Religion Today Daily Headlines - April 15, 2013

Religion Today Daily Headlines - April 15, 2013

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

In today's edition:

  • Libya Releases Four Egyptian Christians from Prison
  • Philadelphia Abortion Clinic: Workers Recount Horrors
  • In New Budget, Obama Cuts Abstinence Education Funds

Libya Releases Four Egyptian Christians from Prison

Libya released four Egyptian Christians from prison on Thursday, the ICC reports. The prisoners had spent more than a month in jail, accused of proselytizing. Egypt’s state news agency MENA said the authorities dropped the charges. The release comes after Egypt extradited two members of our Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi’s regime earlier in the month. Last month, Egyptian judicial sources told Reuters Egypt was seeking to swap the Libyans with the Egyptian Copts. Libya’s small Christian community has expressed fears over Islamist extremism as the government struggles to impose its authority over armed groups. Christians there are persecuted by both the government and radical Islamists.  

Philadelphia Abortion Clinic: Workers Recount Horrors

Dr. Kermit Gosnell has been charged with killing a female patient and seven babies allegedly born alive at his abortion clinic in inner-city Philadelphia, CBN reports. If convicted, he could face the death penalty. In a case that has gone virtually unreported by major media outlets, eight former employees have already pleaded guilty, some to third-degree murder. They've testified about the bizarre and often chaotic practices at the clinic, including some of the horrific things they witnessed. One employee said she saw aborted babies move at least twice. Another said she snipped the spines of at least 10 babies. Gosnell's former lawyer, Bill Brennan, says the trial will take some time. "Between the death penalty, length of service and the abortion issue -- yeah, and when you factor in that it got international attention when it broke, it's going be a long, difficult process," Brennan said.

In New Budget, Obama Cuts Abstinence Education Funds

In the budget he delivered yesterday to Capitol Hill, President Barack Obama axed funds for sexual risk avoidance (SRA) education, even though research shows these programs can help curb the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, WORLD reports. The president also redirected funds away from avoidance education and towards sex-ed programs that emphasize contraception. In a statement, the National Abstinence Education Association (NAEA) said moving the money violates a 2010 congressional mandate to give states $50 million in Title V grants for SRA education. Currently, the ratio of federal funding for contraceptive-based sex education and abstinence-based programs is 16:1, respectively. Opponents of abstinence education criticize it as unrealistic and ineffective, assuming teens will choose to be sexually active. Consequently, they advocate for “safe sex” education instead.

But SRA programs teach students more than just the wisdom of abstinence. They also learn other practical skills, like how to identify healthy relationships, avoid unwanted sexual advances, avoid STDs, and understand contraception. Since the president delivered his budget more than two months late, it isn’t clear how significantly it will affect the legislative process.