In the news this week, Egyptian churches give up on helping create new constitution, Oklahoma teen Tyler Alred sentenced to go to church after manslaughter conviction, Sikh religion joining California universities' curriculum, and other stories.
In another blow to Egypt’s democratic transition, representatives of the Muslim nation's three main Christian bodies jointly decided to end their participation in writing a new constitution.
“The constitution … in its current form does not meet the desired national consensus and does not reflect the pluralistic identity of Egypt,”said Bishop Pachomious, acting patriarch for the Coptic Orthodox Church. The announcement was made one day before Pope Tawadros II assumed the papal throne of St. Mark, the gospel writer.
A primary complaint is over the role of shari'ah. Article Two of Egypt's 1971 constitution, as well as the current draft of the new constitution, enshrines the "principles" of shari'ah to be the primary source of legislation. Pope Tawadros does not dispute the article as currently defined—including its designation of Islam as the religion of the state. But all churches reject its expansion. Christianity Today
An Oklahoma teen convicted of manslaughter has sentenced to 10 years of probation, with requirements that include regularly attending church. Tyler Alred, now 17, had been drinking when he crashed a pickup truck at around 4 a.m. on Dec. 3, 2011, Tulsa World reports. The accident killed Alred's friend, 16-year-old John Luke Dum, who was a passenger in the vehicle.
Instead of sentencing the teen to prison time, Judge Mike Norman gave him a 10-year deferred sentence. In order to stay out of prison, Alred must graduate from high school; graduate from welding school; take drug, alcohol and nicotine tests for a year; wear a drug and alcohol bracelet, take part in victim's impact panels, and attend church for the next 10 years. The Huffington Post
Mistaken for Muslims — and targeted — after 9/11, members of the faith have sought to educate Americans about the religion. UC Santa Cruz is the latest to offer a course.
The first slide professor Nirvikar Singh flashed on his PowerPoint showed the faces of six Sikh worshipers gunned down the previous month in Oak Creek, Wis., by a man with white supremacist ties. As after other attacks since 9/11, the UC Santa Cruz professor explained to students in this fall introductory course, the Wisconsin shooting revealed an abiding ignorance over who Sikhs are — and aren't.
"Despite being in this country for more than 100 years, I think Sikhs are not well understood," said Singh, a 58-year-old economist, dressed in jeans and a midnight blue turban. LA Times
A federal judge on Monday denied a legal challenge to President Barack Obama's signature health reforms, ruling that the owners of a $3 billion arts and crafts chain must provide emergency contraceptives in their group health care plan.
The owners of Hobby Lobby asked to be exempted from providing the "morning after" and "week after" pills on religious grounds, arguing this would violate their Christian belief that abortion is wrong. Judge Joe Heaton of the U.S. District for the Western District of Oklahoma denied the request for a preliminary injunction. Chicago Tribune
A Protestant man overlooked for a top job with Norther Ireland Water because of his religion has been awarded £150,000 (€116,600) in compensation.
Alan Lennon said the substantial sum reflected the seriousness of the discrimination he endured. "I am pleased that this case has finally been resolved," Dr Lennon said. "I took the case primarily to challenge what I believe to be serious flaws in the public appointments system and the level of compensation agreed marks the seriousness of what occurred." Irish Independent
On Monday, President Obama will become the first U.S. President to visit the long-isolated nation of Burma (Myanmar)—home to some of the world's longest-running persecuted Christians.
In response, leaders from the American Baptist Church, The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), and Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) urged the President to advocate for religious freedom in the Buddhist nation. Christianity Today