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Religion Today Daily Headlines - February 27, 2013

Religion Today Daily Headlines - February 27, 2013

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

In today's edition:

  • Virginia Passes Ban on Campus 'All-Comers' Policies
  • C. Everett Koop, Surgeon General Who Taught Evangelicals to Hate Abortion, Dies at 96
  • Atheist Group Formed at Christian University Seeking Official Recognition
  • Burned Church Latest in String of Tanzanian Attacks


Virginia Passes Ban on Campus 'All-Comers' Policies

The Virginia state legislature passed a measure giving college student groups the right to grant membership only to those who share their beliefs and mission, CBN News reports. The bill is meant to ban universities from instituting an "all-comers" policy that forces religious groups to admit members who don't share their faith. Last year, Tennessee's Vanderbilt University created an uproar with a nondiscrimination policy that forbade student ministries from restricting their leadership to Christians only; Virginia legislators said they wanted to keep that from happening in their state. The bill now awaits the signature of Gov. Bob McDonnell.

C. Everett Koop, Surgeon General Who Taught Evangelicals to Hate Abortion, Dies at 96

C. Everett Koop, the Christian physician and former U.S. Surgeon General who brought abortion to the forefront of evangelical social action, died Feb. 25 at age 96, Christianity Today reports. Together with theologian Francis Schaeffer, Koop -- a pioneering pediatric surgeon -- exposed the issues of abortion and euthanasia in a series of films and books in the early 1980s. Their arguments began the movement against abortion that continues within American evangelicalism today. A graduate of Dartmouth College, Cornell Medical College and the University of Pennsylvania, Koop established the first neonatal surgical intensive care unit and was the first surgeon to separate twins conjoined at the heart. "Operating on newborns with life-threatening birth defects, spending nights at the bedside of a sick or dying child, and consoling bereaved parents gained Koop acclaim as a pioneering surgeon and empathetic healer, and led him to reexamine his Christian faith and the ethical implications of medical procedures, above all abortion and euthanasia," according to the National Institutes of Health. Koop continued to speak out on abortion as recently as 2009, when he wrote and hand-delivered a letter to Congress to voice his opposition to proposed federal funding for the procedure.

Atheist Group Formed at Christian University Seeking Official Recognition

An atheist group that recently formed at a Christian university in Texas has filed an application to obtain official recognition on campus, the Christian News Network reports. "Freethinking Frogs" was formed at Texas Christian University by 32-year-old transfer student Alexis Lohse and is named after the university's mascot, the horned frog. Lohse said she wanted to create a club that was agnostic and secular, where students could have a place to challenge religion. "I saw that there wasn't any support system for students who don't have a particular faith," she said. "And that's in stark contrast to the vast number of religiously affiliated organizations available to students. So I thought it might be a good group to set up." TCU has approximately 20 groups on campus, which range from Protestant and Catholic clubs to Jewish and Muslim organizations. "I think this is another option for those students who may be exploring," Lohse said. So far, the group has over 30 members on its Facebook page and has held a couple of meetings for students. University officials have acknowledged receipt of Freethinking Frogs' application for official recognition, and say they will soon make a decision on the matter.

Burned Church Latest in String of Tanzanian Attacks

Arsonists burned a Tanzania church Feb. 19 in the semi-autonomous region of Zanzibar, two days after gunmen killed a Catholic priest there, World Watch Monitor reports. The Evangelical Church of Siloam was set afire early Feb. 19 by an as-yet-unidentified group of people, police spokesman Mohamed Mhina said. No one was hurt and the fire was extinguished, he said. Two days earlier, on Sunday, a Catholic priest was killed by armed men in the Motni area, in the urban west end of the island. The incidents are the latest in a string of attacks on church leaders and Christian property across the country. In recent months, violence against the tiny Christian minority has been increasing.

Publication date: February 27, 2013