Religion Today Daily Headlines - May 23, 2013

Religion Today Daily Headlines - May 23, 2013

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

In today's edition:

  • Department of Justice Forcing Federal Employees to Publicly Affirm Homosexuality
  • Vermont Legalizes Physician-Assisted Suicide
  • Supreme Court to Hear Public Prayer Case
  • Soldier Killed Near London Barracks in Suspected Terror Attack


Department of Justice Forcing Federal Employees to Publicly Affirm Homosexuality

The Obama administration is apparently requiring federal workers to not only tolerate homosexuality, but to "publicly embrace and affirm" it, according to the religious liberty law firm Liberty Counsel, Charisma News reports. Last week, a whistleblower from the Department of Justice sent Liberty Counsel a copy of a brochure sent to all DOJ employees entitled "LGBT Inclusion at Work: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Managers." The directive requires employees to vocally affirm homosexuality: "DON'T judge or remain silent. Silence will be interpreted as disapproval." The DOJ also instructs managers to "use inclusive words like 'partner,' 'significant other' or 'spouse' rather than gender-specific terms like 'husband' and 'wife'" and to "use a transgender person's chosen name and the pronoun that is consistent with the person's self-identified gender." According to Liberty Counsel, "No longer can Christians quietly dissent or remain neutral to same-sex relationships. Now the DOJ is requiring federal employees to affirm sexual behaviors that every major religion throughout history has deemed immoral."

Vermont Legalizes Physician-Assisted Suicide

Vermont is now the fourth state to legalize physician-assisted suicide after Gov. Peter Shumlin signed it into law Monday, CBN News reports. Vermont joins Oregon, Washington and Montana in adopting such a measure, which allows doctors to prescribe a lethal dose of medication to terminally ill patients. Opponents are concerned the law could eventually target the disabled and elderly. "Physician-assisted suicide does not affirm the life or dignity of individuals facing serious illness or death," said Dr. Charmaine Yoest of Americans United for Life. "Instead, it opens the door to abuses and dangers for extremely vulnerable individuals."

Supreme Court to Hear Public Prayer Case

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear a case during its next term about whether a town that opened its public meetings with prayer violated the Constitution, WORLD reports. For more than decade, the town of Greece, N.Y., has opened its public meetings with prayer, almost always from Christian clergy. The town said leaders from any faith could offer prayer at the meetings, but until recently leaders from other faiths had not participated. Two non-Christian women sued, saying the prayers violated the Constitution's Establishment Clause. The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with the women, ruling the prayers unconstitutional and saying the town should have sought more religious diversity in those offering the prayers. That decision partially conflicts with a previous Supreme Court ruling, which may be why the court decided to hear the case. In 1983, the Supreme Court said prayer at public meetings was constitutional, in general. Since then, different courts have ruled on specific guidelines for which prayers are constitutional -- for example, some states are allowed to use the word "God" but not the word "Jesus" -- and the high court may try to resolve some of the conflicting guidelines across the country.

Soldier Killed Near London Barracks in Suspected Terror Attack

A man thought to be a serving British soldier was killed by two armed men in a frenzied attack on a London street Wednesday in what the government is treating as a suspected act of terrorism, CNN reports. Witnesses told of a gruesome scene in which the man was hit by a car, then hacked with cleavers before his body was dumped in the middle of the road. The two suspects in the killing were injured in a confrontation with police and have been taken to two hospitals, where they are being treated. CNN affiliate ITN aired a video showing a man holding a meat cleaver and saying, "We swear by almighty Allah we will never stop fighting you. ... The only reasons we killed this man is because Muslims are dying daily. This British soldier is an eye for an eye, a tooth for tooth." The government is treating the gruesome killing as a suspected terrorist attack, Prime Minister David Cameron's office said. He has called a meeting of the country's civil emergency committee, known as COBRA, to discuss the incident and authorities' response.

Publication date: May 23, 2013