By Christy Barritt
Department of Justice Argues Against Traditional Marriage
The U.S. Department of Justice filed a brief with the U.S. Supreme court, arguing that a federal law defining marriage as a union between one man and one woman is unconstitutional and discriminates against homosexuals.
The federal Defense of Marriage Act, which was signed by President Clinton in 1996, affirms that marriage is the union of one man and one woman. The issue that the DOJ is focusing on within DOMA is Section 3, which they say violates the fundamental constitutional guarantee of equal protection. As it stands now, DOMA denies federal benefits such as insurance to same-sex couples, even if they’re living in a state where same sex marriage is legal.
The DOJ is working to strike down the “anti-gay” portion of this law in order to promote equality on a federal level.
Many Christians are fighting to keep the definition of marriage as it stands currently—a union of one man and one woman.
Second Degree Murder Charges Sought in Abortion Death
The pro-life group Operation Rescue has filed a formal complaint with the Maryland Board of Physicians against late-term abortionist LeRoy Carhart. In addition, the organization is asking the Maryland Attorney General’s office to bring second-degree murder charges against Carhart after one of his patients died earlier this year.
Carhart performed an abortion on Jennifer Morbelli, a 29-year-old kindergarten teacher, when she was 33-weeks pregnant. Even though Morbelli appeared “weak and pale” according to witnesses, Carhart reportedly left his patient before she stabilized from the surgery in order to fly back to his home in Nebraska.
Just hours later, Morbelli’s condition worsened, and Carhart was unable to be reached. Morbelli died in the emergency room from abortion complications.
Operation Rescue president Troy Newman said, “We are working through every legal channel available to make sure Carthart is brought to justice before he kills again.”
Ethiopian Christians Arrested in Saudi Arabia
Fifty-three Ethiopian Christians have been arrested in Saudi Arabia during a private worship service.
Those arrested were foreign workers living in the country. The Saudi religious police, known as the mutawa, took them into custody for worshipping someone other than Muhammad. Three of the workers have been charged with seeking to convert Muslims to Christianity.
Just last year, the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia said that all churches in the country should be destroyed, even though the country claims to tolerate other faiths. Many religious freedom watchdog groups have said that the arrests of Christians in that country are on the rise.
The U.S. has condemned these arrests.
“Nations that wish to be a part of the responsible nations of the world must see the protection of religious freedom and the principles of reason as an essential part of the duty of the state,” said Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, who sits on the Caucus on Religion Minorities in the Middle East.
Iceland Seeks to Ban “Violent or Degrading” Pornography
The government in Iceland plans to ban online access to pornography in an effort to protect children there from being exposed to inappropriate images.
Interior Minister Ogmundur Jonasson introduced the bill. He said the legislation is necessary in order to shield children from violent sexual images. “Violent pornography . . . has a very harmful effect on young people and can have a clear link to incidences of violent crime,” said Ogmundur.
Opponents of the bill are arguing that this bill will lead to censorship and impede on free speech.
However, a spokesperson for Jonasson said that there are types of unlawful behavior that cannot be regarded as “freedom of expression.”
Since pornography is already illegal in Iceland (although the law is rarely enforced), lawmakers are seeking to clarify what types of photos should be banned, as well as formulate ideas on how to effectively monitor pornographic images.
Christy Barritt is an award-winning author, freelance writer, and speaker living in Chesapeake, Virginia. She and her husband Scott have two sons.