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Religion Today Daily Headlines - November 16, 2012

Religion Today Daily Headlines - November 16, 2012

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

In today's edition:

  • Israel Launches Retaliation Strikes Against Hamas Rocket Attacks
  • Poll: 60 Percent of Voters Back Traditional Marriage
  • Atheists Ask Obama to Ditch 'So Help Me God,' Bible in Presidential Oath
  • Christian Church Vandalized in Jerusalem in Spate of Attacks


Israel Launches Retaliation Strikes Against Hamas Rocket Attacks

Israel moved closer to an all-out ground war with Hamas Thursday, as Israeli planes, tanks and gunboats targeted suspected militant positions in Gaza in retaliation for Hamas rocket attacks that left at least three Israelis dead, Fox News reports. Israel began moving troops toward the Gaza Strip and authorized the army to draft as many as 30,000 reserve forces for a possible ground invasion of the Palestinian territory. Military officials said the moves were preparations for a possible ground operation, but no decision has been made on whether to invade Gaza. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday that Israel could no longer stand repeated attacks on its southern towns, and said Israel had "made it clear" it won't tolerate continued rocket fire on its civilians. Earlier, Netanyahu had declared: "If there is a need, the military is prepared to expand the operation. We will continue to do everything to protect our citizens." Egypt's Islamist president, Mohammed Morsi, has ordered his prime minister to lead a senior delegation to Gaza in a show of support for Hamas rulers in the face of Israel's offensive. Earlier on Thursday, Morsi had vowed to work to stop Israel's operation against Hamas, calling the Jewish state's actions there "unacceptable."

Poll: 60 Percent of Voters Back Traditional Marriage

Despite four victories by gay marriage supporters on Election Day in Maine, Maryland, Washington state and Minnesota, a solid majority of voters nationwide still believe marriage is between one man and one woman, according to a new poll, Baptist Press reports. The Nov. 7 survey by the Polling Company of 800 people who voted either on Election Day or voted early shows 60 percent of voters this year agreed that "marriage is between one man and one woman." Fifty-one percent agreed strongly, and all total, 34 percent disagreed with the statement. "Americans remain strongly in favor of marriage as the union of one man and one woman," said Brian Brown, president of the pro-family National Organization for Marriage. "The election results reflect the political and funding advantages our opponents enjoyed in these very liberal states."

Atheists Ask Obama to Ditch 'So Help Me God,' Bible in Presidential Oath

When President Barack Obama takes the oath of office for the second time on Jan. 21, 2013, an atheist group wants him to do so without mentioning God and without a Bible, the Christian Post reports. Following Obama's re-election, the Freedom From Religion Foundation sent him a letter asking him to reject the way "this country politicizes religion." FFRF attorney Andrew L. Seidel wrote: "When you stand to reaffirm your oath, do so using the language of the Founders. Eliminate the religious verbiage. While you're at it, why not place your hand on the Constitution instead of a Bible?" The FFRF argued that the words "so help me God" are not prescribed by the Constitution, nor is a requirement for the president to place his hand on a Bible when taking oath. "[Obama's second term] is a chance to do something that no president in recent memory has done: reach out to secular Americans," FFRF wrote. "In the past, that might have been politically costly. But this recent election shows that it will be politically costly not to reach out to secular America. We are the future."

Christian Church Vandalized in Jerusalem in Spate of Attacks

Calvary Baptist Church in Jerusalem, led by an Arab Israeli Christian pastor, is the latest congregation to be hit in a string of vandalism incidents to hit Christian holy sites in Israel this year, ASSIST News Service reports. On Nov. 12, "the sign pointing people to the church was defaced with white paint with 'Justice' written on the wall next to the sign," said pastor Steven Khoury, head of Calvary Baptist Church. In September, vandals burned a door of the Trappist Monastery in Latrun and spray-painted anti-Christian graffiti with the words "Jesus is a monkey," Khoury said. Last month, the Church of the Dormition Abbey on Mt. Zion, near Jerusalem's Old City, was defaced with graffiti that included the words "price tag." According to Khoury, church members are taking precautions to ensure than no further attacks are carried out against the church. He said security cameras were being installed and round-the-clock watch groups would patrol the church building in the interim. Police are currently investigating the matter, and Khoury emphasized it was important for Israel to prosecute the perpetrators under its hate crime statutes to demonstrate that defacing holy sites is a serious offense under the law as well as the country's democratic values.

Publication date: November 16, 2012