The United Methodist Church will soon implement changes to its employee insurance coverage that will increase out-of-pocket expenses due to the Affordable Care Act.
In late August the Board of Directors for the UMC General Council on Finance and Administration agreed to revise the insurance coverage for bishops and general church employees.
Pope Francis has urged every Catholic parish and religious community in Europe to take in at least one refugee family and help Europe with its migrant crisis, noting that the Vatican would take two families itself. With hundreds of thousands of refugees making their way toward Western Europe, countries such as Germany and Austria are said to be near the "tipping point" of how much they can help.
"May every parish, every religious community, every monastery, every sanctuary of Europe, take in one family" Francis told the crowds at St. Peter's Square on Sunday.
"Before the tragedy of tens of thousands of refugees fleeing death in conflict and hunger and are on a journey of hope, the Gospel calls us to be close to the smallest and to those who have been abandoned," he added, according to Vatican Radio. more >>
Nagmeh Abedini, wife of American pastor Saeed Abedini who has been imprisoned in Iran for his Christian faith since 2012, has made an impassioned plea to meet with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, when he travels to New York City later this month, in hopes to personally lobby the president for her husband's freedom.
In a letter posted by the American Center for Law and Justice, which was sent to the Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations last month, Nagmeh Abedini highlighted the suffering of her family and the need to have her husband back home.
"… For the last three years, our family has greatly suffered in the absence of my husband and my children's father. Saeed is currently being held in Rajaei Shahr prison in Gohardasht. Saeed is not a criminal. Saeed is not a threat to Iran or the stability of its government," she wrote. more >>
In a rare act of dissent, five circuit judges have denounced a ruling by a federal court against a group of nuns trying to get an exemption from the federal government's birth control mandate, calling the decision "clearly and gravely wrong."
In July, a three-judge panel of the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the Little Sisters of the Poor, arguing that the Catholic order cannot be exempted from the Department of Health and Human Services' birth control mandate.
In the dissent published Thursday, five circuit judges argued that the panel decision against the nuns was "clearly and gravely wrong — on an issue that has little to do with contraception and a great deal to do with religious liberty." more >>
President Barack Obama has reportedly secured enough support in the U.S. Senate to pass the much-debated nuclear deal with Iran, despite widespread conservative opposition. GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee has responded to the news by warning of a "mushroom cloud" to "wake up" Americans.
BBC News reported that Democrat Barbara Mikulski of Maryland declared her support for the deal on Wednesday, making her the 34th senator to do so. Obama now has enough votes to prevent Congress from overriding his potential veto of a bill to kill the Iran deal. The deal cuts off "every pathway to a nuclear weapon" for Iran, Obama noted.
While Congress is scheduled to vote on the deal later in September, Obama is confident he will secure the seven additional votes needed for a filibuster, which would mean the anti-Iran-deal bill would never pass in the first place. more >>
Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards admitted to Congress on Thursday that a Planned Parenthood clinic involved in fetal tissue research currently sells aborted baby body parts for $60 per baby, which critics say far exceeds what is allowed by law for reimbursement costs.
Planned Parenthood also released a report on the series of undercover videos appearing to show Planned Parenthood's involvement in the illegal harvesting and selling of aborted baby parts. The report, paid for by Planned Parenthood and from a liberal research group that has conducted opposition research for the Democratic Party, claims the videos falsely represent Planned Parenthood.
In a letter sent to congressional leaders addressing the recent undercover video series produced by the Center for Medical Progress that attempts to expose legal violations within the the abortion giant's fetal tissue reimbursement practices, Richards claimed that CMP's videos are nothing more than a "smear" campaign and asserted that her organization has violated no laws. more >>