Religion Today Summaries - February 8, 2012

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - February 8, 2012

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

In today's edition:

  • California Appeals Court Rules Voter-Approved Gay Marriage Ban Unconstitutional
  • White House: Women 'Deserve' to Have Employers Buy Them Contraceptives
  • Iran's Khamenei Calls for Killing of 'All the Jews'
  • Israeli Intel Chief: 200,000 Missiles Aimed at Israel


California Appeals Court Rules Voter-Approved Gay Marriage Ban Unconstitutional

A federal appeals court today declared California's ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional, likely paving the way for a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in the near future, the Los Angeles Times reports. A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco voted 2-1 to uphold a ruling by a lower court judge that the ban -- known as Proposition 8 -- was unconstitutional. "Proposition 8 served no purpose, and had no effect, other than to lessen the status and human dignity of gays and lesbians in California," the court said. Proposition 8, which passed with 52 percent of the vote in 2008, outlawed same-sex marriages just six months after they became legal in California. Proposition 8 sponsors said they would appeal to the Supreme Court if they did not receive a favorable ruling from the 9th Circuit.

White House: Women 'Deserve' to Have Employers Buy Them Contraceptives

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said this week that American women "deserve" to have their employers buy them health insurance plans that cover contraceptives, sterilizations and abortifacient drugs, even if the employer is a faith-based organization with moral objections to those services, reports. A new regulation in the Affordable Care Act finalized by the Obama administration on Jan. 20 mandates that all healthcare plans in the U.S. cover such medications -- a law that has led to an outcry from faith-based groups about religious liberties and freedom of conscience. "I understand that there have been objections," Carney said. "But I think it's important to note here that we believe these services are important and that American women deserve to have access to that kind of insurance coverage regardless of where they work." A group of Catholic leaders have said they are ready to go to war with Obama. "We cannot -- we will not -- comply with this unjust law," a group of bishops said, and evangelicals have also joined in the battle. "This is not a Catholic issue only," said Michael Anthony Milton of Reformed Theological Seminary. "It is an American issue. ... It is time for Americans to speak up for religious freedom while there is still time."

Iran's Khamenei Calls for Killing of 'All the Jews'

An Iranian website with ties to Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, called Israel a danger to Islam and said the opportunity must not be lost to remove "this corrupting material," according to World Net Daily. Alireza Forghani, an analyst and strategy specialist in Khamenei's camp, laid out the Islamic justification for the destruction of Israel, citing Quran verses in detailing the "duty" of all Muslims to wage jihad and slaughter non-Muslims. Forghani continued: "It is a 'jurisprudential justification' to kill all the Jews and annihilate Israel, and in that, the Islamic government of Iran must take the helm." The article is being run on most state-owned sites, including the Revolutionary Guards' Fars News Agency, indicating the Iranian regime endorses the doctrine. Last week, Khamenei announced that Iran would support any nation or group that attacked the "cancerous tumor" of Israel.

Israeli Intel Chief: 200,000 Missiles Aimed at Israel

According to the Israel Defense Forces intelligence chief Maj. Gen. Aviv Kochavi, more than 200,000 missiles are aimed at every part of the state from caches in Syria and Lebanon, CBN News reports. "Every tenth house in Lebanon is now a weapons depot," Kochavi said last week at the 2012 Herzliya Conference. He said Iran had enough low-grade uranium that, if enriched to a 90-percent level from its current 20-percent level, would be enough for four atomic bombs. "If [Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah] Khamenei issues a command to achieve a first nuclear explosive device, we estimate it would take another year before that's achieved," he said, adding that it was the "duty" of the international community to prevent the Iranian nuclear arms program from "coming together."

Publication date: February 8, 2012