Religion Today Daily Headlines - October 22, 2012

Religion Today Daily Headlines - October 22, 2012

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

In today's edition:

  • Gallup: Only 3.4 Percent of U.S. Adults Identify as LGBT
  • Court Rules Texas Cheerleaders Can Use Bible Banners
  • Welfare Jumps 32 Percent During Obama Presidency
  • Study: Fathers Greatly Affect Teens' Sexual Behavior


Gallup: Only 3.4 Percent of U.S. Adults Identify as LGBT

A comprehensive poll released this week by Gallup based on more than 120,000 interviews shows that only 3.4 percent of Americans say they are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender -- far short of the numbers routinely cited by pro-gay groups who claim that approximately 10 percent or more of the population have homosexual tendencies, the Christian Post reports. The study is billed as the largest single study of the distribution of the LGBT population, and the margin of error was projected at approximately 1 percent -- low by poll standards. The poll, conducted between June 1 and Sept. 30 of this year, asked, "Do you personally identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender?" Of the 121,290 total responses, 3.4 percent answered "yes," 92.2 percent said "no" and 4.4 percent refused to answer. Though the exact percentage of LGBT Americans has sparked much debate between pro-family and pro-homosexual groups, the Gallup results mirror those of similar, albeit smaller, studies as far back as 2002.

Court Rules Texas Cheerleaders Can Use Bible Banners

A judge ruled last week in favor of high school cheerleaders in Texas who were fighting to display Bible verses on banners at football games, CBN News reports. Last month, after a complaint from the Freedom From Religion Foundation, school officials told Kountze High School cheerleaders they could no longer use scripture on the signs they created for the football team to run though. But district judge Steve Thomas said Thursday that the school district's policy violated the cheerleaders' free speech rights. He issued an injunction allowing them to display the banners, pending the outcome of a lawsuit next June. Earlier last week, Texas Gov. Rick Perry and state Attorney General Greg Abbott both backed the cheerleaders' right to keep using the banners. "There's a reality here and that is that the First Amendment does not demand hostility toward religion, nor does it demand silence on the part of students in this state or in this country," Abbott said. Cheerleader Kieara Moffett said, "I feel like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders as of right now." Cheerleader Macy Matthews said the banner at Friday night's game would read, "All things which are impossible with men are possible with God."

Welfare Jumps 32 Percent During Obama Presidency

According to numbers released Thursday, federal welfare spending has grown by 32 percent over the past four years, swelled by President Obama's stimulus spending and a growing number of Americans whose recession-depleted incomes now qualify them for public assistance, the Washington Times reports. Federal spending on more than 80 low-income assistance programs reached $746 billion in 2011, and state spending on those programs brought the total to $1.03 trillion, the Congressional Research Service and the Senate Budget Committee reported. That makes welfare the single biggest chunk of federal spending -- topping Social Security and basic defense spending. The biggest item on the list is Medicaid, the federal-state healthcare program for the poor, which at $296 in federal spending made up 40 percent of all low-income assistance in 2011. That total is up $82 billion from 2008. The next big program, food stamps, was at $75 billion in 2011, or 10 percent of welfare spending. That's nearly twice the size it was 2008 and accounts for 20 percent of the total welfare spending increase over the past four years. In that time period, the number of people on food stamps has also risen from 32 million to 47 million.

Study: Fathers Greatly Affect Teens' Sexual Behavior

A new review of studies shows fathers' attitudes toward teen sex and the emotional closeness of their relationships with their teens have a sizeable influence on their teens' sexual behaviors, separate from the influence of moms, Yahoo! News reports. The review showed that dads' attitudes toward teen sexual behavior were linked to the age at which teens first had sex. Teens whose dads approved of adolescent sexual activity tended to start having sex earlier than teens whose dads did not approve, according to studies in the review. In addition, teens who were close to their fathers tended to start having sex later. According to study researcher Vincent Guilamo-Ramos, a professor of social work at New York University, the findings "suggest that fathers may distinctly influence the sexual behavior of their adolescent children. Fathers may parent in ways that differ from mothers, and therefore represent an additional opportunity to support adolescent health and well-being."

Publication date: October 22, 2012