Religion Today Daily Headlines - May 1, 2013

Religion Today Daily Headlines - May 1, 2013

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

In today's edition:

  • American Christian May Face Death Penalty in North Korea
  • ESPN Analyst Chris Broussard Under Fire After Calling Homosexuality a Sin
  • Poll: 55 Percent of Americans Don't Know Planned Parenthood Does Abortions
  • Survey: Nearly 1 in 4 Teens Drive While Impaired


American Christian May Face Death Penalty in North Korea

North Korean officials announced Saturday that detained American citizen Kenneth Bae will be tried before the country's Supreme Court on charges of plotting to overthrow the government, WORLD reports. If convicted, Bae could face the death penalty. According to media accounts, Bae is thought to be a Christian missionary linked with an Ohio organization called The Joseph Connection, tough all reference to his faith connections appear to have been removed recently from the Internet. North Korea is known for its brutality toward Christian missionaries, and evangelism in the country is a serious crime. Bae has been in North Korean custody since early November after being arrested by officials in Rason, a zone which borders China and Russia. The exact nature of his alleged crimes has not been revealed, but North Korea accuses Bae, described as a tour operator, of seeking to overthrow the country's leadership. According to friends and colleagues, Bae is a devout Christian from Washington state, based in the Chinese border city of Dalian, who traveled frequently to North Korea to feed orphans. At least three other Americans detained in recent years have also been devout Christians.

ESPN Analyst Chris Broussard Under Fire After Calling Homosexuality a Sin

ESPN analyst and sportswriter Chris Broussard is under fire after calling homosexuality a sin during a televised discussion Monday, WORLD reports. Broussard, a well-known and committed Christian who has written about his beliefs before, was asked to comment on NBA player Jason Collins' announcement that he is gay. During the ESPN program "Outside the Lines," which also featured openly gay sportswriter LZ Granderson, the host asked Broussard to comment on Collins' claim to be a Christian. "Personally, I don't believe that you can live an openly homosexual lifestyle or an openly premarital sex between heterosexuals, if you're openly living that type of a lifestyle, then the Bible says you know them by their fruits, it says that's a sin," Broussard said. "If you're openly living in unrepentant sin, whatever it may be, not just homosexuality, adultery, fornication, premarital sex between heterosexuals, whatever it may be, I believe that's walking in open rebellion to God and to Jesus Christ. I would not characterize that person as a Christian because I do not think the Bible would characterize them as a Christian." In a statement released after the show, ESPN distanced itself from Broussard, saying: "We regret that a respectful discussion of personal viewpoints became a distraction from today's news. ESPN is fully committed to diversity and welcomes Jason Collins' announcement." 

Poll: 55 Percent of Americans Don't Know Planned Parenthood Does Abortions

Half of Americans don't know Planned Parenthood does abortions -- let alone that it is the biggest abortion business in the United States, according to a new Polling Company survey conducted for the National Right to Life Committee, reports. The poll found that 88 percent of registered voters are familiar with Planned Parenthood, 40 percent know someone who has received services at Planned Parenthood, and 63 percent have a favorable impression of the organization. However, the same poll found that 55 percent did not know Planned Parenthood performs abortions. Fifty percent of pro-life respondents did not know Planned Parenthood performs abortions, and of the 45 percent who knew, the majority greatly underestimated the number of abortions Planned Parenthood performs annually. In 2011, the last year for which data is available, Planned Parenthood performed 333,964 abortions, or just over 27 percent of all abortions in the United States. "The polling reflects the results of Planned Parenthood's campaign to publicly minimize and obfuscate is involvement with abortion," said David N. O'Steen, National Right to Life executive director. 

Survey: Nearly 1 in 4 Teens Drive While Impaired

Nearly a quarter of teens -- 23 percent -- admit to driving under the influence of alcohol, marijuana or prescription drugs used illegally at some point, a new survey finds. What's worse, they don't view themselves as a danger: Almost 20 percent of those who drink and drive say it improves their driving, a view shared by 34 percent of those who drive under the influence of marijuana. Those are among findings of a new survey of 1,708 11th- and 12th-graders by SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions) and insurer Liberty Mutual. The survey highlights the vital role of parents in keeping teens safe behind the wheel. It found that teens are more likely to drink around relatively unsupervised events, such as the Fourth of July or during the summer, than during heavily supervised activities like proms or graduations. About twice as many teens report drinking on summer vacation than teens who admit drinking after prom or graduation, the survey found. Cathy Chase of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety says the percentage of teens who think they can drive safely after drinking or using marijuana "seems high. But unfortunately, it's not surprising because teens think they're invincible and they thing nothing will happen to them. Unfortunately, sometimes it takes a friend or someone in their school getting killed before the reality kind of hits them."

Publication date: May 1, 2013