Religion Today Daily Headlines - July 13, 2012

Religion Today Daily Headlines - July 13, 2012

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

In today's edition:

  • Bible Museum Planned for Washington, D.C.
  • State Department Defends Decision Not to Designate Boko Haram a Terrorist Organization
  • Complaint Prompts University to Investigate Professor's Study Showing Trouble with Kids of Gays
  • Colorado Springs Residents Raise Money for Wildfire Victims


Bible Museum Planned for Washington, D.C.

A large-scale Bible museum will open in Washington, D.C., within four years, say planners who have been touring the world with portions of their collections, the Religion News Service reports. Cary Summers, chief operating officer of The Museum of the Bible, a nonprofit umbrella group for the collection of the billionaire Green family of Oklahoma, said they considered Washington, Dallas and New York but decided the nation's capital was the best location after research found the general population was more willing to drive there than the other two cities, Summers said. The final name of the museum and its exact location have not been disclosed but planners hope to confirm a location later this summer. Steve Green, president of the Hobby Lobby arts and crafts chain and a Southern Baptist, said the museum would feature the history, contents and influence of the Bible but would leave it up to visitors to decide whether to believe it. "When we present the evidence, I think it's going to be compelling for somebody to say, 'Wow, this is a compelling book. I might want to consider what it has to say,'" he said.

State Department Defends Decision Not to Designate Boko Haram a Terrorist Organization

The State Department's top official for Africa this week defended the decision not to designate Boko Haram as a "foreign terrorist organization" (FTO) -- but then used the term "terrorist organization" in reference to the Nigerian Islamist group, reports. A Nigerian Christian leader criticized the move, saying failure to designate Boko Haram as an FTO emboldened the group and signaled that its targeting of Christians was acceptable. The administration on June 21 listed three Boko Haram leaders as "specially designated global terrorists" (SDGTs) but stopped short of listing the group as an FTO under U.S. law, a step some Republican lawmakers have been urging. Appearing before a House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on Tuesday, Johnnie Carson of the Bureau of African Affairs spoke about the decision. Questioned by Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.), Carson said most members of Boko Haram were only interested in discrediting the government -- then said the group's "emergence as a terrorist organization" was irrespective of whether there was a Christian or Muslim leader in the country and that there would be a "reaction" as long as "the social, economic problems exist in the North." Smith disagreed with Carson's assessment, saying Boko Haram had "at its core a radical Islamic position." Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for much of the ongoing violence in Nigeria, which has increasingly taken the form of an anti-Christian jihad in the group's campaign to promote sharia (Islamic law) and oppose "Western education."

Complaint Prompts University to Investigate Professor's Study Showing Trouble with Kids of Gays

Allegations of "scientific misconduct" have prompted the University of Texas to investigate a professor's study that found children are negatively affected by having gay parents, reports. The study, authored by sociology professor Mark Regnerus and published last month in the journal Social Science Researchfound that adults with gay parents tended to report lower economic and relational success and were more likely to have mental health issues. After New York City freelance writer Scott Rosensweig, who uses the byline Scott Rose to write about LGBT issues for a blog called "The New Civil Rights Movement," sent a letter of complaint to UT president Bill Powers on June 21, the university began an inquiry of Regnerus' study. Rosensweig alleged that Regnerus had committed "scientific misconduct" because he had created "a study designed so as to be guaranteed to make gay people look bad, through means plainly fraudulent and defamatory." Regnerus declined to comment on the inquiry but said his study followed the standard protocol of scholarly research. If the panel of UT professors conducting the inquiry decides Regnerus' work constitutes scientific misconduct -- defined by the university as "fabrication, falsification or plagiarism" and "practices that seriously deviate from ethical standards" -- Provost Steven Leslie would decide how the administration would proceed.

Colorado Springs Residents Raise Money for Wildfire Victims

At least half a million dollars has been raised by the residents of Colorado Springs to help the victims of the Waldo Canyon Fire, WORLD News Service reports. Almost $300,000 of the total came from a July 4 benefit concert and telethon featuring the Colorado Springs Philharmonic with appearances by the Flying W Wranglers, Michael Martin Murphey and Flash Cadillac. Colorado Springs-based Focus on the Family was a major sponsor of the event. Murphey, a country singer-songwriter who lives in the Colorado Springs area, regularly does benefits for farmers and ranchers in the western U.S. whenever there are floods, fires and droughts.

Publication date: July 13, 2012