Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- Delaware Becomes 11th State With Gay Marriage
- First Eight Days: 2,381 'Gay' Jason Collins News Stories, 115 Gosnell Abortion-Murder Trial Stories
- Report: Two-Thirds of 'Worst Violators of Religious Freedom' are Muslim Countries
- U.S. Calls on North Korea to Release American Christian From Prison
Delaware Becomes 11th State With Gay Marriage
Delaware became the 11th state to legalize same-sex marriage after a lengthy debate Tuesday in the state Senate and the surprise votes of two lawmakers, USA TODAY reports. A half-hour after the 12-9 Senate vote, Gov. Jack Markell signed the legislation into law on the main stairs in the lobby of Legislative Hall. Democratic Sen. Bethany Hall-Long and Republican Sen. Catherine Cloutier provided the swing votes in favor of the legislation; Cloutier was the lone Republican yes vote in the Senate and one of two in the General Assembly as a whole. According to the bill, Delaware residents will be able to enter into same-sex marriage effective July 1. The law provides a mechanism for converting existing same-sex civil unions established in Delaware to marriages.
First Eight Days: 2,381 'Gay' Jason Collins News Stories, 115 Gosnell Abortion-Murder Trial Stories
In the first eight days after NBA player Jason Collins announced he was gay, the news media covered the story in 2,381 places -- but in the first eight days of the trial of abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell and his "House of Horrors" facility, the media covered the story in only 115 places, meaning that Collins' "gay" news received more than 1,970 percent more news coverage, CNSNews.com reports. In addition, a search of the news coverage of the Gosnell trial, which started on March 18, shows there have been a total of 1,876 stories, still less than the amount of Collins stories in eight days. Collins, who plays center for the Washington Wizards, announced he was a homosexual in a self-written article for the Sports Illustrated website on April 29. Gosnell is charged with five counts of murder and 263 other criminal offenses related to his abortion business in Philadelphia; the jury is still deliberating.
Report: Two-Thirds of 'Worst Violators of Religious Freedom' are Muslim Countries
Ten out of the 15 countries with the worst religious freedom abuses are Muslim nations, according to the recently released U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom 2013 Annual Report, which identifies the status of religious freedom throughout the world and cites countries that are the least tolerant, the Christian Post reports. The 15 most intolerant countries, identified as "countries of particular concern," cited in this year's report are Burma, China, Egypt, Eritrea, Iran, Iraq, Nigeria, North Korea, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Vietnam. Of these, 10 are Muslim countries. The nearly 400-page report details a range of human rights violations occurring in these countries. According to USCIRF chairwoman Dr. Katrina Lantos Swett, the state of international freedom around the world is "increasingly dire" because of "religious extremists… [who] target religious minorities and dissenters from majority religious communities for violence, including physical assaults and even murder." The report suggests a number of reforms the United States could recommend to each country, in concert with the United Nations, that could coincide with economic and humanitarian assistance or sanctions.
U.S. Calls on North Korea to Release American Christian From Prison
The United States is calling on North Korea to release a Korean-American Christian sentenced to 15 years of hard labor, CBN News reports. Washington state resident Kenneth Bae, 44, entered North Korea on a tourist visa and was arrested Nov. 3 in the city of Rason, near the border with China and Russia. North Korea's Supreme Court convicted Bae of attempting to topple the government and other unspecified "hostile acts" against the state. "We've had long-standing concerns about the lack of transparency and due process in the North Korean legal system," U.S. State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell said. "So, now that Mr. Bae has gone through the legal process, we urge the DPRK to grant him amnesty and immediate release." Friends and colleagues say Bae is a devout Christian who frequently traveled to North Korea to feed orphans; Doo Hee Yoon, an activist based in South Korea, told AFP he may have been detained for photographing emaciated children. Bae is the sixth American to be detained by the Communist state since 2009, and his sentencing comes amid heightened tensions between North Korea and the United States. Analysts have speculated North Korea could be using Bae as bait to get a high-profile American to visit the country.
Publication date: May 9, 2013