Religion Today Daily Headlines - November 23, 2012

Religion Today Daily Headlines - November 23, 2012

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

In today's edition:

  • Franklin Graham 'Shocked' to Find Mormonism Listed as 'Cult' on BGEA Site
  • Obamacare Forces Supporter's Company to Lay Off Workers
  • Syria: Dozens Injured, Killed in Third Attack in New Assyrian Quarter in Aleppo
  • Egypt's Morsi Grants Himself Far-Reaching Powers


Franklin Graham 'Shocked' to Find Mormonism Listed as 'Cult' on BGEA Site

A month after the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association removed an article describing Mormonism as a "cult" from its website, ministry head Franklin Graham clarified he was unaware of the article's existence, the Christian Post reports. Graham told CNN he did not write the article and that he was "shocked" to find it on the BGEA website. "We have 10,000 pages and I don't write the 10,000 pages," he said. "Other people have written it. There was a discussion as to what a cult was and [the article] had a definition of a cult and then they gave some examples and when I found out there were examples they took them off. But I was shocked that we even had that on there. ... If I want to win a person to Christ, how can I call that person a name? That's what shocked me, that we were calling people names." The article was categorized under BGEA's "Looking for Answers" section where the question "What is a cult?" was posed. It defined a cult as "any group which teaches doctrine or beliefs that deviate from the biblical message of the Christian faith. It is very important that we recognize cults and avoid any involvement with them. Cults often teach some Christian truth mixed with error, which may be difficult to detect." As examples of cults, the article listed Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons, the Unification Church, Unitarians, Spiritists and Scientologists. The article was taken down in October shortly after Billy Graham, 94, met with Mitt Romney, a Mormon, at his home in Montreat, N.C. But even with the election over, Franklin Graham stated that the "cult" article will never be posted again. 

Obamacare Forces Supporter's Company to Lay Off Workers

A corporation whose part owner gave $2 million to a group committed to re-electing President Obama announced this week that it will be forced to lay off more than 1,000 employees in lieu of the financial hardship imposed by the president's signature health care law, WORLD News Service reports. Stryker Corporation, a medical device and equipment manufacturer, will cut 5 percent of its global workforce, resulting in an estimated 1,170 layoffs. Obamacare requires businesses to provide government-defined health care plans to employees who work 30 or more hours each week, with those failing to do so facing fines of up to $3,000 per employee. Obamacare also includes 18 new taxes and penalties that are estimated to bring $836 billion to the federal government over the next 10 years, according to Alyene Senger of The Heritage Foundation. "As businesses are affected by these taxes they are going to either -- as you see with Stryker -- lay people off, or they are going to turn full-time workers into part-time workers so that they don't have to pay the employer mandate," Senger said. More than a dozen companies are also facing layoffs or the possibility of having to reduce employees' hours to help combat the effects of Obamacare, according to the governmental watchdog group Freedom Works.

Syria: Dozens Injured, Killed in Third Attack in New Assyrian Quarter in Aleppo

A bomb exploded near a Syriac Orthodox church in Aleppo, Syria's second-largest city, at 6 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 16, injuring dozens and killing many more, ASSIST News Service reports. The exact number of victims is not known. According to the Assyrian International News Agency, the bomb damaged the Al Kalima School and the Syrian French Hospital, as well as a nursing home. It is the third attack in four weeks in the New Assyrian Quarter in Aleppo; the first occurred on Oct. 21 and the second on Oct. 26. Syrian rebels continue to inflict fear and terror on residents in the New Assyrian Quarter; meanwhile, Islamist rebel groups in Aleppo say they reject the new Western-backed opposition coalition. In an online video, rebels denounced what they called "the conspiratorial project" and said they intend to establish an "Islamist state" in Syria, something that is feared by the country's Christian population. It is believed that more than 38,000 people have died in the 20-month uprising against the rule of President Bashar al-Assad. Thousands of Christians have fled across the borders to Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon to escape the conflict, and more than 2 million people are displaced within Syria. The international charity Save the Children has warned that 200,000 Syrian refugee children are at serious risk from freezing temperatures as winter begins in the Middle East.

Egypt's Morsi Grants Himself Far-Reaching Powers


Egypt's Islamist president Mohammed Morsi decreed extensive new powers for himself Thursday, freeing his decisions from judicial review and ordering retrials for former top officials, including former president Hosni Mubarak, the Washington Post reports. The decree, issued just a day after Morsi received U.S. and international praise for mediating the ceasefire between Hamas and Israel, appears to leave few, if any, checks on his power. Morsi framed his decisions as necessary to protect the revolution that toppled Mubarak nearly two years ago, but many liberal activists immediately criticized the decrees as dictatorial, with some even saying they exceeded the powers once enjoyed by Mubarak. "Morsi today usurped all state powers & appointed himself Egypt's new pharaoh," former presidential candidate Mohamed ElBaradei wrote on Twitter. "A major blow to the revolution that [could] have dire consequences."

Publication date: November 23, 2012