6. Religious objections to the Obama administration's contraception mandate: The Obama administration's Health and Human Services mandate requiring all employers to provide contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs kicked in this summer, sparking outrage from Catholic and other Christian businesses, nonprofits, schools and hospitals — who can now face legal consequences for refusing to offer the services, even if doing so violates their consciences. There are now more than 40 lawsuits against the Obama administration over the mandate, and those fighting for their religious freedom now wait to see what — if any — relief the courts will bring.
7. Hurricane Sandy devastation and relief efforts: "Superstorm" Sandy, deemed one of the most destructive storms to hit the United States in decades, left millions without power for weeks and caused billions of dollars of damage. In the wake of the devastation, Christian ministries, churches and organizations were some of the first to step in for physical and spiritual aid.
- New York City's Churches Marshal Sandy Relief Efforts
- In Aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, Relief Organizations Offer Aid, Hope
- Pakistani Christians Pray for Americans Affected by Hurricane Sandy
- More Superstorm Sandy coverage
8. Boko Haram's war on Christians in Nigeria: The militant Islamist group Boko Haram, which has declared war on Nigeria's Christians, has been responsible for an estimated 3,000 deaths since 2009 in its deadly campaign to establish an Islamic state in northern Nigeria. The violent attacks on Christian communities — which have included bombings, shootings, hackings, mass killings and the cold-blooded assassinations of Christian families in their homes — have pushed Nigeria into seventh place on this year's ranking of nations most affected by terrorism.
- Terror Group 'Enjoys' Killing Nigerian Christians
- Boko Haram Reign of Terror Impacts Churches in Nigeria
- Nigerian-Americans Organize to Support Violence-Plagued Christians in Northern Nigeria
- More Boko Haram coverage
- More Nigeria coverage
9. U.S. colleges legislate against campus Christian groups: Christian groups on campus are being increasingly singled out with "anti-discrimination" policies that require student groups to allow anyone, regardless of beliefs or behavior, to be able to obtain membership and seek leadership positions. In other words, a Christian group could be sent off campus for requiring its leaders to be Christians and practice their faith. "This level of mandated openness ... actually diminishes diversity," says David French of the American Center for Law and Justice. "It's utterly antithetical to free expression." Though Vanderbilt's nondiscrimination policy made headlines this year, multiple schools nationwide — including Brown, Tufts and the University of North Carolina — have pursued similar policies.