Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- N.C. Marriage Battle Heats Up Ahead of Today's Vote
- Woman Who Rescued Chinese Activist Released From Detention
- London: Delivery Service Begins for 'Morning-After' Pill
- Kuwait Considering Death Penalty for Blasphemy
N.C. Marriage Battle Heats Up Ahead of Today's Vote
Advocates and opponents of a proposed amendment to North Carolina's constitution that would make marriage between one man and one woman the only valid legal union have been working overtime to win voters' support ahead of today's vote -- and the measure seems set to pass, the Christian Post reports. Vote For Marriage NC has raised $1.1 million to help pass the amendment, while the opponent Coalition to Protect North Carolina Families has collected $2.2 million to do the opposite. Last week's Public Policy Polling poll of likely voters indicates the amendment is likely to pass 55-41 percent. "North Carolina is still a conservative, church-going state," said Gary Pearce, a longtime Democratic political consultant. "Particularly among older voters, there is discomfort with gay marriage." North Carolina has a state law that defines marriage as being between a man and a woman, but many believe the amendment is necessary to protect the law from gay activism and from same-sex couples married in other states suing North Carolina to have their marriage recognized. Twenty-eight states have so far passed constitutional amendments banning gay marriage.
Woman Who Rescued Chinese Activist Released From Detention
The woman who risked her life to drive blind Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng from his village to the U.S. Embassy in Beijing was released from detention, ASSIST News Service reports. He "Pearl" Peirong, a former English teacher, disguised herself as a courier to enter Chen's village, then rescued him after he escaped house arrest, climbed over walls and forded a river. "I am relieved and delighted that Pearl has been released," said Reggie Littlejohn, president of Women's Rights Without Frontiers, who had advocated for Pearl's release at a congressional hearing, leading Rep. Chris Smith to take up her cause. "Some say that quiet, back-door diplomacy is the way to deal with the detention of Chinese human rights defenders. But human rights activists have found that high-profile, public pressure is far more effective." Pearl told the BBC she was confined in a hotel room, where police were "polite" but persistent in their effort to obtain information. "I was very concerned, but once the thing went public, I was no longer worried," she said. Chen, meanwhile, is confident Beijing will hold up its end of a tentative deal to let him travel to the U.S. with his family to study at a U.S. university where he has been offered a fellowship.
London: Delivery Service Begins for 'Morning-After' Pill
Women in London are now able to have the abortion-inducing "morning-after" pill delivered to their homes or offices, Baptist Press reports. A courier service planned to begin delivering the drug, also known as emergency contraception, before the end of April, according to the London Evening Standard. A woman does not have to see a doctor to receive the pill, although a physician is to review a form she fills out on the Internet. The "morning-after" pill, marketed under the name Plan B in the United States, can restrict ovulation or prevent fertilization, but can also block implantation of the early embryo in the uterine wall. Under the regimen, a woman takes a pill within 72 hours of sexual intercourse and another dose 12 hours later. Another "morning-after" pill, Plan B One-Step, can be taken in a single dose within 72 hours.
Kuwait Considering Death Penalty for Blasphemy
Kuwait's parliament has provisionally voted in favor of a legal amendment that could make insulting Allah and the Islamic prophet Mohammed punishable by death, the Gatestone Institute reports. The amendment, approved on April 12, was backed by 46 members of the Kuwaiti Parliament, with four opposed and others abstaining; it needs a second vote and approval from Kuwait's ruler, Sheikh Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, before becoming law. According to the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information, many Kuwaitis are facing trial for blasphemy and, if the law is passed, could be executed -- one example of which is Mohammed Al-Mulaifi, a Kuwaiti writer who was sentenced in April to seven years in jail with hard labor and a fine of US$18,000 for insulting the Shi'ite Imam on Twitter. Additionally in Kuwait, increasing restrictions are being placed on Christian worship and religious freedoms, and parliament members have recently suggested banning swimsuits and requiring women to wear headscarves in public.
Publication date: May 8, 2012