Religion Today Daily Headlines - October 8, 2012

Religion Today Daily Headlines - October 8, 2012

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

In today's edition:

  • Poll: PCUSA Members Increasingly Favoring Same-Sex Marriage
  • Egypt Frees Boys Held for Alleged Quran Defiling
  • Legal Groups Sue to Overturn California Gay Therapy Ban
  • Tyndale House Publishers Latest to File Suit Against Contraceptive Mandate


Poll: PCUSA Members Increasingly Favoring Same-Sex Marriage

According to a recent survey by Presbyterian Research Services, support for same-sex marriage among Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) members and pastors has considerably increased since 2005, the Christian Post reports. In 2005, 23 percent of PCUSA members supported same-sex marriage; in 2012, the number had increased to 34 percent. Among pastors, support for same-sex marriage in 2005 was 35 percent; in 2012, it is at 49 percent. "This result indicates a broad-based shift in opinions across the church in only a few years," said Jack Marcum, coordinator of research services at Presbyterian Mission Agency and author of the published findings. Though the PCUSA's General Assembly voted this summer to keep the traditional marriage definition in the denomination's constitution, "longer term, the effect of generational change will be felt: 75 percent of young adult advisory delegates at the General Assembly supported the redefinition of marriage," Marcum said. "Hence, the next effort to change the marriage definition might well succeed. Indeed, it's possible that this year's effort would have succeeded, save for arguments that such a radical redefinition was too much change in the denomination, too soon."

Egypt Frees Boys Held for Alleged Quran Defiling

An Egyptian security official says authorities have ordered the release of two Coptic Christian boys taken into juvenile detention for allegedly urinating on the Quran, but they will remain under investigation, WORLD News Service reports. Security chief Gen. Attiya Bazrou in Beni Suef province, south of Cairo, says the boys, ages 9 and 10, were taken Thursday to a police station to await their parents. A local radical Muslim cleric had publicized the alleged defiling. Rights groups say the incident showcases Islamist intimidation of Copts, estimated at 8 to 10 percent of the population. According to International Christian Concern, accusations of insulting Islam have increased since violent protests swept the Middle East last month over a U.S.-produced film that ridicules Islam; at least 17 people in Egypt have been charged with blasphemy following the release of the film. "However, it is not the film that should be blamed for the influx of blasphemy cases," said Aidan Clay, ICC regional manager for the Middle East. "Rather, it is extremists who have used the film as an excuse to press their Islamic agenda, arguing that banning blasphemy means standing up for Islam. The battle is being waged by Islamists who want their interpretation of religion to be declared as the only acceptable version. Sadly, the Islamists are getting their way, and blasphemy charges, like those filed against the two young boys, will inevitably increase."

Legal Groups Sue to Overturn California Gay Therapy Ban

Two federal lawsuits have been filed against California's new law banning "reparative therapy" for teens struggling with their sexual orientation, CBN News reports. Beginning Jan. 1, licensed professional therapists in California will no longer be permitted to tell anyone under the age of 18 that it is possible to change sexual orientation. "[The therapies] have no basis in science or medicine and they will now be relegated to the dustbin of quackery," said Calif. Gov. Jerry Brown, who signed the ban into law Oct. 1. However, two legal groups, the Pacific Justice Institute and Liberty Counsel, filed suit last week. The Pacific Justice Institute, who says the law violates First Amendment and equal protection rights, is naming a plaintiff who says he has benefited from the reparative therapy. "When it benefits some people and may or may not benefit other people, there's no basis for the state to step in," Pacific Justice Institute attorney Matthew McReynolds said. Liberty Counsel filed a civil rights suit Thursday, naming as plaintiffs two Southern California boys, ages 14 and 15, who have been undergoing the therapy. The suit claims the ban violates the teens' freedom of speech and freedom of religion by denying them the chance to be cured of "unwanted same-sex attraction."

Tyndale House Publishers Latest to File Suit Against Contraceptive Mandate

Tyndale House Publishers, a for-profit Christian company, filed the 31st lawsuit against the federal government over its contraceptive health insurance mandate on Oct. 2, WORLD News Service reports. "Tyndale and its owners are Christians who are committed to biblical principles, including the belief that all human beings are created in the image and likeness of God from the moment of their conception/fertilization," the lawsuit reads. "But defendants' recently enacted regulatory mandate under [the healthcare law] forces Tyndale to provide and pay for drugs and devices that it and its owners believe can cause the death of human beings created in the image and likeness of God shortly after their conception/fertilization." The company said under the law it would have to begin providing coverage for several objectionable drugs and devices: abortifacients -- including Plan B and ella -- as well as intrauterine devices. The company's self-insured plan, which renewed Oct. 1, would have to provide that coverage for Tyndale's 260 full-time employees, but Tyndale has refused to add that coverage this year.

Publication date: October 8, 2012