Religion Today Daily Headlines - September 14, 2012

Religion Today Daily Headlines - September 14, 2012

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

In today's edition:

  • Christians in Egypt, Libya Could Face More Persecution After Attacks
  • Netanyahu: Israel Understands America's Grief
  • Hobby Lobby Files Suit Against Abortion Mandate
  • Seizure of Texas Professor's Computers, Emails Called Troubling


Christians in Egypt, Libya Could Face More Persecution After Attacks

The Tuesday attacks on U.S. embassies in Libya and Egypt could have severe consequences for already marginalized Christians in the Middle East and northern Africa, according to Open Doors USA. The violence, including the death of four American embassy staff members in Benghazi, Libya, was allegedly sparked by a film produced in the U.S. that insulted the prophet Mohammed. "It illustrates how hot the fuel is that one spark ignites it so suddenly," said Open Doors spokesman Michael Wood. "At some point we heard that people were protesting because of a film not even knowing what movie this was all about. And as was the case with the publishing of the Danish cartoon several years ago, the movie has been on the internet several months. But it is the unpredictable momentum that suddenly creates a wave of protests and anger. Many of the Muslim fanatics link the U.S. with Christianity. So that puts believers in these hot spots such as Libya and Egypt directly in the line of fire."

Netanyahu: Israel Understands America's Grief

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu extended Israel's condolences to the families of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other officials at the American embassy in Libya who were murdered Tuesday night by Islamic terrorists, CBN News reports. "The people of Israel grieve with the American people," Netanyahu said in a statement. "We send our condolences to the families. If there's any people in the world that understands what Americans are going through, what they went through on 9/11, it's the people of Israel, who've been standing at the forefront of the battle against terrorism, who've lost loved ones and who deeply sympathize with the people of America at this time." Israeli president Shimon Peres added that the loss of four Americans was "shared by your friends around the world" and foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman said the timing of the attacks on the anniversary of 9/11 "proves this is a long and difficult battle against those who believe in sowing death and destruction and only their excuse changes every time."

Hobby Lobby Files Suit Against Abortion Mandate

Evangelical-owned Hobby Lobby has filed a lawsuit against the Obama administration's contraceptive/abortion mandate, becoming the largest business yet to take action against the rule, Baptist Press reports. The mandate, issued by the Department of Health and Human Services, requires businesses to purchase insurance plans that cover contraceptives, including "emergency" contraceptives that can cause chemical abortions. The mandate went into effect Aug. 1, but Hobby Lobby won't be impacted until Jan. 1, when the new insurance year for its employees begins. Although Hobby Lobby's insurance plans cover contraceptives that are preventative in nature, the chain's founder and CEO, David Green, says the company won't cover anything that causes a chemical abortion. "These abortion-causing drugs go against our faith, and our family is now being forced to choose between following the laws of the land that we love or maintaining the religious beliefs that have made our business successful," Green said. "... We simply cannot abandon our religious beliefs to comply with this mandate."

Seizure of Texas Professor's Computers, Emails Called Troubling

Although University of Texas professor Mark Regnerus has been cleared of alleged research misconduct in a study that showed negative effects of gay parenting, one group is calling the seizure of his computers and 42,000 emails by university officials "troubling," Baptist Press reports. "It seems to us that UT Austin should take a closer look at its rules to make sure that the provision for sequestration does not become an open invitation to hassle and discourage researchers working within politically charged topics," said the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. Regnerus, an associate professor of sociology, found that adults raised by gay parents were more likely to suffer from poor impulse control, depression, suicidal thoughts and other negative life experiences. His study was larger and more random than most previous studies on the subject, and gay-activist blogger Scott Rose accused him of academic fraud and called for a formal investigation. The university announced Aug. 29 that Regnerus was innocent of academic misconduct and that the merits of his study "should be left to debates that are currently underway in the academy and future research that validates or invalidates his findings."

Publication date: September 14, 2012