Tuesday News Briefing: Hobby Lobby avoids fines – for now

Meredith Flynn —  January 22, 2013

THE BRIEFING | Meredith Flynn

The craft retailer has shifted the plan year for its employee health insurance, thereby avoiding for several months up to $1.3 million a day in federal fines. Hobby Lobby is being penalized for refusing to cover abortion-inducing drugs in its employee health care plans. “Hobby Lobby will continue to vigorously defend its religious liberty and oppose the mandate and any penalties,” said attorney Peter Dobelbower. Full story at BPNews.net.

Weddings are Cathedral’s ‘next step’
Leaders of Washington’s National Cathedral announced this month the church will begin hosting same-sex weddings using a marriage rite developed by the Episcopal Church for same-sex couples. Rev. Gary Hall, dean of the Cathedral, said offering the weddings is the “next logical step” in the church’s evolving teaching on marriage. Full story at CNN’s Belief blog.

Is homosexuality a sin?
That’s the question measured in a new survey by LifeWay Research, which found that fewer Americans now believe homosexual behavior is a sin that in 2011. The study found 37% of U.S. adults answered “yes,” down from 44% the previous year. LifeWay Research President Ed Stetzer said the shift could be attributed to President Obama’s support of same-sex marriage. “The president’s evolution on homosexuality probably impacted the evolution of cultural values – there is a real and substantive shift, surprisingly large for a one-year timeframe – though this was hardly a normal year on this issue.” Read more about the survey at LifeWayResearch.com.

Warren tells ‘Oprah’ watchers: Read John
The Gospel of John got an unusual TV shout-out recently from Pastor Rick Warren. Appearing on Oprah Winfrey’s “Lifeclass,” Warren urged the audience to read the Bible book and also encouraged them to listen to God, instead of the world. “God says you’re valuable, you’re capable, you’re forgivable, you’re usable. You listen to the right thing, not the wrong thing.” Full story at ChristianPost.com.

CP up 1.7% in 2012
Giving through the Southern Baptist Cooperative Program in 2012 was 1.7% above the previous year. As of December 31, 2012, contributions to SBC national and international ministries and missions totaled $45,019,759. “After several years of serious financial difficulties, I am guardedly optimistic that the economic prospects of our people have begun to stabilize, said SBC Executive Committee President Frank Page. Full story at BPNews.net.

Meredith Flynn

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Meredith is managing editor of the Illinois Baptist newspaper.