Religion Today Daily Headlines - July 2, 2012

Religion Today Daily Headlines - July 2, 2012


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

In today's edition:

  • Poll: Americans Split on Supreme Court Health Care Ruling
  • Christian Legislator in Pakistan Stuck With Muslim ID
  • Lesbian Couple Sues Catholic Hospital for Marriage Benefits
  • Sudanese Authorities Demolish Two Church Buildings

Poll: Americans Split on Supreme Court Health Care Ruling

(RNS)--The Supreme Court's nearly split decision on the new health care law is mirrored by the American public, according to a new survey. On Thursday (June 28) the high court upheld most of the Affordable Care Act, a massive health care overhaul often considered President Obama's signal legislative achievement. A poll taken days before the high court's ruling found that 43 percent of Americans said the court should not overturn the law, and 35 percent hoped it would. The Public Religion Research Institute poll also found that one in five Americans (21 percent) had no opinion on what the court should do. This shows, said Robert Jones, PRRI's CEO, "that many Americans simply may not know what it would mean for the law to be upheld or overturned." More than half of white evangelicals (52 percent) favored overturning the law. White mainline Protestants were more divided, with 44 percent favoring an overturn and 34 percent opposed. Among Catholics, 46 percent hoped the law would be left in place and 36 percent wanted the Supreme Court to reject it.

Christian Legislator in Pakistan Stuck With Muslim ID

(CDN) -- Pakistan’s rigid system of prohibiting Muslims from changing their religion status on their national ID cards nearly cost a Punjab politician his post – even though he has always been a Christian. Rana Asif Mahmood’s political opponents in April sought to disqualify him from the Punjab Provincial Assembly seat reserved for minorities on grounds that the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) identified him as a Muslim. Mahmood said that NADRA had mistakenly identified him as a Muslim because of his name and then refused to rectify the error. The mistake not only cost Mahmood a cabinet position but also his part in proposing the provincial budget for 2012-13, he said. The law establishing NADRA prohibits Muslims from changing the religion column on their Computerized National Identity Card (CNIC), though non-Muslims can easily obtain such changes – especially if they are converting to Islam.

Lesbian Couple Sues Catholic Hospital for Marriage Benefits

A lesbian couple has filed a lawsuit that could impact religious liberty in at least six states, WORLD News Service reports. The lawsuit, filed June 19 in New York, targets St. Joseph's Medical Canter -- a Catholic hospital in Westchester -- and Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield, the private company that insures it. The two women, named as Jane Doe and Jane Roe in the lawsuit, were legally married after the New York legislature created same-sex marriage last year, and now they want family health insurance coverage. "I remember almost a year ago when this bill was signed into law, we were told that it would have no impact on religious freedoms," said Rev. Jason McGuire, executive director of New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms. "Less than a year later it's very clear that gay marriage is indeed having an impact on religious freedom here in the Empire State." The attorney for the lesbian women, Jeffrey Norton, said of the case: "Our clients have a right to enjoy the full benefits of marriage afforded to other married couples in New York, and we are determined to achieve that right for them."

Sudanese Authorities Demolish Two Church Buildings

Compass Direct News reports that authorities in Khartoum demolished two church buildings last week, days after confiscating three Catholic schools, sources told Compass. Officials from the Ministry of Planning and Housing of the local government authority on June 18 sent bulldozers that destroyed a church building belonging to the St. John Episcopal Church of Sudan, in the Haj Yousif area, an area source reported by email. A Catholic church building in the area was also demolished the same day. Clergymen said persecution was intensifying following the secession of South Sudan in July 2011, with officials targeting churches they claim to be associated with now unwelcome, largely Christian southern Sudanese in the Islamic-ruled country. Christian support organization Open Doors reported that the churches were targeted on the pretext that southern Sudanese had attended services, and that since they had presumably left, the buildings were no longer necessary.

Publication date: July 1, 2012