Pope’s US Visit Ends, Ben Carson Speaks on Muslims, Syrian Refugee Crisis Continues

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President Barack Obama bids farewell to Pope Francis following a private audience at the Vatican, March 27, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Here’s what you need to know in Christian News for Nov. 13:

Pope’s US visit comes to a close

by Cierra Carter

Pope Francis wrapped up his first trip to the U.S. in Philadelphia Sunday, Sept. 27. The historic trip garnered lots of attention as the pope visited Washington D.C., New York City and Philadelphia during his six-day visit. Among other things, the pope met with President Barack Obama, led Mass, and met with those in spiritual and economic need. Pope Francis was vocal during his stay in the states, speaking on major issues like global warming and even meeting with the previously jailed Kentucky clerk Kim Davis. Spreading his message of unity, the pope was a dynamic figure during his trip, even stopping to take selfies with the masses of thousands eager to get a glimpse.

Georgia Executes First Female since 1945

by Cierra Carter

The only female on Georgia’s death row, Kelly Gissendander was executed early Wednesday morning after a five-hour delay. Gissendander pleaded guilty to conspiring to kill her former husband in 1997 and was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. Gissendaner said she found Christ during her time in prison, which inspired her to earn a theology degree. Her execution was postponed twice in the past, for reasons unrelated to current petitions. Gissendander’s children rallied to support their mother despite her past actions, even asking for a clemency considering the new life that she has found behind prison walls.

Obama Addresses Refugee Crisis

by Cierra Carter

President Barack Obama addressed the UN General Assembly, speaking about the ongoing refugee crisis in Europe. The president blasted Syrian leaders for their actions over the past few months that lead to the mass murder of innocent Syrians. Obama highlighted the need for countries to come together to stop the senseless killing. It looks as if a continued dialogue of some sorts will have to come from the UN meeting as conditions continue to grow worse. Various other topics, as well, will be on the international agenda this week, ranging from Cuba to the Palestinian flag.

Carson’s controversial comments

by Cierra Carter

Esteemed neurosurgeon and presidential hopeful Dr. Ben Carson raised some eyebrows last week when he said that the U.S. should not elect a Muslim president because it is inconsistent with the nation’s values. Publicly, many are up in arms over the comments and some have since deemed the comments discriminatory, but Carson clarified his comments during an interview with CNN, explaining his belief that Islam must be rejected due to certain aspects of its doctrine, mainly Sharia Law. Carson’s relationship with the media hit a testy spot when his campaign manager cut short an interview with Jake Tapper of CNN when Tapper fairly pressed Caron on his comments.

Freedom of religion not a valid defense

by Matt Pierce

At a Democratic Party fundraiser Sept. 27, President Barack Obama said that freedom of religion isn’t a reason enough to deny American LGBT citizens their marriage rights. Obama was addressing members of the LGBT community when he made this statement, which also referenced Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis who refused to issue marriage licenses and was thrown in jail. He said Americans are free to practice their religion without any government interference, but that practice cannot impede on any other constitutional rights.

“We affirm that we cherish our religious freedom and are profoundly respectful of religious traditions,” Obama said. “But we also have to say clearly that our religious freedom doesn’t grant us the freedom to deny our fellow Americans their constitutional rights.”

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