2012 was a year filled with politics and controversies, persecution and protests, tragedy and hope. Here are the stories the editors of ReligionToday.com believe most affected Christians around the world during the past 12 months.
1. The 2012 presidential election: In what some called the most consequential election in recent history, President Barack Obama won a second term as president of the United States. The election results, which drew diverse reactions from Christians around the world, revealed a deeply divided nation — not just at the political level, but at the worldview level. The results also showed fundamental changes to the American electorate: increased ethnic, cultural and ideological diversity, as well as increased secularization. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's Mormon faith was also a prominent issue during the campaign season, with many Christians questioning whether they could or should vote for a Mormon and with some ultimately abstaining from voting altogether. In the end, the moral shift of the nation was evident not just in the re-election of a pro-abortion, pro-gay marriage president, but in the results of state ballot measures, such as historic wins for gay advocates in four states.
- Obama's Re-Election Draws Diverse Reactions From Christians
- Aftermath: Lessons From the 2012 Election
- More election 2012 coverage
2. Massacre in Newtown, Connecticut: The nation and the world grieved along with the community of Newtown, Conn., after a lone gunman entered Sandy Hook Elementary School on Dec. 14 and opened fire, killing 20 first-graders and six adults before killing himself. Just five months after 12 were killed in a movie theater shooting in Aurora, Colo., Americans were once again left reeling and searching for answers in the face of tragedy. Christians once again bowed their knees in prayer and reached out to offer hope — while never forgetting to affirm the reality of human evil. "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked," Jeremiah 17:9 says. "Who can know it?"
- Rachel Weeping for Her Children: The Massacre in Connecticut
- The Answer is Evil
- School Shootings and Spiritual Warfare
- More Newtown coverage
- More Aurora coverage
3. The Chick-fil-A gay marriage controversy: When the president and CEO of Chick-fil-A expressed support for traditional marriage this summer, controversy erupted. "I think we are inviting God's judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say, 'We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage,'" Dan Cathy said. "... We are very much supportive of the family — the biblical definition of the family." In response to a media storm and threats of boycotts from supporters of gay marriage, supporters of Chick-fil-A packed restaurants around the country on Aug. 1 for "Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day," propelling the company to a record-setting day. Chick-fil-A has continued to thrive in the months since it first came under fire.