Morning Roundup - July 11, 2012
The PCUSA votes down gay marriage. I was a bit surprised but, of course, the votes are trending in the direction of approval at a General Assembly in the future.
Members of the nation's largest Presbyterian denomination on Friday voted against a proposal that would have created a path to same-sex marriage ceremonies in the church.
After more than three hours of debate at the Presbyterian Church (USA)'s biennial General Assembly in Pittsburgh, voters struck down a proposal to legalize same-sex marriage, 338-308; no voters abstained.
The proposal would have changed the church's Book of Order to define marriage as between "two people." It would have required approval by a majority of the church's 173 presbyteries, or regional governing bodies, in order to become final.
Following Friday's vote, the church will keep its definition of marriage as being a union between "a man and a woman."
Many Christians believe corporal punishment is a biblical practice. Proverbs 13:24 says, "Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them." Still, other Christians believe children can be effectively disciplined in a non-physical way.
"I speak in favor in the land of Mr. Rogers. If we can't stand against hitting and abusing children, what can we stand for? Let us love them and not hit them," said Commissioner Susan Maara of New Hope Presbytery, according to the blog.
The General Assembly, which is meeting in Pittsburgh, Pa. through Saturday, voted 334 to 306 in favor of the resolution, which was sponsored by the Presbytery of Grace, with nine voters abstaining. The resolution also states that the church will now encourage "all states to enact licensing laws prohibiting corporal punishment in schools and day and residential childcare facilities."
I thought this was an interesting move on the part of my Canadian friends.
The Harper government is preparing to carve out a new role for Canada as a champion of religious rights abroad, another sign of the Conservative shift in foreign policy and one that has roots in the tragic 2011 assassination of a Pakistani cabinet minister.
Early in 2012, the Tories will finally flesh out a campaign promise to install the Office of Religious Freedom within the secular confines of the Department of Foreign Affairs - a controversial pledge that has drawn accusations of vote pandering and blurring lines between church and state.
The Conservatives are unapologetic about making a defence of the right to worship a central objective of Canadian foreign policy, noting, as a recent Pew Centre study found, that assaults around the world on religious freedom have increased in recent years.
This story should break your heart and make you ask why such a policy has now become acceptable in any society.
Officials have apologised to a Chinese woman who was forced to have an abortion while seven months pregnant and have suspended three people responsible for the incident.
The move came just days after shocking photographs emerged on the web showing the mother, Feng Jianmei, lying next to her blood-covered baby minutes after the procedure took place.
Officials have apologised in a move to allay public anger over the case, which has triggered renewed criticism of China's widely hated one-child limit.
Designed to control the country's exploding population, the policy has led to violent and forced abortions and sterilizations, as local authorities try to meet birth quotas set by Beijing.
In this latest case, Feng, 27, told local media that she was forceably injected with a chemical to induce an abortion and her child was stillborn 36 hours later at a hospital in Shaanxi province.