Gleanings: September 2013

Important developments in the church and the world.

Copts blamed for revolution

EGYPT Christians celebrated when Egypt's military ousted unpopular president Mohamed Morsi in July. But the situation quickly turned as the Muslim Brotherhood condemned the Coptic Orthodox Church for supporting the Tamarod (Arabic for "rebellion") protest movement. Anti-Christian violence surged after Pope Tawadros II publicly endorsed Morsi's removal. At least five Copts were killed and dozens more injured. Egyptians hope the intervention ignites an inclusive political process, but many fear a civil war.

Contraception mandate delayed until 2015

Amid mounting lawsuits from over 200 plaintiffs, the Obama administration expanded exemptions from the Affordable Care Act's contraception mandate. The rules now exempt nonprofit religious hospitals and institutions of higher education. And the government says it won't require religious employers to fulfill the mandate until January 2015. The new rules failed to placate some critics, such as evangelical-owned Hobby Lobby. The retail chain isn't covered by the exemption, but a court temporarily banned enforcement of the mandate against the for-profit. It ruled that challengers in the 60-plus lawsuits should not have "their legs cut out from under them while these difficult issues are resolved."

Ex-gay ministry after Exodus?

After Alan Chambers, president of Exodus International, announced in June that his group was shutting down after nearly four decades, onlookers are debating the future of ex-gay ministry. Chambers apologized to the gay community for "years of undue suffering and judgment at the hands of [Exodus] and the church as a whole." He drew praise from many—including other ex-gay ...

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