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Anne Reiner

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Persecuted need U.S. help, advocates say

[QUOTE@right@200=“Christians wear their Sunday best to go to church, and it turns out to be their funeral clothing.” -– Emmanuel Ogebe]WASHINGTON (BP) — The United States must make the fight against persecution a priority, religious liberty advocates said recently. “As the Apostle Paul taught the early church to respond to the needs of fellow believers […]

Hate speech in Saudi textbooks challenged

[QUOTE@right@180="Hate speech is the precursor to genocide"
-- U.S. publishers' appeal to Saudi Arabia]WASHINGTON (BP) -- The United States government and religious leaders should press the Saudi Arabian government to remove hate speech from its textbooks, a key congressman said in affirming an appeal from U.S. major publishers.

Hate speech in Saudi textbooks challenged

[QUOTE@right@180="Hate speech is the precursor to genocide"
-- U.S. publishers' appeal to Saudi Arabia]WASHINGTON (BP) -- The United States government and religious leaders should press the Saudi Arabian government to remove hate speech from its textbooks, a key congressman said in affirming an appeal from U.S. major publishers.

Southern Baptist contingent in Congress grows

WASHINGTON (BP) — Southern Baptist representation in Congress increased in the latest election — its highest number in recent history. Each Southern Baptist up for re-election in the Senate and House of Representatives held his seat Nov. 6. In addition, five members of Southern Baptist churches won races as non-incumbents. Five Southern Baptists joined the […]

Southern Baptist contingent in Congress grows

WASHINGTON (BP) — Southern Baptist representation in Congress increased in the latest election — its highest number in recent history. Each Southern Baptist up for re-election in the Senate and House of Representatives held his seat Nov. 6. In addition, five members of Southern Baptist churches won races as non-incumbents. Five Southern Baptists joined the […]

Panel debates gay rights vs. religious liberty

WASHINGTON (BP) — Violence against homosexuals overseas should be opposed, but their rights should not take precedence over religious freedom, said a Southern Baptist church-state expert. “We certainly don’t think people should be imprisoned or discriminated against because of their sexual orientation; we also don’t think they should have special protections,” Richard Land told Baptist […]

Panel debates gay rights vs. religious liberty

WASHINGTON (BP) — Violence against homosexuals overseas should be opposed, but their rights should not take precedence over religious freedom, said a Southern Baptist church-state expert. “We certainly don’t think people should be imprisoned or discriminated against because of their sexual orientation; we also don’t think they should have special protections,” Richard Land told Baptist […]

Marijuana-dependent teens’ loss of I.Q. poses long-term dangers

WASHINGTON (BP) -- New evidence of marijuana's negative effect on intelligence and, yet, its increasing use by teenagers shows the need to educate young people and prevent the drug's legalization, a Southern Baptist ethics leader says. [QUOTE@left@120="We must redouble our efforts to educate young people about the dangers of marijuana use." -- Barrett Duke]Individuals who use marijuana during their teenage years have an average drop in I.Q. of eight points and are vulnerable to mental health problems, according to a study by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) released in August. This news followed a May report that showed marijuana use among teens has grown by 21 percent since 2008. The PNAS study "adds additional support to the necessity of keeping marijuana out of the hands of adolescents," said Barrett Duke, vice president for public policy and research at the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. "The significant impact marijuana can have on the I.Q. of teens is alarming. We must redouble our efforts to educate young people about the dangers of marijuana use." The study's release came as more states prepare to vote on whether to legalize marijuana use. Voters in Colorado, Washington and Oregon will determine Nov. 6 if they want to legalize marijuana for recreational use. Arkansas and Massachusetts voters, meanwhile, will decide whether to legalize marijuana for medical use. Medical marijuana already is legal in 17 states and the District of Columbia. Teens' use of marijuana will increase even more if it becomes legal, Duke said.

Marijuana-dependent teens’ loss of I.Q. poses long-term dangers

WASHINGTON (BP) -- New evidence of marijuana's negative effect on intelligence and, yet, its increasing use by teenagers shows the need to educate young people and prevent the drug's legalization, a Southern Baptist ethics leader says. [QUOTE@left@120="We must redouble our efforts to educate young people about the dangers of marijuana use." -- Barrett Duke]Individuals who use marijuana during their teenage years have an average drop in I.Q. of eight points and are vulnerable to mental health problems, according to a study by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) released in August. This news followed a May report that showed marijuana use among teens has grown by 21 percent since 2008. The PNAS study "adds additional support to the necessity of keeping marijuana out of the hands of adolescents," said Barrett Duke, vice president for public policy and research at the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. "The significant impact marijuana can have on the I.Q. of teens is alarming. We must redouble our efforts to educate young people about the dangers of marijuana use." The study's release came as more states prepare to vote on whether to legalize marijuana use. Voters in Colorado, Washington and Oregon will determine Nov. 6 if they want to legalize marijuana for recreational use. Arkansas and Massachusetts voters, meanwhile, will decide whether to legalize marijuana for medical use. Medical marijuana already is legal in 17 states and the District of Columbia. Teens' use of marijuana will increase even more if it becomes legal, Duke said.

State-by-state advocacy of U.S. religious liberty launches

WASHINGTON (BP) -- Representatives from nine state legislatures have announced the formation of state-level religious freedom caucuses in a new nationwide effort to combat religious discrimination. "There is a renewed interest in religious freedom in the country, and this growing attention is bringing together people of all religious faiths and political ideologies," Tim Schultz of the American Religious Freedom Program (ARFP) said during a teleconference Oct. 9. "Freedom of religion is a right that all lawmakers, and this includes state legislators, have a role in protecting and defending. "This is not an issue just for the courts," Schultz noted. With the assistance of a bipartisan group of more than 120 lawmakers -- 16 were present for the teleconference -- ARFP plans to inaugurate religious freedom caucuses in all 50 states by the end of 2013. The current states with caucuses are Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Kansas, Missouri, New Hampshire, Oklahoma and Tennessee. The formation of these caucuses is based on two ideas, Schultz said: 1) Religious freedom is important to the majority of Americans from all faiths, and these individuals oppose "state-sponsored injury to religion" and 2) the free exercise of religion is a constitutional right that is foundational to all freedoms and must be protected by state lawmakers. Schultz -- state policy director for the AFRP, which is an initiative of the Washington-based Ethics and Public Policy Center -- explained how the caucuses will function: -- Even though these are the first state caucuses with a religious freedom agenda, they will work in a manner similar to other legislative caucuses. -- Each caucus will consist of lawmakers who come together to discuss various public policy issues pertaining to freedom of religion both in their state and throughout the country. -- There will be a multi-state information-sharing component to connect the caucuses across the country. This will help build legislative expertise beyond that of a single caucus in one state capital. State Rep. Stephen Precourt of Florida said during the teleconference, "Religious freedom caucuses -- that is, legislators of all political and religious affiliations working together ...