Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Around the Horn - A Bit of News that Probably Didn't Make the Papers, 7/14

Exporting Abortion – This last year Amnesty International, a “human rights” organization helped organize and lead protests in Mexico City and Madrid denouncing the Mexican government for refusing to require physicians to perform abortions. The law on the books under question does not outlaw abortion, but protects the rights of individual doctors to act according to their own consciences. Alberto Herrera Aroagon, Amnesty International's representative, claims that Mexico is violating international treaties which require abortion be made available. For many years, Amensty International took no official position on abortion, but ever since 2007 they have become proactive in support of in utero infanticide as a basic “human right.”

Don't Feed the Children – A court in Uzbekistan has sentenced Pavel Nenno, deacon of a baptist congregation, to 15 days in prison for feeding neglected children from poor families in his home, which was considered unregistered “children's religious activity.” In another local parish, 17 people were fined substantial amounts of money (more than a year's salary) following a secret police raid on a birthday party for a member. The reasons for the fines were cited as religious activities at a location other than the congregation's “registered address.” In both cases, “children's religious activity” was the primary citation for the harsh fines and imprisonment.

Mass Development – Recent studies have shown that parents who take their children regularly to Mass in Roman Catholic churches are more likely to see their children continue attending as adults. The report finds that a primary element in whether a person remains a Roman Catholic is whether or not they attended weekly as a child and as a teenager. It states, “Adolescence is a critical time in religious development and, as the poll shows, what happens in the teen years has a long-lasting effect.” The study also reveals that Rome has a 68% retention rate, which is significantly higher than most other denominations. Interestingly, this study comes a time when Protestant churches increasingly insist that children are too young to learn from liturgical services and need their own “special” forms of “children's church” to learn the faith.

They Will Know We Are Christians by our Hate Crimes – There is concern that recent legislation to extend hate crimes protection to homosexuals and transgendered individuals could be used by the government to restrict religious freedom in the United States, as is already being done in Canada and some European countries. Members of the House of Representatives warned that the bill's impact would make both sexual orientation, as well as cross-dressing, the equivalent of “race, religion and national origin.” “This bill proposes to prosecute someone based on their belief,” said Barrett Duke, VP for public policy for the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission.

No More God For You – Britain, a country which has operated with socialized medicine ever since World War II, heard calls from the public to cease payment for hospital chaplains. “People are shocked to learn that chaplaincy services are costing the hard-pressed [public funds] more than 40 million pounds a year,” Keith Porteous Wood, chief executive of the National Secular Society, said in an interview. Rev. Chris Swift, former president of the College of Health Care Chaplains, a multi-faith government office, told the BBC in response that Wood's report was based on “erroneous and simplistic assumptions.” Terry Anderson, President of the NSS, commented, “We are not asking for an end to chaplaincy services, but we are asking that the taxpayer not be made responsible for funding them.”

More next week. (Source: The Fellowship of St. James, www.touchstonemag.com)

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