Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- Supreme Court Will Hear Gay Marriage Cases
- Egypt's Morsi Rescinds Power Decree, But Opposition Calls It a 'Stunt'
- Violence Against Christians Moves Nigeria to No. 7 on List of Terror-Affected Nations
- California Episcopal Church Under Fire for Hosting Muslim Convention
Supreme Court Will Hear Gay Marriage Cases
The U.S. Supreme Court will take up California's ban on same-sex marriage, a case that could give the justices the chance to rule on whether gay Americans have the constitutional right to marry, the Associated Press reports. The justices said Friday they would review a federal appeals court ruling that struck down the state's gay marriage ban. The San Francisco-based appeals court said the state could not take away the same-sex marriage right that had been granted by California's Supreme Court. The court will also review a provision of the federal Defense of Marriage Act that limits a range of health and pension benefits to heterosexual couples. The cases will probably be argued in March, with decisions expected by late June. Gay marriage is legal, or will be soon, in nine states -- Connecticut, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont, Washington -- and the District of Columbia.
Egypt's Morsi Rescinds Power Decree, But Opposition Calls It a 'Stunt'
Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi has canceled his decree giving himself sweeping powers, but plans to push forward with the planned Dec. 15 referendum on a draft constitution, CNN reports. The announcement came after Morsi met with other political leaders in Cairo on Saturday -- despite calls by the opposition to boycott the meeting -- in an attempt to end the violence and unrest that erupted following his Nov. 22 power grab. Opponents of Morsi criticized the announcement: Human rights lawyer Gamal Eid said it was a "play on words" since Morsi had already achieved the desired aim of finalizing the draft constitution and protecting it from judicial challenge, and writer and activist Bassem Sabry called it a "stunt" that would embarrass Morsi's opposition but not resolve the problem. "In the end, Morsi got everything he wanted," Sabry said. "He protected the constituent assembly, the draft constitution and rammed into a referendum when people will have no time to study it against what he had promised before, which is that the document won't be put into a referendum without sufficient national consensus."
Violence Against Christians Moves Nigeria to No. 7 on List of Terror-Affected Nations
Boko Haram's violent jihad against Christians in Nigeria pushed the country into seventh place in annual rankings of countries impacted by terrorism, fueling more calls for the State Department to reconsider its decision not to designate the Islamist group as a foreign terrorist organization, CNSNews.com reports. Nigeria's ranking in the latest Global Terrorism Index, released this week, marked a shift from 12th place a year ago, from 16th place in 2008 and from 30th place in 2005. The top six countries this year are Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, India, Yemen and Somalia. Produced by the Institute for Economics and Peace, the index is calculated based on the number of terrorist incidents, the number of deaths, the number of casualties and the level of property damage. The newly-published rankings relate to 2011, a year during which 168 terror attacks were recorded in Nigeria, accounting for 437 deaths and 614 injuries. This year, however, has already witnessed more than 700 Nigerian Christian deaths in Boko Haram-related violence, according to the Christian Association of Nigerian-Americans (CANAN), and the coming Christmas holiday could bring more, if past years are a guide.
California Episcopal Church Under Fire for Hosting Muslim Convention
Leaders of an Episcopal church in Pasadena, Calif., have come under fire for their decision to host the annual convention of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, the Washington Post reports. All Saints Church has received dozens of emails accusing it of condoning terrorism for hosting MPAC's 12th annual convention on Dec. 15, the first ever held in a Christian church. Ryan Mauro, national security analyst at RadicalIslam.org, wrote that MPAC -- which was founded by Muslim Brotherhood followers -- was "taking advantage of naive Christians," adding that Islamists sought to create an "interfaith bloc" to defend them from critics. Mauro, who also cited MPAC statements condemning Israel in the wake of the recent Israel-Hamas conflict, quoted MPAC as saying the partnership with All Saints was the "next step in its mission by crossing the interfaith line." All Saints rector Edwin J. Bacon Jr. said the emails criticizing the church's decision to host the conference were unexpected. "We've received so much joy and reinforcement from living an interreligious life, so we simply hadn't been aware this would cause offense for some people," he said. Salam Al-Marayati, MPAC's president, said the criticism had given the conference so much free publicity that part of the marketing budget would be transferred to provide extra security.
Publication date: December 10, 2012