Religion Today Daily Headlines - May 13, 2013

Religion Today Daily Headlines - May 13, 2013

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

In today's edition:

  • Same-Sex Marriage Now Legal in More Than 1 in 5 States
  • Tamerlan Tsarnaev Buried at Muslim Cemetery in Virginia
  • Gosnell Trial Spurs House Republicans to Demand States Regulate Abortion Clinics
  • Americans' Abortion Views Steady Amid Gosnell Trial


Same-Sex Marriage Now Legal in More Than 1 in 5 States

With congressional votes less than a week apart from each other, Rhode Island and Delaware both have legalized same-sex marriage, which, according to The New York Times, represents the "latest in a string of victories for those working to extend marital rights to gay and lesbian couples," Christianity Today reports. Rhode Island came first, following what the Associated Press called "a 16-year effort to extend marriage rights in this heavily Roman Catholic state." Days later, Delaware became the 11th state to legalize gay marriage. Similar votes will soon take place in Minnesota and Illinois, where the GOP chair recently resigned over the issue. However, in spite of the recent victories for gay marriage supporters, the Times notes that "short of a sweeping decision by the Supreme Court that same-sex marriage is a right, change could come more slowly in the coming years. Thirty states have adopted constitutional amendments limiting marriage to a man and a woman -- measures that can be reversed only with public ballots."

Tamerlan Tsarnaev Buried at Muslim Cemetery in Virginia

The body of Boston bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev was reportedly buried in a Muslim cemetery in a small town in central Virginia, about 15 miles away from Richmond, the Washington Times reports. Al-Barzakh Cemetery in Doswell, the first Muslim cemetery in the region, has interred Tsarnaev's remains, according to the Boston Globe. The interment came after a Virginia woman saw the protests outside a Worcester, Mass., funeral home that was storing Tsarnaev's body. Nobody wanted him buried locally, and she decided to help by contacting the Islamic Society of Greater Richmond and asking if members could help find a burial ground for the body. Society members found the Doswell cemetery and moved Tsarnaev on Wednesday evening, the Globe reported. Tsarnaev, 26, died during a shootout with police in Watertown, Mass. His brother and fellow bombing suspect, Dzhohkar, 19, is recovering from gunshot wounds. 

Gosnell Trial Spurs House Republicans to Demand States Regulate Abortion Clinics

Leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee have set a May 22 deadline in which they expect public health officials from all 50 states and Washington, D.C., to provide them with "details on state licensing of abortion clinics and providers, information on revoked licenses, state inspections of clinics and disciplinary actions" so they can "examine how each state regulates and monitors abortion clinics and protects the health and safety of women," the Christian Post reports. Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), vice chairman of the committee, who signed the letter to the public health officials along with her Republican colleagues on the committee, said: "Planned Parenthood called Gosnell's 'House of Horrors' an 'outlier,' but we're learning Gosnell is not an aberration. They were approached by women who complained about the disgusting conditions at Gosnell's facility, and they didn't report it. When the Pennsylvania Department of Health found out about Gosnell, they sat on their hands and the media was silent. Now we're discovering that other big abortion businesses refuse to give medical treatment to babies who survive botched abortions and we're finding out the truth from former pro-choice nurses who called their own Gosnell-like clinics 'ridiculously unsafe.'" On Wednesday, Blackburn introduced H. Res. 206, a resolution calling on members of the House to review the public policies that led to illegal abortion practices, such as those discovered at Gosnell's Philadelphia clinic. The resolution states that "Congress and States should gather information about and correct abusive, unsanitary and illegal abortion practices and the interstate referral of women and girls to facilities engaged in dangerous or illegal second- and third-trimester procedures."

Americans' Abortion Views Steady Amid Gosnell Trial

As Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell awaits the jury verdict in his murder trial, a new Gallup poll finds 26 percent of Americans saying abortion should be legal under any circumstances, 20 percent saying it should be illegal in all circumstances, and the majority -- 52 percent -- opting for something in between, as has been the case in nearly every Gallup measure of the question since 1975. The current views on the legality of abortion, conducted May 2-7, are nearly identical to those from Gallup's prior measures in December and May 2012. Although the survey was conducted after much of the testimony in Gosnell's trial had already been reported in the news, the stability in Americans' views about the legality of abortion suggests the trial has not swayed public opinion. Part of the reason could be that relatively few Americans are paying attention to it. One quarter of Americans say they have followed news of the case either very closely (7 percent) or somewhat closely (18 percent), but that is well below the 61-percent average level of attention Americans have paid to the more than 200 news stories Gallup has measured since 1991. An additional 20 percent of Americans say they are following it "not too closely," while 54 percent say "not at all." This makes the Gosnell case one of the least-followed news stories Gallup has measured.

Publication date: May 13, 2013