Religion Today Daily Headlines - May 17, 2013

Religion Today Daily Headlines - May 17, 2013

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

In today's edition:

  • Blasphemy Charges Becoming New Weapon Against Egyptian Christians
  • Texas Prosecutors Investigate Gosnell-Like Abortionist in Houston
  • Black Pro-Life Leaders: Gosnell Worst Kind of Racist
  • Depression in Teen Girls Linked to Absent Fathers in Early Childhood


Blasphemy Charges Becoming New Weapon Against Egyptian Christians

According to a new study, blasphemy and evangelizing accusations are disproportionately used against members of Egypt's Christian minority -- particularly those working in education, Christianity Today reports. A study to be released at the end of this month by the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) found that 41 percent of blasphemy cases taken to court from Jan. 25, 2011, to Dec. 31, 2012, were filed against Christians, who make up only about 10 percent of Egypt's population of 83 million people. Ishak Ibrahim of the EIPR said people are targeting Christians using the nation's blasphemy statues as a weapon. The total of 36 blasphemy cases involved 63 people, and the country's Sunni Muslim majority, which makes up almost 90 percent of Egypt's population, were charged in 59 percent of the cases. Ibrahim noted that approximately 30 percent of the blasphemy cases were filed against someone in an education environment. Ibrahim also expects to see an increase in charges against Christians, as Egypt's new constitution employs vague language that could prohibit evangelism, though evangelism is not specifically illegal. At the same time, the new constitution more explicitly criminalizes criticism of Islam. Along with the disproportionate number of Christians charged with blasphemy, sentences are harsher for Christians compared with those handed to Muslims, EIPR noted. The study notes that the sentences are also unusually harsh in relation to the nature of the offenses.

Texas Prosecutors Investigate Gosnell-Like Abortionist in Houston

Just days after Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell was sentenced to three life terms for his horrific abortion practices -- including snipping the spines of babies born alive -- a Houston abortionist's former employees are accusing him of similar criminal acts, WORLD reports. Late Wednesday evening, the Harris County District Attorney's office confirmed to Houston's local KHOU 11 News that the allegations were under investigation and are "very similar on the surface" to the Gosnell case. The pro-life group Operation Rescue gave Houston prosecutors a video it produced containing interviews with three people claiming to be former employees of abortionist Douglas Karpen. A fourth informant, who remains anonymous, has also come forward to Operation Rescue, filing an affidavit about her experiences. The women backed up their claims with cell phone evidence, said to be taken at Karpen's facility, the Aaron Women's Clinic. "The photos show babies that are huge, with gashes in their necks, indicating that these babies were likely born alive, then killed," said Troy Newman, president of Operation Rescue. "... There are numerous similarities between Karpen and the Gosnell case, including the disregarding of complaints by the authorities that allowed both men to continue their illegal operations." Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst called for a "full-scale" investigation; the district attorney's office said its investigation began before the lieutenant governor demanded a probe.

Black Pro-Life Leaders: Gosnell Worst Kind of Racist

Black pro-life leaders are calling for investigations of other abortion clinics like the one run by Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell, CBN News reports. Many gathered in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, accusing the abortion industry of targeting black Americans. "Kermit Gosnell is a racist of the worst kind because he preyed on women and young girls of his own race," said Day Gardner, president of the National Black Pro-Life Union. "For more than 30 years, Kermit Gosnell participated and perpetuated the epidemic of black-on-black crime." Rev. Walter Hoye of the Black Pro-Life Coalition, said: "From 1882 to 1968, 86 years, the Ku Klux Klan lynched 3,446 Negroes. While it took the Klan 86 years to accomplish this, abortion on demand in America accomplished that in less than four days." Rev. Arnold Culbreath, founding member of the National Black Pro-Life Coalition, noted, "79 percent of Planned Parenthood's surgical abortion facilities are intentionally placed within walking distance of minority neighborhoods." Earlier this year, black leaders pledged to find new strategies to spread the pro-life message to their communities.

Depression in Teen Girls Linked to Absent Fathers in Early Childhood

New research out of the UK's University of Bristol indicates that girls whose fathers were absent during their early childhood are more likely to become depressed in their teen years, Jim Liebelt reports. The study, published in Psychological Medicine, found that girls whose fathers left when they were between the ages of 0 and 5 were more likely to develop depressive symptoms in adolescence than those whose fathers left when they were between the ages of 5-10 and boys in both age groups (0-5 and 5-10). The findings are part of the larger "Children of the 90s" longitudinal study, a long-term research project that follows the children of 14,000 mothers who enrolled during their pregnancies in 1991 and 1992. This depression study in particular looked at 5,631 children. "These findings indicate a need to include fathers in research related to child and adolescent mental health issues," Iryna Culpin, the paper's lead author, said in a press release.

Publication date: May 17, 2013