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Religion Today Daily Headlines - December 19, 2012

Religion Today Daily Headlines - December 19, 2012

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

In today's edition:

  • Parents Say Christmas Carols are Form of Bullying
  • Egyptians Take to the Streets to Reject Islamist Constitution
  • Planned Parenthood Election Spending Highly Effective
  • Christian Radio Host Frank Pastore Dies


Parents Say Christmas Carols are Form of Bullying

A group of parents in Missoula, Mont., are upset over the religious nature of Christmas songs performed at a local elementary school -- alleging the songs about Jesus are unconstitutional and a "form of bullying," Fox News reports. The parents are threatening to sue the Missoula County Public School District unless songs like "Joy to the World" and "Good Christian Men Rejoice" are replaced with secular tunes. "Bullying is such a hot topic, yet that seems to be what is occurring here," the parents, whose children attend Chief Charlo Elementary School, wrote in a letter obtained by The Missoulian. "When the children are singing about the lord and savior Jesus Christ -- public school is not the place." The school has a number of students who are Jewish, Buddhist and Muslim, and according to the parents, "one of the largest complaints last year was the young children singing about 'their Lord.'" Superintendent Alex Apostle said he took church and state issues seriously. "These are difficult waters sometimes, and I think we are moving forward in a respectful way," he said. "We as a school system want our children to enjoy the holiday season. In the process, we are obviously respectful of the beliefs and cultures of all children and their families."

Egyptians Take to the Streets to Reject Islamist Constitution

Egypt's opposition is leading mass protests to reject the Islamist-backed draft constitution, days after President Morsi claimed victory in the first round of voting amid allegations of polling violations, International Christian Concern reports. The National Salvation Front, a coalition led by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mohamed ElBaradei, called for mass demonstrations Tuesday to urge rejection of the constitution, which was finalized by the Islamist-dominated constituent assembly after Christians and secular parties had pulled out of it, alleging marginalization. Ten of Egypt's 27 districts cast ballots Saturday, Dec. 15 -- following which the Muslim Brotherhood claimed the constitution was approved by 57 percent of those who voted -- and voting in the remaining governorates is scheduled for this coming weekend. The constitution must be approved by more than 50 percent of voters who cast ballots. According to rights groups, irregularities and violations marred Saturday's voting -- including the presence of Muslim Brotherhood members at the polls, women being prevented from voting because they weren't wearing Islamic veils, and Christians being denied entry to polling stations.

Planned Parenthood Election Spending Highly Effective

The country's top abortion provider received a great return on the money it spent in this year's election, according to an analysis by the Sunlight Foundation, Baptist Press reports. The analysis showed that more than 98 percent of Planned Parenthood Action Fund's spending in election races produced the desired result, making Planned Parenthood No. 1 for effectiveness in the 2012 election cycle. Planned Parenthood, which spent about $15 million in the election, succeeded with a two-part approach, pollsters and strategists told The Washington Post. It used Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's words against him, and it identified about 1 million women voters, mostly in swing states, who were especially open to its message. "Those were the women that we were going to relentlessly target over and over again between June and November," said Dawn Laguens, Planned Parenthood's executive vice president. Planned Parenthood used Romney's opposition to Roe v. Wade and federal funding of Planned Parenthood to influence those voters -- part of a dramatic shift by campaigns and outside groups, which spent $39 million on advertising related to abortion. "There was a huge increase in the number of spots on these issues in 2012 versus 2008," said Ken Goldstein, president of the media tracking company Kantar Media. "Overall, the Democrats aired over six times as many spots on abortion as Republicans."

Christian Radio Host Frank Pastore Dies

Christian radio talk show host Frank Pastore died Monday from injures suffered Nov. 19 in a motorcycle accident on the I-210 freeway in southern California, the Orange County Register reports. Pastore, 55, suffered head trauma after being thrown from his motorcycle, and was flown by helicopter to the hospital, where he remained in a coma. Pastore's three-hour daily afternoon program, "The Frank Pastore Show," had aired on KKLA/99.5 FM since 2004, focusing on social and political issues from a Christian perspective. The show received the prestigious National Religious Broadcasters "Long Form Radio Program of the Year" award in 2011. Pastore, who tells his life story in his book, Shattered: Struck Down But Not Destroyed, was a professional baseball pitcher for the Cincinnati Reds (1979-85) and the Minnesota Twins in 1986, and his testimony about becoming a Christian includes how he was transformed from a "practical atheist" and "evolutionist." Pastore leaves a wife and two children.

Publication date: December 19, 2012