Religion Today Daily Headlines - May 14, 2013

Religion Today Daily Headlines - May 14, 2013

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

In today's edition:

  • Gosnell Guilty of First-Degree Murder
  • Saeed Abedini Released From Solitary Confinement in Hopeful Sign
  • Cleveland Captor Could Face Murder Charges for Killing Unborn Babies
  • Texting While Driving Now Leading Cause of Death for Teen Drivers


Gosnell Guilty of First-Degree Murder

Kermit Gosnell, the Philadelphia abortionist accused of performing illegal late-term abortions in a filthy clinic, has been found guilty of first-degree murder in the deaths of three babies born alive but acquitted in the death of a fourth baby, the Associated Press reports. Gosnell was also found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the overdose death of a patient. Prosecutors say Gosnell, 72, delivered babies alive and snipped their spines with scissors to kill them. They say the baby whose death he was cleared in let out a soft whimper before Gosnell cut its neck. The defense had argued there were no live births at the clinic. The grisly details of the case came out more than two years ago when authorities described finding bags and bottles of fetuses at the foul-smelling clinic and unsterile instruments that were reused.

Saeed Abedini Released From Solitary Confinement in Hopeful Sign

Iranian authorities released American pastor Saeed Abedini from solitary confinement this week after forcing him to spend the week of his birthday in a “small dark hole,” according to the American Center for Law and Justice. Abedini, imprisoned for 225 days in Evin Prison because of his Christian faith, turned 33 on May 7 while in solitary confinement. Supporters sent more than 52,500 birthday messages to the prison addressed to Abedini. His wife, Naghmeh, wrote in a letter: "With tightness in my throat, pain in my heart, and tears streaming down my face … I promise to stand strong in the strength of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ fighting with every strength of my being until you are united to our family again." Abedini and nine other prisoners were sent to solitary confinement April 29 after fellow prisoners protested Iran’s lack of medical care, representatives from the ACLJ said. During his time in solitary, Abedini's family in Iran was not allowed to visit him. The family worries about Abedini's health: He complained of internal bleeding from beatings by prison guards even before the solitary confinement and had been denied medical treatment for his injuries. The ACLJ said last month that Abedini suffers from frequent fainting, constant abdominal pain, blood in his stool, and is in need of immediate medical attention. Naghmeh told the ACLJ that her husband’s return to the general prison is a hopeful sign: "His release from solitary is a direct result of the multitudes praying. I am relieved my husband is out of solitary, but still am deeply concerned about Saeed's health. While this is a small victory, I am still demanding justice be done and that Saeed be released."

Cleveland Captor Could Face Murder Charges for Killing Unborn Babies

Ohio prosecutors announced on May 9 they might charge Ariel Castro with murder and seek the death penalty after one of his captives claimed he impregnated her five times and forced her to miscarry, WORLD reports. Castro already faces rape and kidnapping charges after three women he held captive for almost a decade escaped from his downtown Cleveland home last Monday. Michelle Knight, 32, told investigators Castro starved her for up to two weeks and hit her in the stomach to make her miscarry five babies. "Capital punishment must be reserved for those crimes that are truly the worst examples of human conduct," said Cuyahoga County prosecutor Timothy McGinty. "The reality is we still have brutal criminals in our midst who have no respect for the rule of law or human life." Another captive, Amanda Berry, gave birth to a daughter, now 6 years old, while she was imprisoned. Berry, 27, and the third captive, Gina DeJesus, 22, went home with family members on Wednesday. Knight remains in a Cleveland hospital, where officials say she is in good condition. According to National Right to Life, Ohio is one of 36 states with laws that recognize the intentional killing of an unborn child as homicide. Under Ohio law, anyone who intentionally kills an unborn child at any stage of prenatal development can be charged with aggravated murder, murder, voluntary manslaughter, involuntary manslaughter, negligent homicide, aggravated vehicular homicide and vehicular homicide, depending on the circumstances.

Texting While Driving Now Leading Cause of Death for Teen Drivers

Texting while driving has become a greater hazard than drinking and driving among teenagers who openly acknowledge sending and reading text messages while behind the wheel of a moving vehicle, Jim Liebelt reports. The number of teens who are dying or being injured as a result of texting while driving has skyrocketed as mobile device technology has advanced. Researchers at Cohen Children's Medical Center in New Hyde Park estimate more than 3,000 annual teen deaths nationwide from texting and 300,000 injuries. The habit now surpasses the number of teens who drink and drive -- a hazard that has been on a dramatic decline in recent years, researchers say. Dr. Andrew Adesman and a team of Cohen investigators found that while driving between September 2010 and December 2011, among 8,947 teenagers aged 15-18 nationwide, an estimated 49 percent of boys admitted to texting while driving compared with 45 percent of girls. Texting also increased with age. Only 24 percent of 15-year-olds tapped out messages while driving, compared with 58 percent of 18-year-olds, the data showed. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration acknowledged Wednesday that distracted driving of all kinds -- including the use of handheld cell phones -- is a growing hazard. Agency officials describe texting as among the worst of driver distractions because conversing by text simultaneously involves manual, visual and mental distractions.

Publication date: May 14, 2013