Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today’s edition:
Rare Bipartisan Support for Workplace Religious Freedom Act
Bill Wilson, Family News in Focus
A diverse group in Congress believes that’s no one should be forced to choose between their job and their faith. That’s the impetus behind the Workplace Religious Freedom Act (WRFA). Congressman Mark Souder (Rep., IN) said, “Religious freedom can be accommodated, but often just because of an unwillingness to accommodate, it isn’t accommodated in America. And that’s very counter to the basic premise of why so many people came to America.” The bill would require companies to allow the religious expression of workers. Congressman Chris Van Hollen (Dem., MD) said, “I don’t think it's too much to ask employers to make reasonable accommodations. But this is something that unites us and stands for the basic principle that our founders set forth in the Constitution.” Dr. Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention says religious freedom is not part-time: “Americans should not have to check the freedom to exercise their faith at the door of their workplace. The first of our freedoms, guaranteed by the Bill of Rights, is in need of defending in our day.” WRFA is expected to be debated next year. Broad support exists in both House and Senate.
Two More Schoolgirls Critically Injured in Indonesia
Unidentified assailants yesterday shot two senior high school students in Indonesia’s Poso district, Central Sulawesi, just 10 days after the beheading of three Christian teenage girls. Ivon, so far identified only by her first name, and Siti Nuraini, both 17 years old, were admitted to Poso Kota general hospital in critical condition last night, according to a Jakarta Post report. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has called on security forces to hunt down the perpetrators. Indonesians are skeptical, however, citing numerous violent crimes in Poso that remain unsolved. Christian leaders in the region have united to ask President Yudhoyono to personally handle the investigation into the recent murders.
Christian Musicians Support Alive Hospice
As Alive Hospice - Middle Tennessee’s oldest, largest and most comprehensive hospice program - celebrates its 30th Anniversary, numerous celebrities are contributing limited-edition holiday ornaments and note cards. Featured items include angel drawings by Amy Grant, Kenny Chesney, LeAnn Rimes, Point of Grace, Peyton Manning, and Governor Bredesen. Each celebrity illustrated an angel in honor of the theme, “Angels of Alive Hospice – Friends for Life.” The theme reflects the hospice’s sentiments toward every individual who has touched the non-profit through the years. “In reflecting on the past thirty years, our patients and families, supporters, caregivers and volunteers have truly been angels,” said Pam Brown, VP of Community Development. The products are available online at www.alivehospice.org. All proceeds will benefit Alive Hospice and are available while supplies last.
Belmont University to End Formal Ties with Tennessee Baptists
Associated Baptist Press
Nashville’s 4,000-student Belmont University has decided not to remain affiliated with the Tennessee Baptist Convention, which helped found the school in 1952. School officials informed convention leaders that Belmont intends to elect its own trustees -- a move taken by many colleges nationwide seeking more freedom from sponsoring Baptist bodies. Leaders from Belmont and the convention are not calling the move a severing of ties. In fact, Belmont expressed a desire to continue a “fraternal” relationship with the state convention. However, after Nov. 1, the school does not expect to receive any further budget support from the convention. A "Resolution of Relationship" defining the new arrangement is expected to be presented to the Tennessee Baptist Convention for approval during its annual meeting Nov 15-16. If messengers approve the resolution, it in effect ends all affiliate ties to Belmont. Belmont president Bob Fisher declined comment.