Religion Today Daily Headlines - October 4, 2012

Religion Today Daily Headlines - October 4, 2012

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

In today's edition:

  • President Morsi Denies Christian Persecution in Egypt
  • Yale May Not Recognize Christian Fraternity
  • Colorado City Council Sticks with Opening Prayer
  • Illinois Court Affirms Pharmacists' Conscience Rights


President Morsi Denies Christian Persecution in Egypt

Amid eyewitness accounts and reports that Coptic Christians are leaving their homes after threats from Muslim radicals, Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi has denied that there is persecution against Christians in the country, International Christian Concern reports. According to, an Egyptian citizen in Cairo, who asked to remain anonymous for security purposes, says the denial is because of how Morsi defines persecution: "Morsi denies outright the Copts are persecuted in Egypt. Morsi is not lying because he sincerely believes what he is saying. The Western definition of persecution differs to Morsi's understanding of persecution because Morsi is following the Islamic meaning. ... As a member of the Brotherhood, Morsi subscribes to the Islamic tenets of treating non-Muslims as second-class citizens. They must be subdued, they are not equal with Muslims, they do not enjoy equal status with Muslims. They are fair game. Islam teaches this is not persecution. ... At the end of the day Morsi is telling us this is not persecution." The Cairo citizen believes Copts will see no change in their status or situation: "Morsi believes that nothing needs to change, so nothing will change. The status quo will remain and persecution of the Copts as taught in Islam will continue under Muslim Brotherhood rule."

Yale May Not Recognize Christian Fraternity

A newly approved Christian fraternity at Yale University may be denied official recognition and student group funding because it plans to restrict membership to men who believe in Jesus, WORLD on Campus reports. Just days after the leaders of Beta Upsilon Chi (BYX) announced the formation of the Yale chapter, the student newspaper Yale Daily News reported that the group would "have to change its membership rules if it intends to comply with Yale's anti-discrimination policies." Yale's policy bans all university-affiliated groups from discrimination based on "sex, race, color, religion, age, disability, or national or ethnic origin," though groups like Yale Law Women exclude men. While BYX requires its brothers to be Christians, it does not exclude non-Christians from the group's social events. At Yale, BYX members said they hoped to strengthen the Christian community, but also provide a social alternative to traditional Greek activities for anyone interested. John Meesek, Yale's associate dean for student organizations and physical resources, told the Yale Daily News that "exclusivity on the basis of religion is against Yale's anti-discrimination policies," but declined to comment on the BYX chapter. Yale representatives have declined to comment to any news source about the future of BYX's registration, but communications officer Karen Peart said the dean's office was working to resolve the matter and would communicate a resolution once one was made.

Colorado City Council Sticks with Opening Prayer

The city council in Pueblo, Colo., is sticking with its opening prayer, for now, according to CBN News. It was previously reported that the council would cancel the prayer and replace it with a moment of silence following a legal threat from the Freedom From Religion Foundation. However, The Pueblo Chieftain said the council's rules and bylaws call for an invocation, and it would take a majority vote to stop the official prayer.

Illinois Court Affirms Pharmacists' Conscience Rights

An Illinois appellate court ruled Sept. 21 that the state may not punish pharmacists for refusing to sell possible abortion-inducing drugs in violation of their religious convictions, WORLD News Service reports. "The decision is a great victory for religious freedom," said Mark Rienzi, senior counsel for The Becket Fund for Religious Liberties, which has represented the pharmacies since 2005. "The government shouldn't kick business owners out of the market just because it dislikes their religious beliefs." The case began after then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich issued a mandate in 2005 requiring all pharmacies and pharmacists to sell Plan B, also known as the "morning-after pill." When taken by women within 72 hours of unprotected sex, the drug may prevent pregnancy but also may cause an early abortion. In 2005, pharmacists Luke Vander Bleek, a Catholic, and Glenn Kosirog, a Christian, filed a lawsuit against the governor. A circuit court dismissed their claim, but the Illinois Supreme Court ruled in 2008 that the case must be heart. In 2011, a trial court ordered an injunction to halt the rule, saying it was designed to target religious objectors. The appellate court upheld that decision Sept. 21. Six other states -- Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Mississippi and South Dakota -- have also passed laws allowing pharmacists to refuse to dispense emergency-contraception drugs, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Publication date: October 4, 2012