd be standing in front of a group preaching on Sunday, encouraging parents to pull kids out of Boy Scouts of America. If we're a church that affirms God’s word as the inerrant word of God that we're going to live by, that we're going to raise our families by, that we're going to do church by, then it may be sad, but it's a simple decision. We are not going to put our arms around organizations that openly oppose the moral guidelines taught in God's word." The Southern Baptist Convention plans to vote next month on a resolution in regard to the Scouting policy, which may result in additional churches distancing themselves from the organization. A number of Christian organizations are predicting a mass exodus from the Boy Scouts of America following last month's decision.

Texas Cheerleaders' Free Speech Battle Heads Into Overtime

Just when a group of Texas high school cheerleaders thought their fight for free speech was over, their school district has decided to go on offense. Kountze Independent School District has decided to appeal a state judge’s ruling that allowed the girls to paint Bible verses on run-through banners. Earlier this month, state district judge Steve Thomas determined that no law "prohibits cheerleaders from using religious-themed banners at school sporting events." Before that, the district, in response to a letter of complaint from the Freedom From Religion Foundation, forbade the squad from further use of scripture -- such as "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" -- on its banners. The squad fought back, with help from The Liberty Institute, and won its case in court. But now the school district's attorney says the squad's legal team read more rights into the judge’s decision than they should have. "The school district believes that it is in everyone's best interest to seek clarification rather than subject the district to additional costly litigation in the future," Tom Brandt said."The school board’s decision to appeal was not made lightly, particularly given the fact that the district court’s order actually granted some of the relief the school district sought, namely, that Kountze ISD is not required to prohibit religious-themed banners at school sporting events." Hiram Sasser, director of litigation for Liberty Institute, criticized the district for continuing to spend taxpayer money on unnecessary litigation. "I do not understand why the school district cannot simply accept that it lost and move on instead of continuing to fight against these cheerleaders who simply wanted to encourage the players with uplifting messages," he said.

Lutherans Elect First Openly Gay Bishop

The Evangelical Lutheran Church of America elected its first openly gay bishop to a six-year term on Friday at its annual assembly in southern California, WORLD reports. The election of Rev. Dr. R. Guy Erwin comes after the church's controversial rule change in 2009 that allowed homosexuals to be ordained in the nation's largest Lutheran denomination. Erwin, a resident of Los Angeles, currently serves as a pastor at Faith Lutheran Church and professor of Lutheran confessional theology at California Lutheran University. He has also served on a variety of boards and committees of church-related institutions and agencies. More than 600 congregations have left the denomination since it decided to ordain homosexual clergy in 2009.

Delaware Abortion Doctor Charged With Unsafe Practices

A Delaware abortion doctor faces charges of unsafe and unsanitary practices, CBN News reports. The state's medical licensing officials filed a formal complaint last week, accusing Dr. Timothy F. Liveright of engaging in "unprofessional, disrespectful and inappropriate conduct," which reportedly included sexual harassment of female employees. Liveright, 68, who performed abortions at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Wilmington, voluntarily surrendered his Delaware medical license last month, saying he "retired from practicing medicine in Delaware" and had "no intentions of ever seeking [to] practice there in the future." Officials say he represents a "clear and immediate danger" to the public. "They're jumping on whatever they can jump on," Liveright said. "I don't know what their agenda is, but I don't think I'm a danger to the public." Liveright is accused of multiple acts of incompetence and negligence, specifically citing abortions performed in February and March of this year. Charges against him include over-sedating patients, performing unnecessary suction procedures and failing to act in a way that would avoid unnecessary complications for patients.

Publication date: June 4, 2013