Choosing chaos. A federal court ruled last Friday that North Carolina’s “Choose Life” license plates violate the Constitution because the state does not offer a pro-abortion alternative. The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit against the North Carolina Department of Transportation in 2011. “Prior courts have ruled that the encouragement of childbirth is a legitimate government objective,” the Rev. Mark Creech told CitizenLink. Creech is the executive director of the Christian Action League, one of the groups that worked for nine years to get the pro-life plate. The ruling, if it stands, could throw into chaos similar programs in other states. “Choose Life” plates are available in 28 states and pro-abortion plates are selling in only four, Creech said. The State of North Carolina has not said if it will appeal the ruling.
Demographic destiny. Census data show the U.K. now has 33.2 million people who claim to be Christian. That number is down from 37.3 million in 2001—a drop of 4 million, or almost 7 percent. More than 25 percent of people (about 15 million) said they had no faith, up from 14.8 percent a decade earlier, while the proportion of Muslims rose from 3 percent to 4.8 percent (about 3 million people). The third most popular religion was Hinduism, with 1.5 percent of the population, while 0.8 percent were Sikhs and 0.5 percent Jewish. The weirdest finding from the survey: about 180,000 people claimed to be followers of the Jedi religion featured in the movie Star Wars. But even that number is down. In the 2001 survey, 400,000 Brits aspired to the Force.
Frank Pastore still in coma. Three weeks ago, Christian radio talk show host Frank Pastore had a motorcycle accident on a Southern California freeway that left him in a coma. Today, he remains in critical but stable, condition. One of Pastore’s friends, Greg Laurie, pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside and a fellow motorcycle rider, gave his congregation an update on Pastore’s condition on Sunday, saying he had visited him in the hospital. “At one point I said to Frank, ‘Frank, if you can hear me, twitch your eye.’ The moment I said it his eye twitched,” Laurie said. “So, we were all very excited. We’re just praying that God would wake him up.” Laurie added, “His vital signs are good. There’s been no swelling of the brain. They have done an MRI that’s hopeful as well, so if he could just wake up it would be a great thing, although God is ultimately in control, but I pray that God will bring him out of it.”
Remember their chains. Imprisonment of journalists worldwide reached a record high in 2012, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). In its annual census of imprisoned journalists, CPJ identified 232 individuals behind bars on Dec. 1, an increase of 53 over its 2011 tally. The CPJ said “large-scale imprisonments in Turkey, Iran, and China helped lift the global tally to its highest point since CPJ began conducting worldwide surveys in 1990, surpassing the previous record of 185 in 1996.” Turkey, Iran, and China “made extensive use of vague anti-state laws to silence dissenting political views, including those expressed by ethnic minorities. Worldwide, anti-state charges such as terrorism, treason, and subversion were the most common allegations brought against journalists in 2012.” At least 132 journalists were being held around the world on such charges.