Though the issue of Syrian refugees dominated headlines this week, there also were several important developments concerning abortion and religious liberty. Key among them was the U.S. Attorney General’s admission that she hasn’t even viewed the undercover Planned Parenthood videos — and Planned Parenthood’s announcement that it will spend $20-million to defeat pro-life candidates! Meanwhile, the Supreme Court agreed to hear a key case that likely will determine the degree to which states can impose regulations on abortion clinics. It also will hear a case challenging the Obamacare contraceptive mandate. You’ll find these stories and more, including the latest on how the Christian community is responding to the refugee crisis, in this week’s Faith News in Focus!
Attorney General Hasn’t Reviewed Planned Parenthood Videos
U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch told the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee that she hasn’t reviewed the undercover videos that showed Planned Parenthood violated federal law by profiting from the sale of aborted fetuses.
The news of the Justice Department’s inaction comes as Planned Parenthood announces it plans to spend $20 million during the 2016 elections to attack pro-life candidates.
Supreme Court to Hear Cases on Abortion and Religious Liberty
The Supreme Court announced that it will hear a lawsuit brought by abortion business against a pro-life Texas law that requires abortion facilities to meet the same safety standards of other Ambulatory Surgical Centers in the state.
The Supreme Court also agreed to hear a case challenging the Obamacare contraceptive mandate. The case began when the Little Sister of the Poor, a Catholic charity, objected to a requirement that they provide insurance coverage for contraceptives, sterilization, and abortifacients, saying it violated their religious liberty.
Ben Carson Criticized For Terri Schiavo Comments
Ben Carson told a Republican group in Florida that the U.S. Congressional intervention during the Terri Schiavo case was “much ado about nothing.” The comments about Schiavo, who was at the center of a legal dispute between her husband and her family over whether to continue her feeding tube, raised eyebrows among pro-life groups. “Perhaps there is a disconnect when it comes to pro-life issues for Dr. Carson,” Schindler also said the comments “play into the hands of the death culture mentality.”
Carson said later that his comments were taken out of context: “I am steadfastly opposed to euthanasia. I have spent my entire career protecting life, especially the life of children.”
Christian Response to Syrian Refugee Crisis Varies
So far 27 governors have announced that they are closing their states to Syrian refugees in response to the terrorist attacks in Paris last week. Responses from Christians have varied. I will discuss this controversial, yet critically important, issue with conservative filmmaker, Dinesh D’Souza, who opposes Syrian immigration, and Rich Stearns, President of World Vision, who supports it, on Up For Debate tomorrow at 11 a.m. CST.
Indonesia’s “Religious Harmony” Law Closed 1,000 Churches
Christianity Today reports that more than 1,000 Christian churches have closed in Indonesia since a “religious harmony” law was passed in 2006. The law requires minority religious groups — which includes Christianity — to collect signatures from people in the majority religious group before they can build new buildings or relocate. Indonesia has the world’s largest Muslim population.
Christian University Extends Benefits to Married Same-Sex Couples
Grand Canyon University announced Friday that they will extend benefits to partners of employees in same-sex marriages. But the Christian university says it will not change its belief that marriage is a sacred union between a man and a woman. “We’re going to honor the government’s decision to legalize same-sex marriage, and we’re going to help those people who want those benefits,” GCU President and CEO Brian Mueller said. “But we’re going to do that without changing our core conviction about what marriage is.”