Religion Today Daily Headlines - May 30, 2013

Religion Today Daily Headlines - May 30, 2013

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

In today's edition:

  • Milwaukee Elementary School Has 'Gender Bender Day'
  • Christian Pastor Murdered as Nigeria Declares State of Emergency
  • GLAAD Continues Push for Boy Scouts to Allow Openly Homosexual Leaders
  • Religion Losing Influence, Americans Don't Want It That Way


Milwaukee Elementary School Has 'Gender Bender Day'

A themed dress day at a Milwaukee elementary school has some parents up in arms, National Review reports. Last week's "Gender Bender Day" at Tippecanoe School for the Arts and Humanities asked students to dress as a member of the opposite sex. "I think it's just teaching them the wrong lesson about gender," one parent told local Fox affiliate WITI. "If you're a boy, stay a boy. You shouldn't have something like that at school." Another parent said she was "speechless" about the school's decision; she, like some other parents, ended up keeping her son home from school that day. A school board member dismissed parents' concerns, saying they were "using the kids for political purposes." In an effort to appease upset parents, the school changed the name to "Switch It Up Day." WITI couldn't find many students participating in the themed day when it finally came last Friday; it appeared to be mostly teachers and other staffers.

Christian Pastor Murdered as Nigeria Declares State of Emergency

Nigeria continues to own the shameful title of being the deadliest place to be a Christian. In 2012, 70 percent of Christians murdered due to persecution were killed in Nigeria. This deadly fact is characterized by the brutal murder of northern Nigerian church leader Rev. Faye Pama Musa, who was followed home by suspected Boko Haram militants and shot. Rev. Faye Pama was likely targeted by the militants attached to the Islamic extremist group because of his outspoken criticism of Boko Haram's targeting of Christians and the discrimination against Christians in northern Nigeria. Rev. Faye Pama, 47, is survived by his wife and three children. Fearing further attacks, the pastor's family is unsure what to do or where to go next. Hours before Rev. Faye Pama was murdered, Nigeria's president Goodluck Jonathan declared a state of emergency in three of Nigeria's northern states, including the state where the pastor was killed. The state of emergency will allow the federal government to send more troops into the states where the emergency has been declared and use special measures to try to curb the violence being perpetrated by Boko Haram. Murder and insecurity continues to define the lives of many Christians living in northern Nigeria. Like the Rev. Faye Pama's family, thousands of Christian families have been devastated by the violence unleashed by Boko Haram as they attempt to establish a separate Islamic state where they can impose their strict interpretation of sharia law. Without effective action taken both by the Nigerian government and the international community, Nigeria is likely to continue to be the deadliest place to be a Christian in 2013.

GLAAD Continues Push for Boy Scouts to Allow Openly Homosexual Leaders

A prominent homosexual advocacy group is continuing its push to end the ban on openly gay leaders in the Boy Scouts of America, the Christian News Network reports. The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) states that while it applauds the recent vote to allow avowed homosexual youth as Scouts, it believes the remaining ban on openly homosexual leaders should be repealed. The organization has been using an online effort to prompt further changes in the Scouts. "The Boy Scouts of America voted to end its ban on gay scouts, which is a huge victory for gay youth," GLAAD wrote on its website. "But gay scout leaders ... are still banned from scouting. It's time to keep up the pressure! GLAAD needs your help to make sure gay parents and adults are also able to participate." However, others continue to express deep concerns over such policy changes. Rob Schwarzwalder, senior vice president of the Family Research Council, told reporters it was dangerous to place men that have sexual attraction toward those of the same gender in charge of juvenile boys. "As a father, I wouldn't want my sons to go on a camping trip with a teenage girl and stay in the same tent," he said. "Similarly, I think it's unwise to put boys or young men in a tent with boys or young men who are homosexual."

Religion Losing Influence, Americans Don't Want It That Way

More than three-quarters of Americans (77 percent) say religion is losing its influence on American life, while 20 percent say religion's influence is increasing, according to a new Gallup poll. These numbers represent Americans' most negative evaluations of the impact of religion since 1970, though similar to the views measured in recent years. Yet a separate question found much more positive views of the potential for religion to have an impact on the country, with 75 percent saying American society would be better off if more Americans were religious. Americans who attend church regularly and who say religion is important in their own lives are far more likely to say it would be positive for American society if more Americans were religious, but even so, more than half of those who seldom or never attend and close to one in three Americans who say religion is not important to them personally still say it would be positive for society if more Americans were religious.

Publication date: May 30, 2013