Religion Today Daily Headlines - March 22, 2013

Religion Today Daily Headlines - March 22, 2013

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

In today's edition:

  • Nigeria: At Least 20 Killed in Suicide Bombing in Christian Neighborhood
  • Nearly Half of All First Births in America Out of Wedlock, Study Finds
  • Kansas House Overwhelmingly Passes Bill Declaring Life Begins at Fertilization
  • Belgium Legislature Considers Euthanasia for Minors


Nigeria: At Least 20 Killed in Suicide Bombing in Christian Neighborhood

At least 20 people have been killed by a series of bombings targeting buses in a predominantly Christian neighborhood in Nigeria's northern city of Kano, International Christian Concern reports. The official death toll is expected to rise as security officials continue to examine the scene of Monday's attack. Officials suspect the series of explosions were likely initiated by suicide bombers, though investigators are still collecting evidence to confirm that theory. Because the attacks took place in a Christian area of Kano, most officials suspect Christians were the target of the attack. The Islamic extremist group Boko Haram is suspected to be behind the bombings, but the group has yet to take responsibility. Since 2009, Boko Haram has been engaged in an armed insurgency in Nigeria's northern states, attempting to carve out a separate Islamic state where it can institute sharia law. As part of its bloody campaign to drive all Christians out of Nigeria's northern states, Boko Haram has targeted the Christian minority there by perpetrating suicide bombings at churches and killing Christians in their homes. 

Nearly Half of All First Births in America Out of Wedlock, Study Finds

The age at which men and women in America marry is now at historic heights, and as a result the number of children born out of wedlock has also increased, according to a new study by a group of family researchers, who have found that 48 percent of all first births are happening outside of marriage, the Christian Post reports. On average, women are marrying at age 27 and men at 29 -- and the average age is still climbing due to economic and cultural reasons. At the same time, the age at which women have children is also increasing, but not nearly as quickly, according to the report released last week by the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia and collaborators. For women as a whole, the median age of first birth, 25.7, now falls before the median age of first marriage, 26.5. The report called the phenomenon "The Great Crossover." By age 25, 44 percent of women have given birth, while only 38 percent have married. "The biggest downside to delayed marriage in America is that many young adults are now putting the baby carriage before marriage," said co-author and National Marriage Project director Bradford Wilcox. "What they often don't realize is that children born outside of marriage are significantly more likely to be exposed to a revolving cast of caretakers and the social, emotional and financial fallout associated with family instability and single parenthood."

Kansas House Overwhelmingly Passes Bill Declaring Life Begins at Fertilization

Members of the Kansas House of Representatives have overwhelmingly passed a sweeping abortion bill that, among other regulations, declares life begins at fertilization, the Christian News Network reports. The bill declares: "The legislature hereby finds and declares the following: (1) The life of each unborn human being begins at fertilization; (2) unborn children have interests in life, health and well-being that should be protected; and (3) the parents of unborn children have protectable interests in the life, health and well-being of the unborn children of such parents." HR 2253, which passed the House 92 to 31, also restrains the abortion industry in a number of ways, including prohibiting abortionists from receiving tax breaks, barring doctors in training at the state medical school from performing abortions on state time, requiring that all abortionists notify women of the risks associated with abortion, and prohibiting organizations that perform abortions from teaching in state sexual education classes. The bill will make its way through the state Senate in the near future, and is expected to pass. If it passes the Senate, it will move to the desk of Gov. Sam Brownback for signing. Brownback, a Roman Catholic, has remarked in the past that he would sign any pro-life bill into law that made it to his desk.

Belgium Legislature Considers Euthanasia for Minors

Belgian lawmakers are considering whether to expand legalized euthanasia to include children 18 years of age or younger, Baptist Press reports. Euthanasia is already being practiced on minors, an expert told legislators. "We all know it," and physicians "need a legal framework," said Dominique Biarent, who oversees the intensive care unit at Queen Fabiola Children's University Hospital in Brussels. Pro-life blogger Wesley Smith criticized Biarent's call for legal guidelines. "Euthanasia guidelines are worse than meaningless, they are pretense," Smith wrote. "They exist to give the illusion of control. But once people come [to] fully accept the premise of euthanasia -- killing as a remedy for suffering -- it's Katy bar the door." Belgium became the second country to legalize euthanasia in 2002; The Netherlands preceded it.

Publication date: March 22, 2013