By Jeffrey Walton, Institute on Religion and Democracy
A Sudanese woman sentenced to die for her faith, church disputes and friction between religious freedom and LGBTQ causes made news throughout 2014. Below are IRD’s top church news stories for the year.
Christian Woman in Sudan Sentenced to Death on Charges of Apostasy, Adultery: A Christian woman sentenced to death by a Sudanese court after refusing to recant her faith was eventually freed after widespread outcry. Mariam Yahya Ibrahim was charged with apostasy and adultery for marrying a South Sudanese Christian man and gave birth to a daughter while in shackles.
Supreme Court Rules for Hobby Lobby in Religious Liberty Case:The U.S. Supreme Court ruled against Obamacare’s HHS mandate compelling religious employers to subsidize insurance for contraceptives and abortifacients. The case split religious groups, with oldine churches largely endorsing the mandate while Catholic Bishops, Orthodox Jews, Evangelicals and Christian Colleges identified the mandate as an assault on religious liberty.
Presbyterians Divest from Israel: Amid spiraling membership, overtures to redefine marriage to a relationship between any “two people” and ending denominational investments with companies that do business with Israel were adopted at the Presbyterian Church (USA) General Assembly in June. Overtures required church agencies to divest themselves of holdings in Motorola Solutions, Hewlett Packard and Caterpillar, which all sell non-lethal equipment used by the Israeli military.