Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- HHS Mandate Lawsuit Count Reaches 40
- 'Nones' Say 2012 Election Proves They are a Political Force
- San Francisco to Offer Free Sex Changes for Uninsured
- Montana Approves Parental-Consent Law
HHS Mandate Lawsuit Count Reaches 40
The number of lawsuits against the Obama administration over a rule forcing employers to provide insurance covering contraceptives and possible abortifacient drugs reached 40 this week, when a medical supply company in Minnesota filed a complaint on Nov. 5, WORLD News Service reports. Stuart Lind, who owns Annex Medical, Inc., is a Catholic dedicated to "conducting business in a way that is pleasing to God and is faithful to biblical principles and values," according to court documents, and he says the mandate is forcing him to violate his religious beliefs. The Obama administration gave secular businesses until this past August to comply with the mandate, but faith-based organizations, including Catholic hospitals, universities and ministries, have a so-called "safe harbor" extension that gives them until August 2013 to find a way to comply. Annex Medical refuses to adhere to the mandate and will drop its insurance plan altogether by Jan. 31 unless courts provide relief, the law firm stated.
'Nones' Say 2012 Election Proves They are a Political Force
Nationwide exit polls show that "nones," those who say they have no religious affiliation or do not believe in God, made up 12 percent of all voters -- more than the combined number of voters who are Jewish, Muslim or members of other minority religions (9 percent) and only slightly smaller than the combined number of Hispanic Catholics and black Protestants (14 percent), the Religion News Service reports. The nones skewed heavily Democratic, 70 to 26 percent, and atheistic and secular groups are celebrating the election results. Many see their muscle behind state victories for same-sex marriage -- a pillar of their agenda -- and the defeat of Florida's Amendment 8, which would have channeled taxpayer money to religious schools. "The numbers don't lie," said Lauren Anderson Youngblood of the Secular Coalition for America. "They are an indicator of our untapped potential..." According to an October study by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, "nones" are now the fastest-growing faith group in America, at 20 percent of the population, or 26 million adults. "It may take another election or two before we are truly able to make our political mark," said Matthew Bulger of the American Humanist Association, "but have no doubt that day is coming."
San Francisco to Offer Free Sex Changes for Uninsured
San Francisco is set to become the first U.S. city to offer free sex-change operations for uninsured transgender residents, CBN News reports. Transgender advocates want mastectomies, genital reconstruction and other surgeries covered under San Francisco's universal health care program, and the city's Health Commission voted Tuesday to create a program to treat people experiencing "mental distress" due to gender-identity issues. Health department officials say the program will take effect late next year after studying the cost and how many people it would serve.
Montana Approves Parental-Consent Law
Voters in Montana overwhelmingly approved a law Tuesday requiring parental notification before any girl under age 16 can receive an abortion, WORLD News Service reports. Seventy percent of citizens voted for Ref. 120, compared to only 30 percent opposed to it. "Montana voters have wisely passed this common-sense law to ensure that parents can protect their daughters from abortionists who prey on upon vulnerable young girls," said Alliance Defending Freedom senior counsel Steven H. Aden. "The voice of an abortionist should not be allowed more weight than the voice of parents when their daughter is pregnant." Those who violate the law can receive fines of $500 and/or six months in prison, while those who coerce a minor into getting an abortion could receive a $1,000 fine, a year-long prison sentence, or both. To date, 38 states have passed laws requiring parental notification or consent before teen girls can have abortions, according to the Americans United for Life.