Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- Arguments Heard in German Homeschool Family's Deportation Case
- Islamist Extremists Want to Drive All Christians Out of Violence-Plagued Iraq
- Abducted Christian Leaders Still Missing in Syria
- Boy Scouts Proposal Displeases Religious Leaders on Both Sides
Arguments Heard in German Homeschool Family's Deportation Case
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit heard arguments Tuesday in a case, Romeike v. Holder, that could grant or revoke asylum for the German homeschooling family, the Christian Post reports. If the Romeikes lose, they could be deported back to Germany, where the state threatened to take their children away from them if they did not send them to public school. Though the Romeikes -- Uwe, Hannelore and their six children -- were granted asylum in 2010, the federal government is trying to revoke that asylum, arguing in part that parents do not have a fundamental right to choose the type of education their children receive. The Romeikes are being defended by the Home School Legal Defense Association, which also helped them initially move to the United States and obtain asylum. The Romeikes decided to homeschool their children because they believed the public schools in Germany were teaching values in opposition to their Christian beliefs. They were forced to pay fines and their children were forcibly removed from their home and taken to the public school. After they were granted political asylum in a Tennessee district court, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement appealed the decision in 2012. The Board of Immigration Appeals agreed with the government, and from there the case was appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.
Islamist Extremists Want to Drive All Christians Out of Violence-Plagued Iraq
Islamist extremists want Iraq to be a "Muslim only" country, and as a result, Christians in Iraq remain continuous targets of violent attacks, Open Doors USA reports. While most of the attacks against Christians are part of the general violence, such as bomb attacks and mortar fire which intensified during provincial elections last Saturday, a part of the violence can be labeled as specifically targeted against Christians. "If these attacks take place in a Christian neighborhood or a Christian village, you can assume they are targeted, especially against the Christian population of the neighborhoods and villages," said an Open Doors field worker. "Since the fall of Saddam Hussein 10 years ago, an estimated 1,000 Christians have been killed, a relatively high number compared with percentages killed from other groups in Iraqi society." All these targeted attacks serve only one purpose, shares the field worker: "We received documents and threats stating that the aim of the Islamist Insurgents is to make Iraq a 'Muslim only' country; they want the Christians out." According to Open Doors' 2013 World Watch List materials, there are only an estimated 330,000 to 350,000 Christians left in Iraq. There were more than 1.2 million Christians in the early 1990s. Many of the believers have fled to Jordan and Lebanon or to the northern Kurdish region of Iraq. Iraq is ranked No. 4 on the list of the worst persecutors around the globe.
Abducted Christian Leaders Still Missing in Syria
Two leaders of the Christian community in Aleppo, Syria, who were kidnapped by gunmen on Monday are still missing despite conflicting reports, WORLD reports. Greek Orthodox Archbishop Paul Yazigi and Syriac Orthodox Archbishop Yohanna Ibrahim were abducted Monday near the Turkish border while on a mission to negotiate the release of other kidnapped Christians. Muslim and Christian leaders in the region are calling for the two men's release, but neither rebel groups nor government forces have claimed responsibility.
Boy Scouts Proposal Displeases Religious Leaders on Both Sides
Conservative and liberal religious leaders alike are expressing displeasure with the Boy Scouts' proposal to accept gay members but reject gay leaders, the Religion News Service reports. The Boy Scouts released its draft proposal on April 19 that will be voted on at its annual meeting in May. "No youth may be denied membership in the Boy Scouts of America on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone," reads the proposed resolution, which also notes that the Scouts "will maintain the current membership policy for all adult leaders of the Boy Scouts of America." Frank Page, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Executive Committee, told Baptist Press that he supports a "no" vote. "Though this resolution is more acceptable to those who hold a biblical form of morality than what was being considered before, we would still prefer no change in the policy," he said. Scouting officials had earlier proposed dropping the gay ban for both adults and children, but reconsidered after massive resistance from religious groups and conservatives. The policy shift would leave intact the Scouts' ban on atheists and other nonbelievers, who decline to say the Boy Scout Oath because it begins: "On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law." Leaders of Scouting groups sponsored by religious organizations said their groups are mulling the Scout proposal. According to the BSA, religious organizations comprise 70 percent of its sponsoring organizations. Mormons, Methodists and Catholics -- the three largest groups -- sponsored more than 1 million of the 2.6 million Scouts in 2011. The Religious Relationships Task Force unanimously requested in February that the Scouts postpone a possible removal of the ban on gay members and leaders so they would have more time to consider it. "As you might imagine, there's a variety of opinions among our faith groups," said R. Chip Turner, national chairman of the task force.
Publication date: April 25, 2013