News Update - March 2015

PCUSA Formally Approves Gay Marriage in Church Constitution
The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has formally recognized homosexual marriage and will allow same-sex weddings. The Church approved a new definition of marriage in the church, which includes "commitment between two people." The definition was approved last year by the church General Assembly, but needed approval from a majority of the 171 regional districts. The 86th vote was cast Tuesday night.

The new definition reads: "Marriage involves a unique commitment between two people, traditionally a man and a woman, to love and support each other for the rest of their lives."

Fox News reports the change will officially take effect June 21. Under the new definition, clergy are not required to preside at a gay marriage; they can decide. According to reports, 41 regional districts voted against the redefinition.

"We hope that such up/down' voting does not mark the end, but the continuation of our desire to live in community," the two top General Assembly officials said in a statement released this week. Still, Carmen Fowler LaBerge, president of the Presbyterian Lay Committee, is encouraging Presbyterians to stop donating to the national church until the original definition is restored.

Christian Headlines Daily

Meriam Ibrahim: I Don't Support I Am a Christian Film 
Filmmakers are working on a project to bring Meriam Ibrahim's story to the big screen, but the Sudanese Christian says she has not approve of the film being made. 

Ibrahim was raised a Christian from childhood and married a Christian man. However, the Sudanese government viewed the marriage as illegitimate since Ibrahim's father was a Muslim. She was charged with apostasy and sentenced to 100 lashes and death by hanging, all the time refusing to renounce her Christian faith. 

The persecuted Christian woman now says she did not give production company Christian Lives Matter consent to make the film I Am a Christian, telling the group that she has already accepted another company's offer. Ibrahim's husband Daniel Wani said that they felt Christian Lives Matter was "taking advantage of them." 

Ibrahim told Christian Today that she feels as if she is imprisoned in Sudan all over again. The filmmakers are "killing me and killing my dream," she said. 

Christian Headlines Daily

Religious Tensions Simmer across Pakistan following Church Bombings
Tensions simmered across Pakistan between the Muslim majority and Christians following deadly gun-and-bomb attacks on two churches and the subsequent killing of two Muslims on March 15.

At least 17 people, including two policemen, have succumbed to their injuries from the suicide attacks in Lahore's Youhanabad area, which targeted Christ Church Youhanabad and St. John's Catholic Church during Sunday Mass. Christians on March 16 filled roads to protest against the attacks, and one Christian youth was killed and 15 others were wounded in Lahore as violent protests spread from Youhanabad to other parts of the country.

Tensions between Christians and Muslims were such that police had to use tear gas and water cannons to disperse protestors. By evening, the Punjab Home Department had to deploy three companies of paramilitary force, Pakistan Rangers, in the area after a violent standoff between local Muslim and Christian youths from Youhanabad and adjacent localities.

The two Muslims killed were accused of being accomplices of the terrorists and had been handed over to police soon after the bombings. While some local people told Morning Star News that they "had heard that the two suspects were armed with pistols and were firing their weapons at the locals," others said that the men were suicide bombers who intended to target a third church in the area.

At least two young suicide attackers blew themselves up-one at each church building-just when services were ending. Both attacks were foiled by Christian security volunteers, who confronted the terrorists with bravery and laid down their lives to protect the 2,000 people worshipping at the two churches.

Morning Star News

Mother Ignores Doctors' Advice to Abort Child, Baby Survives at 26 Weeks
A mother who refused to abort her baby despite doctors' advice is celebrating her son's first birthday this week. Michelle Moloney gave birth to "miracle" baby Michael at only 26 weeks. The child weighed only one pound 12 ounces and was born with lung damage. 

Moloney's water broke at 18 weeks; doctors told her that the baby would not survive and recommended inducing labor which would cause the child to die upon delivery. The alternative was to let nature take its course and she would likely miscarry within 10 days. 

The Daily Mail reports Moloney said, "I felt my baby kick in the early hours. It was such a definite kick-the reassurance that every expectant mum longs for. Just a few hours later, my waters broke. I felt terrified. It was absolutely devastating. The baby was very scrunched up and very tiny. Doctors said they could either induce labour or let nature take its course in up to ten days. I could feel my baby move. There was no way I could go through with an induction."

After refusing to induce labor, Moloney went home where she miraculously carried her son for several more weeks. At 24 weeks, she was admitted to the hospital where she stayed until Michael was born two weeks later. Moloney said, "It was touch and go in the early days. He's a miracle. I'm so thankful we have our little boy."

Christian Headlines Daily

Boko Haram Pledges Loyalty to Brutal Islamic State
Boko Haram's leader has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State in a new audio message, according to a group that monitors extremist activity.

In the recording, a man claiming to be Abubakar Shekau, leader of the Nigerian terrorist group that has killed thousands, vowed to follow Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the U.S.-based SITE Intel Group, announced on March 7.

"We announce our allegiance to the Caliph of the Muslimsand will hear and obey in times of difficulty and prosperity, in hardship and ease, and to endure being discriminated against, and not to dispute about rule with those in power, except in case of evident infidelity regarding that which there is a proof from Allah," Shekau said in a tweeted message that went along with the video, according to the Associated Press. Al-Baghdadi is the self-proclaimed head of the caliphate.

Flashpoint Intelligence, a global security firm, confirmed the recording to NBC News and said it was posted on Boko Haram social media accounts. USA Today was not able to independently verify the message. The pledge would make Boko Haram the largest extremist group to agree to fight under the Islamic State, The New York Times reported. Still, it's uncertain what level of coordination the two terrorism groups would have, though there has been growing signs of a link between them.

Christian Headlines Daily

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