Religion Today Daily Headlines - July 17, 2012

Religion Today Daily Headlines - July 17, 2012

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

In today's edition:

  • UK Hotel Replaces Gideon Bibles with Pornographic Novel 'Fifty Shades of Grey'
  • Obama Administration Directly Funds Planned Parenthood
  • Syrian Christians Evacuated From Bombed-Out City of Homs
  • European Parliament Resolution Strongly Condemns Forced Abortion in China


UK Hotel Replaces Gideon Bibles with Pornographic Novel 'Fifty Shades of Grey'

The bestselling erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey by British author E.L. James may be outpacing the Bible in popularity, as one British hotel manager has decided to replace Gideon Bibles traditionally stocked in guest rooms for copies of the book, the Christian Post reports. Wayne Bartholomew, general manager of Damson Dene Hotel in Cumbria, Northwest England, said he got the idea after a discussion with fans on Facebook. "Fifty Shades of Grey is all that people are talking about at the moment, but I know that some are too shy to buy it for themselves," he said. "I thought it would be a special treat for our guests to find it in their bedside cabinet, and that includes the men. They are as desperate to get their hands on a copy as are the women." The Daily Mail reported that there was "outrage" over Bartholomew's decision in relegating copies of the Bible to the front desk, but reactions from the more than 3,200 fans of the hotel's official Facebook page have been mixed.

Obama Administration Directly Funds Planned Parenthood

The Obama administration has again circumvented state or local governments to fund the country's leading abortion provider, Baptist Press reports. Planned Parenthood Greater Memphis (Tenn.) will receive nearly $1.2 million from the Department of Health and Human Services during the next three years, a move that comes after the Tennessee legislature eliminated more than $700,000 in state funds for the Memphis Planned Parenthood affiliate and Shelby County transferred a nearly $400,000 family planning contract to another entity, according to the Nashville Tennessean. Last year, New Hampshire barred Planned Parenthood of Northern New Hampshire's six state clinics from receiving $1.8 million in federal and state family planning funds, but the Obama administration granted a $1 million contract to the organization three months later. Federal family planning funds may not be used for the performance of abortions, but pro-life advocates point out the government grants free up other funds for use in Planned Parenthood's abortion business. The Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) and its affiliates received government grants, contracts and reimbursements that totaled $487.4 million in 2009-10, the latest year for which statistics are available. PPFA's affiliates reported their clinics did 329,445 abortions in 2010.

Syrian Christians Evacuated From Bombed-Out City of Homs

Residents trapped in Christian neighborhoods in Syria's bombed-out city of Homs were evacuated last week after an agreement between army and rebel forces, Christianity Today reports. Between Tuesday and Wednesday, more than 60 people -- most identified as Christians -- were taken to safety. Christians have been increasingly caught in the middle of clashes between the Syrian army and rebels, and thousands have already fled Homs to a nearby area known as the "Valley of Christians." Though they have been criticized for it, many Syrian Christians have continued to stand behind President Bashar al-Assad's regime out of fears of greater persecution should a hard-line Islamist group come to power.

European Parliament Resolution Strongly Condemns Forced Abortion in China

The European Parliament has adopted a resolution strongly condemning forced abortions and sterilizations under China's one-child policy, including the forced abortion at seven months of Feng Jianmei last month in China's Shaanxi Province, WORLD News Service reports. The resolution "strongly condemns the decision to force Ms. Feng to have an abortion and condemns the practice of forced abortions and sterilizations globally, especially in the context of the one-child policy." It further states that "the EU has provided, and still provides, funds for organizations involved in family planning policies in China" and "urges the Commission to ensure that its funding of projects does not breach" the European Parliament's commitment against coercive population control.

Publication date: July 17, 2012