News

Pro-Lifers "March for Life" in D.C.

Now that the inauguration is over and a new president is in office, pro life advocates are starting their uphill legal battle with strength of numbers, the Christian Post reports. January 22 marked the 36th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the court decision that effectively legalized abortion, and pro-lifers remembered the day with the national March for Life in Washington, D.C.

Last year's event drew tens of thousands of people to D.C. for the march down Constitution Avenue. "While millions are celebrating the Inauguration of President Obama, it is critical to be a voice and witness for those who have no voice-that is the 53,000,000 innocent children that have been lost through abortion," said the Rev. Patrick J. Mahoney, director of the Christian Defense Coalition.

According to March for Life organizers, President Obama had been invited to speak at the rally on the National Mall, but did not acknowledge the invitation. His predecessor, George W. Bush, participated in the rally by phone.

Religion Today Summaries

Chinese Government to Increase Fines for Violating One-Child Policy

The chief of Beijing's family planning commission has revealed the Chinese government's plans to continue its population control policies as well as crack down on families violating the nation's one-child policy with higher fines.

According to China Daily, Deng Xingzhou indicated that "the public feels strongly against those who have more children just because they can afford to pay the fines, we are thinking of collecting much higher social maintenance fees from those who go against the policy."

Deng also said that the country's notorious population-control program, which includes forced sterilizations and abortions, would remain unmoved "for another 20 years, when the country's population reaches a projected peak of 1.5 billion."

In Beijing, the fine for having too many children is computed based on the average income per capita, and is usually about three to eight times that figure.

Government forces in the Guangdong and Hubei provinces have been the most severe in punishing families with too many children. In 2007, a Hubei entrepreneur was fined 760,000 Yuan (about $111,000, or roughly 30 times Beijing's per capita annual income) for having a second child.

While the U.S. has to date opposed China's "family planning" policy, the relationship is expected to change radically with the Obama administration. President Obama has criticized the U.S. government's refusal to promote population-control methods such as sterilization, contraception, and abortion worldwide in cooperation with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

Among other projects, UNFPA helped China formulate and set up its population control policies and procedures.

Congressman Chris Smith (R-N.J.), a leading voice among U.S. politicians decrying China's egregious human rights violations, said,"It is long past time for the UNFPA to sever its ties with China's one-child-per-couple family planning program that relies on forced abortion, involuntary sterilization and heavy economic penalties on women to achieve its results," he said.

Smith called on other countries to "look at the evidence and hold the UNFPA and the Chinese population control program accountable at The Hague for crimes against humanity. Tens of millions of children have been slaughtered-their mothers robbed of their children by the State."

LifeSiteNews

Kazakhstan Delays Implementation of New Religion Law

Mission News Network reports that Kazakhstan's president has not signed a restrictive religion bill yet, delaying its impact to Christians. According to Joel Griffith with Slavic Gospel Association, the president referred the bill to the country's Constitutional Council for review.

"Kazakhstan is supposed to assume the chairmanship of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe in 2010. And, of course, any member of the organization is supposed to adhere to basic human rights standards. Some think perhaps that might be possibly why he referred this to the constitutional court," Griffith said. The bill is similar to a new Kyrgyzstan law, as it restricts proselytizing and requires both parents' permission for a child to attend any religious event.

Religion Today Summaries

Gideons Mark 100 Years of Giving out the Bible

USA Today reports that Gideons International is celebrating its 100th anniversary and the placement of almost 1.5 billion Gideon Scriptures worldwide since the 1908.

"This is not a church-sponsored, clergy-led effort," said Leith Anderson, president of the National Association of Evangelicals, an umbrella group for evangelical churches and organizations. "It's individuals who go around and distribute Bibles. It's an astonishing accomplishment."

The group, comprised of evangelical business and professional men, hopes to step up its U.S. distribution of Scriptures in celebration. "We always work in the present and look to the future. We're a very low-profile organization. That's been our underlining philosophy. For us, we look to be around another 100 years," said Gideons executive director Jerry Burden.

Religion Today Summaries

Nation's First Government-Funded Abortion Alternatives Program Helps 20,000 Women in 2007-08

Real Alternatives, the statewide program administrator for the award winning Pennsylvania Alternative to Abortion Services Program, has reported that in fiscal year 2007 -2008 a record 19,742 women were provided comprehensive counseling, mentoring, and support.

In 2007-2008 the program received its highest funding of $6.5 million per year by the Commonwealth's Department of Public Welfare.

"We have seen a steady decrease in annual abortions since the start of the program 13 years ago," said Kevin Bagatta, Real Alternatives President & CEO. "To date, the citizens of Pennsylvania have placed $59 million of tax payer funds to provide pregnancy and parenting support services to 150,000 women experiencing an unplanned or crisis pregnancy. We are striving for the day when no woman in the Commonwealth feels that she must have an abortion-that is what the program is about."

Bagatta said, "This state-funded support program is the only program to lower abortions after there is a crisis pregnancy. It continues to work because of the approximately 500 counselors and mentors statewide meeting the needs of women in unplanned and crisis pregnancies.

"By providing a counselor to be with the woman in need from the moment she finds out she is pregnant to 12 months after the birth of the baby, this program empowers her to overcome her obstacles and crisis. She is not alone. She knows someone is with her to help her. An alternative to abortion is not a pamphlet, it is another person it is one woman seeing another woman in crisis and loving her and supporting her like she is her own daughter. This program represents the best in America."

LifeSiteNews

University Refuses Funds to Christian Groups

OneNewsNow reports that Christian groups on the Boise State University campus are taking legal action over what they call funding discrimination by the school. Casey Mattox, an attorney with the Christian Legal Society representing the groups, said, "The students are forced to pay the money, but the students with religious student groups - their groups can never get the money."

University officials argue that Idaho's constitution "prohibits them from giving equal treatment to religious groups," OneNewsNow wrote. The school does, however, offer funds to the Secular Student Alliance. Mattox contends such viewpoint discrimination is incorrect, explaining that the "Supreme Court held over a decade ago that public universities may not exclude student religious groups from student activity fee funding."

Religion Today Summaries

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