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Religion Today Daily Headlines - August 16, 2012

Religion Today Daily Headlines - August 16, 2012

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

In today's edition:

  • Security Guard Shot at Pro-Life Group's D.C. Headquarters
  • Poll Shows Atheism on the Rise in the U.S.
  • Davidson College Suspends Chick-fil-A at Student Events
  • Loans, Debt Surging for Seminary Students


Security Guard Shot at Pro-Life Group's D.C. Headquarters

A security guard was shot Wednesday morning at the D.C. headquarters of the pro-life group Family Research Council, according to the Associated Press. A source reported that a man posing as an intern shot the guard in the arm at approximately 10:50 a.m., and a Metropolitan Police Department spokesperson confirmed one suspect had been taken into custody in connection with the shooting. The security guard, conscious and breathing after the shooting, was transported to a local hospital. FRC president Tony Perkins said in statement: "The police are investigating this incident. Our first concern is with our colleague who was shot today. Our concern is for him and his family." A motive for the shooting is unclear, but according to a Fox News report, "a suspect walked in and started yelling about things [FRC] supported [and] opened fire."

Poll Shows Atheism on the Rise in the U.S.

Religiosity is on the decline in the U.S. and atheism is on the rise, according to a new worldwide poll, the Religion News Service reports. The poll, called "The Global Index of Religiosity and Atheism," found that the number of Americans who say they are "religious" dropped from 73 percent in 2005 (the last time the poll was conducted) to 60 percent. At the same time, the number of Americans who say they are atheists rose from 1 percent to 5 percent. "The obvious implications is that this is a manifestation of the New Atheism movement," said Ryan Cragun, a University of Tampa sociologist of religion who studies American and global atheism. Still, Cragun does not believe the poll shows more people are becoming atheists, but rather that more people are willing to identify as atheists. "For a very long time, religiosity has been a central characteristic of the American identity," he said. "But what this suggests is that is changing and people are feeling less inclined to identify as religious to comply with what it means to be a good person in the U.S."

Davidson College Suspends Chick-fil-A at Student Events

Davidson College in North Carolina announced this week that it will suspend Chick-fil-A meals at student events until students later decide about doing business with the fast-food chain, the News & Record reports. The Davidson College Union Board, a group of students that organizes activities, usually serves Chick-fil-A sandwiches once or twice a year at its monthly "After Midnight" events, which offer students free food and entertainment until 2 a.m. However, following statements by Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy in support of traditional marriage, members of the Union Board decided to get students' input about serving Chick-fil-A before scheduling sandwiches for an event this year. The board will then discuss the situation and make a decision at one of its meetings early in the semester.

Loans, Debt Surging for Seminary Students

Today's budding pastors and theologians are entering and exiting seminary with more debt than ever before, according to new research from the Center for the Study of Theological Education at Auburn Theological Seminary, Christianity Today reports. The number of Master of Divinity graduates who borrow money is surging, as well as the total size of their loans. Debts of $30,000 to $80,000 are now common -- with little hope of a high-wage job to repay them, as a clergyman's average yearly wage last year was $44,140. Those who acquire substantial debt before seminary may be "too poor to take the vow of poverty," according to Georgetown University's Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, which found that many seminaries have turned away candidates due to educational debt.

Publication date: August 16, 2012