The Top 10 Stories of January 12, 2012

By Duane Shank 1-12-2012

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Quote of the day.
"The average Christian doesn''t have to pick up his phone when it rings and think about somebody killing him or his children. The average Christian didn''t have any of that." - Rev. C.T. Vivian, vice president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, on why Rev. Martin Luther King’s favorite hymns and spirituals helped carry him through troubled times.
(RNS/Huffington Post)

1. Supreme Court rejects suit against church.
"The Supreme Court ruled Wednesday for the first time that federal discrimination laws do not protect church employees who perform religious duties, a major church-state decision that recognizes religious groups’ constitutionally protected right to select their own leaders."
(Washington Post)

2. Mormons worry about acceptance but embrace differences.
"The first major independent poll of U.S. Mormons describes a conservative, devout community highly concerned about being accepted even as it embraces beliefs about gender roles, premarital sex and religious commitment that are well outside the mainstream."
(Washington Post)

3. Survey finds rising perception of class tension.
"Conflict between rich and poor now eclipses racial strain and friction between immigrants and the native-born as the greatest source of tension in American society, according to a survey released Wednesday."
(New York Times)

4. U.S. intelligence report on Afghanistan sees stalemate.
"The U.S. intelligence community says in a secret new assessment that the war in Afghanistan is mired in stalemate, and warns that security gains from an increase in American troops have been undercut by pervasive corruption, incompetent governance and Taliban fighters operating from neighboring Pakistan."
(Los Angeles Times)

5. Adversaries of Iran said to be stepping up covert actions.
"As arguments flare in Israel and the United States about a possible military strike to set back Iran’s nuclear program, an accelerating covert campaign of assassinations, bombings, cyberattacks and defections appears intended to make that debate irrelevant, according to current and former American officials and specialists on Iran."
(New York Times)

6. U.S. launches new effort for Afghan peace talks.
"Seeing a new glimmer of hope in its effort to broker Afghan peace talks, the Obama administration is launching a fresh round of shuttle diplomacy with an immediate goal of sealing agreement for Taliban insurgents to open a political office in the Gulf state of Qatar."

7. Pakistan's top soldiers in crisis talks.
"Pakistan's military chief has summoned his top commanders for talks amid a widening rift between the armed forces and the civilian government that led to the dismissal of the country''s top defence official."
(Al Jazeera)

8. French journalist killed in Syria.
"French TV reporter Gilles Jacquier has been killed in the Syrian city of Homs, the first Western journalist to die in the country''s current unrest."

9. North Korea keeps door open for food-nuke deal with U.S.
"North Korea signaled Wednesday it remains open to suspending uranium enrichment in exchange for US food aid, a deal that appeared imminent before leader Kim Jong Il died last month."
(ABC News)

10. Recent rebel attacks in Congo highlight complexity of protecting civilians.
"Eight years after the official end to the war in Congo, violence endures in the eastern portion of the country as the region remains overrun with rebel groups leaving civilians to bear the brunt of weak civilian protection measures."
(Christian Science Monitor)

Sojourners' Daily Digest is a compilation of the top news related to our commitments of life and peace, economic and racial justice, and care of creation, with a special focus on news of the engagement of faith in public life.

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