Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- President Obama Says He Supports Gay Marriage
- N.C. Marriage Amendment Passes Easily
- Autopsy: Christian Painter Thomas Kinkade Died of Accidental Overdose
- Man Declared Insane, Sent to Mental Hospital for Faith in Christ
President Obama Says He Supports Gay Marriage
President Barack Obama, who previously said his views on the issue were "evolving," said this afternoon that he supports same-sex marriage, CNN reports. "At a certain point I've just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married," Obama said in an interview with ABC News' Robin Roberts. Obama, who once opposed gay marriage, said he was "disappointed" by Tuesday's vote to implement a state constitutional ban on gay marriage in North Carolina, which he described as discriminatory. Obama's interview came just days after other key administration figures -- Vice President Joe Biden and Education Secretary Arne Duncan -- indicated support of gay marriage. Obama is the first president to take this position.
N.C. Marriage Amendment Passes Easily
North Carolina on Tuesday became the 30th state to define marriage within its constitution as between one man and one woman when a measure that had drawn nationwide attention passed easily with a margin even larger than pre-election surveys, Baptist Press reports. With all counties reported, the amendment passed 61 to 30 percent. Critics said the amendment was unnecessary because the state already defines marriage in the traditional sense, but supporters argued North Carolina needed the amendment to prevent a state court from legalizing gay marriage, as has happened in Massachusetts, Iowa and Connecticut. The final pre-election poll from Public Policy Polling had the amendment up 57 to 39 percent; marriage amendments have a history of outperforming surveys. "North Carolinians have been waiting for nearly a decade to protect marriage -- a sacred institution authored by God -- from being redefined against the will of the people," said Tami Fitzgerald, chair of Vote FOR Marriage NC. North Carolina was the last remaining state in the Southeast to pass such an amendment.
Autopsy: Christian Painter Thomas Kinkade Died of Accidental Overdose
Christian painter Thomas Kinkade died of a drug and alcohol overdose, according to an autopsy report released Monday, the Religion News Service reports. Kinkade's April 6 death was ruled accidental by the Santa Clara County coroner's office, which found high levels of alcohol and the anti-anxiety medication Diazepam in his body. According to his family, Kinkade had struggled with alcoholism. Just 54 when he died, the self-described "Painter of Light" was one of the most commercially successful artists in history, selling millions of light-infused, fairytale-like scenes depicting cottages, churches and biblical themes. Critics panned his work as "kitsch," but Kinkade's work made him a beloved figure within many Christian circles. His brother Patrick Kinkade, a professor at Texas Christian University, told the San Jose Mercury news that the artist had been troubled in recent years by a separation by his wife, business problems and critics' low opinions of his work. In 2010, the year he filed for bankruptcy, Thomas Kinkade was arrested for drunk driving.
Man Declared Insane, Sent to Mental Hospital for Faith in Christ
A North African man named Mohammed who converted to Christianity from Islam was forced by his relatives to see a psychiatrist to "cure" him of his new faith, Mission Network News reports. Mohammed was in Saudi Arabia for business when he phoned his father to tell him he had become a Christian. His father responded by telling all Mohammed's relatives in Saudi Arabia not to allow his son to leave Islam. The relatives took Mohammed's computer and tried to force him to return to Islam, and his Saudi employer threatened to fire him and send him to prison, but Mohammed managed to return to North Africa in peace. When he arrived, however, a relative took him to see a sheikh, who determined that Mohammed was mentally ill and needed to see a psychiatrist. His family committed him to a mental hospital, where he received electric shock therapy -- which failed to "cure" him of his faith. For a long time afterward, Mohammed was afraid to go to church, but finally met with a worker from Pioneers and Arab World Ministries to learn more about the Bible. The Pioneers worker reported that Mohammed was "full of joy that he met people who would listen to him, encourage him, pray with him and not tell him he was mentally ill." Mohammed now owns a Bible and attends church, eager to keep learning about Jesus and His Word.
Publication date: May 10, 2012