Christian Extremist Group Taunts American Arabs With Pig’s Head: News Roundup

In the news: Roman Catholic groups embark on Fortnight for Freedom, Evangelicals and Catholics support Obama’s immigration decisions, Christian groups taunt American Arabs in Dearborn, and other stories.

Roman Catholic groups on Thursday embarked on a two-week campaign of prayer vigils, rallies and other events to draw attention to what they consider government attacks on religious freedom.
 
Called the "Fortnight for Freedom," bishops organized the education campaign during liturgical feasts for martyred defenders of the faith. Independent advocacy groups such as CatholicVote.org and Women Speak For Themselves, have joined the effort with TV ads, videos, Facebook appeals and petition drives.
 
While the religious freedom campaign includes protests against state laws and policies, the bishops' immediate target is the mandate President Barack Obama announced in January that most employers provide health insurance that covers birth control. Federal officials said the rule was critical to women's health by helping them space out pregnancies. Associated Press
 
President Barack Obama is receiving political cover for his decision to stop deporting some young illegal immigrants from two big groups with whom his relations have been rocky: evangelical Christians and Catholics.
 
“We do give credit where credit is due,” said Kevin Appleby, director of Migration and Public Affairs for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, on Friday, when Obama made his announcement. CNN
 
Tensions flared Friday evening at the annual Arab International Festival in Dearborn as members of some Christian missionary groups — including one called the Bible Believers — taunted Arab Americans with a pig’s head and signs that promoted hatred of Islam.
 
“You’re gonna burn in hell,” one missionary shouted at a group of young Arab-American boys listening to him speak on Warren Avenue, where the festival takes place. Detroit Free Press
 
Eighteen percent of Americans say they would not vote for a well-qualified presidential candidate who happens to be a Mormon, virtually the same as the 17% who held this attitude in 1967.
 
The exact percentage of Americans who resist the idea of voting for a Mormon has varied slightly over the eight times Gallup has asked the question, typically when a Mormon was running for president, including George Romney (1968 campaign), Orrin Hatch (2000 campaign), and Mitt Romney (2008 and 2012 campaigns). The percentage opposed to a Mormon president has averaged 19% since 1967 — from a low of 17% at several points to a high of 24% in 2007. The current 18% is down from 22% a year ago. Gallup
 
The largest U.S. Protestant denomination chose its first black president on Tuesday, an historic election for the predominately white religious group as it seeks to better reflect the diversity of the country and its membership.
 
Fred Luter, a New Orleans pastor and civic leader, ran unopposed for the top post in the 167-year-old Southern Baptist Convention, which counts a growing number of minorities among its 16 million members. Chicago Tribune