Survey: hostility towards religion increases in US
A report examining court cases from recent years has found that hostility towards religion has grown to unprecedented levels in the United States.
The newly-updated Survey of Religious Hostility in America serves as "a testament to the radical shift in our culture's world view" on religion, said Kelly Shackelford, president of Liberty Institute, and Tony Perkins, president of Family Research Council.
On 20 August, Shackelford and Perkins announced the release of the updated analysis, describing "more than 600 recent examples of religious hostility" in the US, with most from the last decade. The survey revealed that "hostility against religious liberty has reached an all-time high".
The survey's report observed a "new front" of attacks against churches and religious ministries in recent years. Five years ago, it said, it would have been "unthinkable" for the federal government to claim that it could "tell churches and synagogues which pastors and rabbis it can hire and fire."
And there had been an "explosion" within the last decade of "cases involving local governments discriminating against churches, particularly in the local governments' use of zoning laws and granting of permits." In one case, a Texas law required all seminaries to receive "state approval of their curriculum, board members, and professors."
Multiple challenges have been brought against veterans' memorials containing crosses and displays of the Ten Commandments at state courthouses and capitols and several cases have seen challenges to prayers for opening legislative assemblies, despite the fact that Congress has opened with prayer since the nation's beginning.
The report also noted the "alarming frequency" of attacks on religious liberty within schools. In one case, a federal judge threatened a high school valedictorian with "incarceration" if she did not remove references to Jesus from her graduation speech. In another, a student was asked "what Easter meant to her" but told that she could not mention the name of "Jesus."
Catholic News Agency
Nigerian scientist warns against birth control push
Obianuju Ekeocha, a biomedical scientist who is currently working in England has warned Melinda Gates to reconsider her push for birth control in poor countries, explaining that African women neither need nor want contraception.
She voiced her dismay at Gates' recent announcement that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation was securing $4.6 billion dollars to promote contraceptives in poor nations, including numerous African countries.
"Growing up in a remote town in Africa, I have always known that a new life is welcomed with much mirth and joy," said Dr Ekeocha in an open letter published on 10 August. "The first day of every baby's life is celebrated by the entire village."
Many of the nations to be targeted by Gates' initiative have large Catholic populations, and sex is highly regarded as "sacred and private," she said, explaining that unlike the Western world, many people in Africa are happily complying with Church teaching on sexuality.
"I see this $4.6 billion buying us misery," Ekeocha said. "I see it buying us unfaithful husbands. I see it buying us streets devoid of the innocent chatter of children."
More needed, she added, were programs that emphasise chastity, since Western influences have already confused many African girls about sexual morality.
A gift of $4.6 billion dollars "can indeed be your legacy to Africa and other poor parts of the world," Ekeocha told Gates. "But let it be a legacy that brings life, love and laughter into the world in need."