Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- Anti-Religion Group Blasts Teen Valedictorian's Prayer
- Egypt: Christian Newspaper Accused of Insulting Islam
- NFL Player Rejects White House Visit Over Obama's Support of Abortion
- Emergency Contraception: 'It'll Be Like Buying Tylenol'
Anti-Religion Group Blasts Teen Valedictorian's Prayer
The Freedom From Religion Foundation blasted what it called the "open defiance" of a valedictorian who delivered the Lord's Prayer during a high school graduation ceremony last Saturday in South Carolina, Todd Starnes reports. Roy Costner, a senior at Liberty High School in Pickens, created national attention when he ripped up his pre-approved graduation speech and instead led the crowd in a recitation of the Lord's Prayer. A video of the speech was posted on YouTube and has since gone viral. It shows the 18-year-old setting aside his speech and saying, "I think most of you will understand when I say, 'Our Father, who art in heaven...'" As the crowd cheered, he concluded his remarks by pointing to the sky and saying, "For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, forever and ever. Amen." A school district spokesperson said the valedictorian will not be penalized for what he did, and Costner said he has absolutely no regrets. "I'm happy with what I did," he said. "I want this to glorify God. I want to use this as a witnessing tool and I hope others will stand up for God in our nation." As for his critics, Costner quoted a passage of Scripture from the Gospel of Matthew. "If you deny me among men, I will deny you to the Father," he said. He also had a special message to the Freedom From Religion Foundation: "We are not in a country where we have freedom from religion. We have freedom of religion."
Egypt: Christian Newspaper Accused of Insulting Islam
The chief editor of a Cairo-based Christian newspaper called The Way and the Truth has been accused of insulting Islam through the newspaper, Voice of the Martyrs reports. A Muslim scholar brought the accusations against Nagy Youssef to Egypt's attorney general, who then referred them to the North Cairo General Court. Nagy could face up to 10 years in prison on accusations of "stirring up the religious divisions and despising the Islamic regime." In response to the accusations written about him in various newspapers, Nagy reportedly said: "Thank God for this free advertising to our great newspaper!"
NFL Player Rejects White House Visit Over Obama's Support of Abortion
Retired Baltimore Ravens center Matt Birk, who won a Super Bowl with the team last year, skipped the team's visit to the White House due to President Obama's support for Planned Parenthood, the Washington Examiner reports. "I have great respect for the office of the presidency but about five or six weeks ago, our president made a comment in a speech and he said, 'God bless Planned Parenthood,'" Birk, a former Minnesota Viking, told a local Minnesota sports blog. "I'm very confused by [Obama's] statement," he explained. "For God to bless a place where they're ending 330,000 lives a year? I just chose not to attend. Planned Parenthood performs about 330,000 abortions a year. I couldn't endorse that in any way." Obama spoke at the national Planned Parenthood conference this year, stating: "As long as we've got to fight to make sure women have access to quality, affordable health care, and as long as we've got to fight to protect a woman's right to make her own choices about her own health, I want you to know that you've also got a president who's going to be right there with you, fighting every step of the way. Thank you, Planned Parenthood. God bless you. God bless America."
Emergency Contraception: 'It'll Be Like Buying Tylenol'
Abortion rights activists celebrated outside the federal appeals court in Manhattan after the 2nd U.S. Court of Appeals issued an order permitting immediate, unrestricted over-the-counter sales of all two-pill emergency contraceptives. Unrestricted sales of Plan B One-Step contraceptive are still on hold until the court decides the merits of the government's appeal. Julie Rickelman with the Center for Reproductive Rights hopes the pills will be available without restriction within a month: "The two-pill products are going to be readily available to women without age restrictions, on any drugstore shelf. It’ll be like buying Tylenol. You’ll be able to go get it off the drugstore shelf, no ID, at the regular counter." That's exactly what worries opponents of the decision. Family Foundation president Victoria Cobb expressed concern about the ease with which young girls will be able to get this potent product. She points out the unintended consequences: "The government calls pre-marital sex risky behavior because of the high risk of STDs. This ruling may reduce [unintended pregnancies], but it is ignoring the STD risk." Cobb also said when a pill is marketed as the solution with no consequences, people with abusive intentions will put it to bad use -- potentially making it easier for child sexual abusers to cover up their acts. Cobb urged parents to stay involved and "be even more diligent about what their kids are given or taking."
Publication date: June 10, 2013