News You Should Know: 4 Stories Happening Now

Iraq Christian Persecution, 9-11 Cross Memorial, Planned Parenthood Report, and More.

By Emily Conley, Social Content Editor

1. #WeAreN.

When rebel group Islamic State of Iraq (ISIS) captured Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, thousands of Christians were given the options to convert to Islam, pay a tax, leave, or die. These families woke one morning to see that their houses had been marked with a spray-painted sign – the sign of “Nazarene,” marking them as Christians.

According to USA Today, ISIS seized the Christians’ money, confiscated their houses, businesses, and anything of value, including their wedding rings, so that paying the tax wasn’t an option. As they tried to flee, they also took their cars. Those that escaped the “religious cleansing” are taking refuge in Kurdistan.

Thousands rallied around the world to stand with these believers, taking to Twitter to change their profile photos to the Nazarene symbol and using the hashtags #WeAreN and #IamNazarene. Their efforts are bringing much-needed attention to the situation, but many believe that more needs to be done.

Lebanon-based Patriarch Ignace Joseph III Younan, who heads the Syrian Catholic Church, implored Christians to act. “I want to tell American Christians to stand up, wake up and no longer be a silent majority. American-elected representatives need to stand up for their principles on which the U.S. has been founded: the defense of religious freedom … and respect for human rights.”

2. World Trade Center Cross Victory.

This week, a court ruled that the 9-11 Cross can go on display at the Ground Zero Memorial. We first told you about this case in 2011, when atheists sued to keep the cross, a 17-foot beam discovered by rescue workers in the wreckage after the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attack, out of the National September 11 Memorial and Museum. The 2nd Circuit said that the cross was “a symbol of hope” and historical in nature, and did not intentionally discriminate against the atheists.

3. Executive Order.

Last week, President Obama signed an executive order demanding that only organizations who agree with the administration’s view of sexuality are eligible to receive government contracts, refusing requests from Christian and other religious faith leaders to include robust religious protections in the text of the order.

4. #PlannedWaste.

We recently made public our annual report on Planned Parenthood, “Profit. No Matter What.” The audits for fiscal year 2013 found a total of more than $115 million in waste, abuse, and potential fraud in federal and state family planning funding programs, the majority of which goes to Planned Parenthood. More on this to come here on the blog in the next week.

Any stories I should include in my next round up? Suggest them to me on Twitter at @Emily_ADF.

Author: Alliance Defending Freedom