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Religion Today Daily Headlines - February 11, 2013

Religion Today Daily Headlines - February 11, 2013

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

In today's edition:

  • Obama Administration's Increased Use of Drones Under Scrutiny
  • Seven Million Will Lose Health Insurance Under Obamacare
  • Push for Assisted Suicide Comes to Connecticut
  • Family Research Council Shooter Pleads Guilty to Terrorism


Obama Administration's Increased Use of Drones Under Scrutiny

The Obama administration's use of drone strikes is under heightened scrutiny after the country learned that the federal government considers it legal to use drones to kill Americans overseas if an informed, high-level official believes the citizen poses an imminent threat, CBN News reports. An unclassified Justice Department memo, leaked last week, shows that no clear evidence is needed. The country also learned last week that America launches drones from a secret base in Saudi Arabia, and since Obama took office in 2009, the use of drones has grown 700 percent. Human rights and civil liberties groups have protested the process for targeting terror suspects, especially U.S. citizens. "That justifies essentially a claim that the Executive Branch can be judge, jury and executioner," said Hina Shamsi, director of the American Civil Liberties Union's National Security Project. The controversy is illustrated in the case of Anwar al-Awlaki -- an American citizen but also a top al Qaeda leader linked to several terror attacks -- who was killed in an unmanned U.S. drone strike in Yemen in 2011. Many in the military believe drone strikes will continue to grow in importance but that more thoughtful debate about their use is needed.

Seven Million Will Lose Health Insurance Under Obamacare

President Obama's health care plan will push nearly 7 million people out of their employer-provided health insurance coverage -- nearly twice the previous estimate, according to a new report from the Congressional Budget Office, the Washington Times reports. The CBO said this year's tax cuts had changed the incentives for businesses, making it less attractive to pay for insurance. More businesses will instead choose to pay a penalty to the government, totaling $13 billion in higher fees over the next decade. Overall, the new health provisions are expected to cost the government $1.165 trillion over the next decade.

Push for Assisted Suicide Comes to Connecticut

A push for the legalization of physician-assisted suicide is under way in at least three Northeastern states, including Connecticut, where proponents say they see strong support for allowing doctors to prescribe lethal medication to terminally ill patients, the Boston Globe reports. Lawmakers in New Jersey and Vermont are also considering similar legislation. In Connecticut, which has banned the practice since 1969, at least two bills on the issue have been proposed so far in this year's legislative session, and a group of lawmakers said last week that the first public hearing on the subject would likely be held later this month. If the state's General Assembly votes to legalize the practice, it would be the first state legislature to do so. Oregon and Washington have passed "right-to-die" laws, but they did so through voter referendums, and Montana's Supreme Court has ruled that assisted suicide could be considered part of medical treatments. Thirty-four states prohibit assisted suicide outright, and seven others, including Massachusetts, banned it through legal precedent. Opponents of physician-assisted suicide say the initiatives in Connecticut are being pushed by outside groups, such as Compassion & Choices. "There's no grassroots cry for assisted suicide in the state of Connecticut," said Peter Wolfgang of the conservative Family Institute. "This is mostly an out-of-state organization that has targeted the state of Connecticut. They look at the Northeast and think this is low-hanging fruit: 'We can conduct our social experiments here in the northeastern United States.'"

Family Research Council Shooter Pleads Guilty to Terrorism

Floyd Lee Corkins II, the man who opened fire at the Family Research Council headquarters in August 2012, has pleaded guilty to three felony charges, including a terrorism offense, Christianity Today reports. According to a press statement from the U.S. Department of Justice, "Corkins ... pled guilty in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to charges of committing an act of terrorism while armed, assault with intent to kill while armed, and interstate transportation of a firearm and ammunition." He will be sentenced on April 29. It is the first time anyone has been convicted of committing an act of terrorism with "intent to 'intimidate or coerce a significant portion of the civilian population of the District of Columbia or the United States.'" The DOJ also reported that Corkins specifically targeted the FRC in his attack, consulting a Southern Poverty Law Center list of organizations that oppose homosexuality.

Publication date: February 11, 2013