Religion Today Daily Headlines - February 12, 2013

Religion Today Daily Headlines - February 12, 2013

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

In today's edition:

  • Pope Benedict to Resign at the End of February, Vatican Says
  • Botched Late-Term Abortion Leaves Mother Dead
  • NAACP Threatens Black Pro-Life Advocate
  • Gay Conversion Panel a First at United Nations


Pope Benedict to Resign at the End of February, Vatican Says

Pope Benedict will resign on February 28 "because of advanced age," his spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said today, CNN reports. It's the first time a pope has resigned in nearly 600 years. Benedict, 85, was elected pope in 2005 after the death of Pope John Paul II, the third-longest-serving leader of the Catholic Church. Benedict, the 265th pope and the sixth German to serve as pope, has led the Catholic Church during a time in which the church is declining in his native Europe but expanding in Africa and Latin America. His papacy has also been marked with a series of scandals and controversies, including hundreds of new allegations of sexual abuse by priests. After Benedict's resignation becomes effective on February 28, cardinals will meet to choose a new leader for the church. 

Botched Late-Term Abortion Leaves Mother Dead

Operation Rescue reports a 29-year-old woman died Feb. 7 after Maryland abortionist LeRoy Carhart botched her third-trimester abortion, according to WORLD News Service. Citing an anonymous source, the group says the woman, who was 33 weeks pregnant, arrived from out of state and was seen entering Carhart's facility, the Germantown Reproductive Health Center in Germantown, Md., every day between Sunday and Wednesday. The morning of Feb. 7, the woman began having chest pains and was unable to reach Carhart for help. Her family took her to a local hospital around 5 a.m. and she died about 9:30 a.m., having suffered massive internal hemorrhaging. The Maryland medical examiner is currently reviewing the case. Carhart is also associated with the 2005 death of Christin Gilbert, a 19-year-old girl with Down syndrome who died after undergoing a third-trimester abortion performed by Carhart at a facility in Wichita, Kan., where he worked at the time. Pro-life advocates plan to hold a prayer vigil near Carhart's Maryland facility on Monday.

NAACP Threatens Black Pro-Life Advocate

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People has threatened to sue a black man for, in his words, "trying to save black babies," WORLD News Service reports. But Ryan Bomberger, a child conceived in rape and now the chief creative officer of The Radiance Foundation, isn’t bowing to the pressure. In fact, just the opposite: Last Friday, Bomberger filed his own lawsuit against the historic civil rights organization. "It is ironic that a black man is being sued by the nation's oldest civil rights group for exercising his most basic civil right — the freedom of speech," said Bomberger, who often refers to the organization as the "National Association for the Abortion of Colored People." In addition to filing the lawsuit, he also called the NAACP's priorities into question. "Our inner cities are crumbling, two-parent married families barely exist, 72.3 percent of our children are born into homes without fathers, and the NAACP wants to silence me for pointing out its support of abortion," he said. According to Bomberger, 60 percent of viable black pregnancies end in aborting in New York City, the home of NARAL and Planned Parenthood — meaning more black babies are aborted in the New York City area than are born alive. Bomberger, an adoptee and adoptive father, created the website as a public ad campaign to "expose the eugenic racism that gave birth to Planned Parenthood and the tragic alliance that exists between the nation’s oldest civil rights group and the nation’s abortion giant." He said on his website: "The Radiance Foundation has no intentions of being silenced by those who disagree with the facts."

Gay Conversion Panel a First at United Nations

Religious leaders and mental health and human rights advocates have convened a panel at the United Nations to discuss the efficacy of gay conversion therapy, Baptist Press reports. Panel co-organizer Bruce Knotts, director of the Unitarian Universalist United Nations Office, expressed hope it would be the first of many official discussions on the controversial treatment. Reports indicated most speakers at the event were against the therapy, but a letter was read from an ex-gay man who wrote that the therapy saved his life. "Let's make sexual orientation change efforts better and more responsible, but please don't eliminate it," he wrote. The treatment to help patients abandon the homosexual lifestyle has supporters and opponents in the United States, where California enacted legislation in 2012 outlawing the therapy among minors there -- the first state to do so. However, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has placed the California law on hold until the court can hear full arguments on the issue. Christian supporters of the practice cite a biblically-based belief that homosexual behavior can be overcome, and some research does support the belief. At the U.N. panel, Jack Drescher, a psychoanalyst and member of the American Psychiatric Association, said any real debate about the treatment was cultural, not clinical.

Publication date: February 12, 2013