Religion Today Summaries - November 3, 2011

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - November 3, 2011

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

In today's edition:

  • House Votes to Reaffirm 'In God We Trust' Motto
  • Israel Test-Fires Missile That Could Hit Iran
  • Nurses Sue Hospital Over New Abortion Policy
  • Advocates Urge Senators to Reauthorize Religious Freedom Agency


House Votes to Reaffirm 'In God We Trust' Motto

In a 396-9 vote Tuesday night, the House of Representatives passed a bipartisan resolution reaffirming "In God We Trust" as the official motto of the United States, Fox News reports. The resolution, proposed by Rep. Randy Forbes (R-Va.), not only affirms the motto but also encourages its display in public and government buildings. Forbes said the motto had been under attack during the past three years, citing specifically an instance in which President Obama misstated the motto as "E pluribus unum" and refused to correct himself even after 42 members of Congress sent him a letter, as well as the fact that the White House website has the incorrect motto. "There are a very small number of people, but unfortunately very vocal people, who really want to attack faith in every element of the nation," Forbes said. "But we're not going to go quietly into the night." Lawmakers who voted against the resolution were Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-N.Y.), Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.), Rep. Judy Chu (D-Calif.), Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.), Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.), Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.), Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.) and Rep. Pete Stark (D-Calif.).

Israel Test-Fires Missile That Could Hit Iran

On Wednesday, Israel successfully test-fired a missile said to be capable of carrying a nuclear warhead and striking Iran, adding to the debate over whether Israel's leaders are considering a military attack on Tehran's weapons facilities, according to Israeli officials have long warned that a military strike was an option, and this week Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed new concerns about Iran's nuclear program. Wednesday's missile launch, from a base on the outskirts of Tel Aviv, added to the speculation that Israeli action could be imminent. Israel considers Iran its most dangerous threat; Iran has repeatedly referenced Israel's destruction and voiced support for anti-Israel militant groups Hamas and Hezbollah. "What Israel would wish to see is that the United States and rest of powers would pressure Iran more seriously ... first with more sanctions and if they don't work, to go to war with Iran," said Eldad Pardo, an Iran expert at Jerusalem's Hebrew University. In the case of any attack on Tehran, Iran's military leaders say they will "punish" Israel.

Nurses Sue Hospital Over New Abortion Policy

Twelve nurses are suing their employer, a hospital run by the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, claiming that they are being forced to assist in abortions, the Christian Post reports. According to the nurses, UMDNJ originally allowed its medical personnel to opt out of performing abortions if they disagreed with the practice, but a new policy mandates that nurses must assist with the procedure or be fired. Matt Bowman of the Alliance Defense Fund, who will be representing the nurses in court, said "the right of pro-life nurses not to be forced to assist in abortions against their beliefs" should be defended.

Advocates Urge Senators to Reauthorize Religious Freedom Agency

Religious freedom advocates are petitioning legislators to reauthorize an international religious freedom agency that will cease to exist on Nov. 18 unless members of Congress take action, the Christian Newswire reports. One U.S. senator is currently preventing a vote on a bill that would keep alive the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, which monitors, raises awareness and informs government officials of threats to religious freedom around the world. "Failure to reauthorize the USCIRF would send a message to the rest of the world that religious freedom is not a national priority," said Lindsay Vessey of Open Doors USA. Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein, an interfaith affairs director in Los Angeles, said: "We need a strong, independent USCIRF to make a difference in the lives of millions of people who have no other voice. Reauthorization is vital to the voiceless and to U.S. interests." A recent Pew Forum report found more than 2.2 billion people live in countries where hostilities or government restrictions on religion rose substantially from 2006 to 2009, a report that religious freedom experts called "troubling."

Publication date: November 3, 2011