Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- Black Pastors to President Obama: Please Rethink Same-Sex Marriage
- Kansas Governor Signs Sharia Ban into Law
- Washington Reports at Least 70 Assisted Suicides
- FedEx Mistreated Christian, Judge Rules
Black Pastors to Obama: Please Rethink Same-Sex Marriage
A national group of black clergymen is asking President Obama to reconsider his support for same-sex marriage, WORLD News Service reports. In a formal letter issued on May 22, the Coalition of African-American Pastors (CAAP) wrote, "We cannot and will not remain silent while marriage, the most fundamental institution in our -- and any -- nation, is undermined by our own president while using Christian language and relating it to civil rights." CAAP is also taking issue with the "unacceptable" way gay activists continually link their issues with the civil rights movement. "For activists, politicians, and now the highest office in the nation, to link sexual behavior God calls sin to the righteous cause Martin Luther King gave his life for is abominable in and of itself," Rev. William Owens, Sr., CAAP's founder and president, wrote in a statement. "There is no civil right to do what God calls wrong." Owens, who was a leader in the civil rights efforts in Nashville, Tenn., in the 1960s, also pointed out that the president may find reduced support among black voters this year. The coalition's own informal poll found 13 percent of blacks said they would "absolutely not" vote for Obama based on his support of gay marriage. According to the Pew Research Center, exit polls taken in 2008 revealed that 95 percent of African-Americans voted for Obama.
Kansas Governor Signs Sharia Ban into Law
Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback has signed a measure banning the use of Islamic law in the state, CBN News reports. The new law doesn't specifically mention sharia law, but prohibits Kansas courts and government agencies from basing decisions on foreign legal codes. Supporters of the measure, who cited cases around the country where judges or state agencies took Islamic law into account in their rulings -- say the new law reassures Kansas residents that courts will rely solely on state and U.S. laws. Muslim groups oppose the measure, arguing that it promotes discrimination and saying that it could nullify wills or legal contracts between Muslims. The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) says a court challenge is likely.
Washington Reports at Least 70 Assisted Suicides
Washington state may already have surpassed Oregon as the leader in legal physician-assisted suicides. According to data released earlier this month by the state's Department of Health, at least 70 Washington residents died in 2011 as a result of taking lethal drug doses prescribed by doctors, Baptist Press reports. The total may have been higher, however; it is uncertain if five other people who died after receiving prescriptions of lethal medication did so after taking the drug. Another 19 people who received the prescription died without taking the medication. Oregon set its record of 71 assisted suicides in 2011, and has recorded 596 since it became the first state to legalize assisted suicide in 1997. Washington, which legalized the practice in 2009, has reported at least 157 such deaths. As in Oregon, the three leading concerns expressed by Washington residents who received lethal prescriptions in 2011 were reduced ability "to engage in activities making life enjoyable" (89 percent), loss of autonomy (87 percent) and "loss of dignity" (79 percent).
FedEx Mistreated Christian, Judge Rules
A Federal Express employee has prevailed in a lawsuit accusing the shipping company of discrimination in failing to accommodate his religious beliefs, Baptist Press reports. FedEx discriminated against Eric Weathers by refusing to allow him to answer questions from coworkers about the Bible and his faith and ordering him not to disclose to others his bachelor's degree in Bible and youth ministry from The Master's College, U.S. district judge Edmond E. Chang ruled in Weathers v. FedEx. "Weathers' superiors told him that he could not discuss religion, even if asked, and he was told that he must affirmatively misrepresent his college degree," Chang wrote. "FedEx supervisors tied Weathers' hands ... on a topic of great importance to him and did not bother to respond to his request for an accommodation." Weathers, who worked as a sales manager, filed the suit regarding FedEx's response when a coworker complained that Weathers quoted scripture at work and made her uncomfortable by discussing his religious beliefs. Weathers was eventually demoted, then resigned his job and sued the company. "We hope this ruling will remind corporate America that it's simply bad business to force employees to check their faith at the door," said attorney Jason Craddock, who represented Weathers.
Publication date: May 30, 2012