Religion Today Summaries - Nov. 12, 2009

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Nov. 12, 2009

Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:

  • At Fort Hood, Chaplain Aids Grief-Stricken
  • Vatican Keeps Celibacy in Rules on Anglicans
  • Court Pulls over Christian License Plate
  • Minorities in Iraq's North Seen as Threatened

At Fort Hood, Chaplain Aids Grief-Stricken

Baptist Press reports that Army Chaplain (Capt.) Jason Palmer has been working a minimum of 12 hours a day since last Thursday's shooting at Fort Hood. "I personally counseled nine people on Monday, including people who were present at the shooting scene as well as people who carried bodies out of the building and saw them covered with white sheets. We're engaging people as fast as they walk in, but we're getting busier because the families of the deceased are starting to arrive," Palmer said. Many of the 14 victims were preparing to deploy to Afghanistan or Iraq in the next two weeks. "The soldiers are grieving about the loss they've seen with their own eyes," Palmer said. "Some of them had seen loss while deployed in Iraq or Afghanistan, but Fort Hood is supposed to be a safe place, their home. They see this incident as wrong on so many levels. There's a lot of anger."

Vatican Keeps Celibacy in Rules on Anglicans

The New York Times reports that the Vatican has clarified its policy for married Anglican priests who wish to enter the Catholic fold. The Vatican said Monday that the policy did not "signify any change" or soften the celibacy requirement for Catholic priests. Instead, the agreement - meant for Anglicans uncomfortable with the Communion's relaxed stance towards homosexuality and female priests - remains a unique accommodation and part of the church's "commitment to ecumenical dialogue." On Monday, the Vatican said the new structure was "a generous response from the Holy Father to the legitimate aspirations of these Anglican groups." The Anglican Communion has become increasingly divided over issues of orthodoxy, homosexuality, and leadership.

Court Pulls over Christian License Plate

Religion News Service reports that a Christian license plate in South Carolina has been ruled unconstitutional by a federal district court. The license plate showed a cross, stained glass window and the words "I Believe." The ruling overturned the state law known as the "I Believe" Act which gave the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) authority to issue the license plate. U.S. District Judge Cameron McGowan Currie held that "such a law amounts to state endorsement not only of religion in general, but of a specific sect in particular." "Government must never be allowed to play favorites when it comes to religion," said Ayesha N. Khan, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, which brought the legal challenge on behalf of four local clergy, as well as the Hindu American Foundation and the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee.

Minorities in Iraq's North Seen as Threatened

The New York Times reports that minorities in northern Iraq may soon be subject to "another full-blown human rights catastrophe," according to Human Rights Watch. The report criticized the minimal protection offered by Kurdish authorities, noting that minority groups like Assyrian Christians are often targeted by extremist insurgency groups. Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch, said, "When you talk about wiping out a whole community that has been there since antiquity, it's a looming catastrophe." At least 143 died in July and August as a result of bombings aimed at minorities. The report notes that extremists have "struck at the social infrastructure of minority communities, leaving victims and others fearful to carry on with their everyday lives."