Religion Today Daily Headlines - May 8, 2013

Religion Today Daily Headlines - May 8, 2013

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

In today's edition:

  • Obama Administration Gives Up Forcing Bible Publisher to Obey HHS Mandate
  • Gosnell Horrors 'Standard Operating Procedure' in Abortion Industry
  • Senate Resolution Calls for Nationwide Inspections of Abortion Facilities
  • Two Killed, More Than 50 Wounded in Tanzania Church Bombing


Obama Administration Gives Up Forcing Bible Publisher to Obey HHS Mandate

In a huge victory for pro-life advocates taking on the controversial HHS mandate, the Obama administration is giving up its effort to force a Bible publisher to obey it, reports. The mandate has generated massive opposition from pro-life groups because it forces employers, regardless of their religious or moral convictions, to provide insurance coverage for abortion-inducing drugs, contraception and sterilization under threat of heavy penalties. The Obama administration had opposed an order a judge gave to temporarily stop enforcement of the mandate for Tyndale House Publishers, arguing that the business wasn't religious enough for an exemption. But on Friday, at the Obama administration's request, a federal appellate court dismissed its appeal. The administration's retreat marks the first total appellate victory on a preliminary injunction in any abortion pill mandate case. According to Alliance Defending Freedom lawyers representing Tyndale, the administration was apparently nervous about trying to defend its position that a Bible publisher wasn't religious enough for a religious exemption from the mandate. ADF attorneys and allied attorneys are also currently litigating nine other lawsuits against the mandate; more than 100 have been filed in total.

Gosnell Horrors 'Standard Operating Procedure' in Abortion Industry

The pro-life group Live Action wants a series of undercover videos taken at abortion clinics to result in federal investigations and possible criminal charges, One News Now reports. Last week, Live Action sent a woman who was 24 weeks pregnant into three abortion clinics -- one each in D.C., the Bronx and Phoenix -- posing as someone seeking a late-term abortion. "[In our videos] these workers are describing how, in order to kill these babies, they either cut the umbilical cord of the child and wait for it to asphyxiate, to suffocate in the womb; how they rip that child out piece by piece using forceps; or how they puncture the chest with a needle and insert poison into the baby's heart to make it slowly die in over a half an hour," said Live Action president Lila Rose. In each case the clinic workers -- and in one instance the abortionist himself -- were asked what they would do if the baby were born alive, and they answered that it would be allowed to die. "So what these abortionists are saying is they're willing to ultimately kill these children, drowning them in jars of toxic solution, or just discarding them and leaving them to die while they're struggling to survive in the abortion clinic," Rose said. "This is infanticide, this is murder, as well as abortion. ... The horrors of the Kermit Gosnell trial are a widespread problem in this industry. Dismembering and destroying innocent children, leaving born babies to die, injecting poison into the chest of a tiny child so that he slowly dies in his own mother's womb -- this is all standard operating procedure in the abortion industry."

Senate Resolution Calls for Nationwide Inspections of Abortion Facilities

A resolution introduced in the U.S. Senate on Monday recommends that abortion facilities nationwide be inspected and investigated, the Christian News Network reports. Sen. Mike Lee of Utah is the main sponsor of the resolution, and is joined by 10 co-sponsors, including senators Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, Marco Rubio of Florida and Ted Cruz of Texas. While it does not hold the same weight as a federal law, the resolution serves as a statement that "[e]xpress[es] the sense of the Senate that Congress and the States should investigate and correct abusive, unsanitary and illegal abortion practices." It cites the egregious procedures of Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell as one of the motivating factors for the measure. The resolution proceeds to decry what it calls the "grossly unsanitary and dangerous conditions, violations of law regarding storage of human remains, and, above all, instances of willful murder of infants born alive by severing their spinal cords" at Gosnell's abortion facility. The resolution also focuses on "protecting the lives of unborn children beginning at least from the stage at which substantial medical evidence indicates that they are capable of feeling pain." The senators remark that such measures are "long overdue" and must be enacted now "for the sake of women, children, families and future generations." Lee told reporters the he believes the resolution will pass Congress, but it is too soon to predict any actual outcome.

Two Killed, More Than 50 Wounded in Tanzania Church Bombing

International Christian Concern reports that St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church in Tanzania's northern city of Arusha was bombed on Sunday, May 5. At least two people are confirmed dead as a result of the blast. The BBC reported that as many as 50 people were wounded, including 44 of whom received serious injuries and were rushed to nearby hospitals. "When it exploded there was a stampede, people running in all directions, walking over each other, children were screaming and women crying," a witness said. "I saw a dead woman trampled; I think even her two children were killed in the same way," another witness added. Tanzania's president, Jakaya Kikwete, has condemned the bombing as an "act of terrorism," and has vowed to bring those responsible to justice. So far, eight suspects have been arrested, including four Tanzanians and four Saudi foreign nationals. Worshipers have accused the authorities of failing to protect them as they attended church. William Stark, ICC's regional manager for Africa, said: "These acts of terror must be seen as a series of escalating events that will continue to escalate unless action is taken by the Tanzanian government. Arresting and prosecuting the perpetrators of this bombing is commendable, but the government must take steps to ensure that these types of attacks are not repeated."

Publication date: May 8, 2013