Merry Christmas from the ReligionToday.com editorial staff!
Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- Poll: Christmas Music Enjoyed by 70 Percent of Americans
- New 'Queen James Bible' Removes References to Homosexuality From Scripture
- Pastor in Lahore, Pakistan, Threatened for Evangelizing
Poll: Christmas Music Enjoyed by 70 Percent of Americans
Christmas music is nearly inescapable every December -- and according to a new LifeWay Research study, most Americans enjoy it, Baptist Press reports. According to the poll, 70 percent of Americans enjoy hearing Christmas music in December and 86 percent believe school choirs and bands should be allowed to perform religious Christmas music. However, 21 percent said the prevalence of Christmas music in December is "overdone," and 7 percent find it "annoying." More than eight in 10 Americans who consider themselves to be a born-again, evangelical or fundamentalist Christian say they find the prevalence of Christmas music enjoyable, compared to 59 percent of those who "never" attend religious services. When it comes to the type of Christmas music, 67 percent enjoy listening to "both secular and religious songs," 11 percent enjoy only "secular" songs and 6 percent only enjoy "religious" songs. One in 10 Americans say they prefer not to hear any Christmas music.
New 'Queen James Bible' Removes References to Homosexuality From Scripture
In an effort to eliminate all known Scripture references to homosexuality being sinful, a new gay-friendly "Bible" has been released, the Christian News Network reports. "We wanted to make a book filled with the word of God that nobody could use to incorrectly condemn God's LGBT children, and we succeeded," state the publishers of the "Queen James" version, which was published at the end of November. "You can't choose your sexuality, but you can choose Jesus. Now you can choose a Bible, too." The "Queen James" version, which features a rainbow homosexual cross on its cover, makes changes to eight scripture passages it feels have been wrongly construed to reference homosexuality. For example, instead of God's law in Leviticus 18:21 reading "Thou shall not lie with mankind as with womankind: it is abomination," it now reads, "Thou shalt not lie with mankind as with womankind in the temple of Molech: it is an abomination," insinuating that homosexuality began as a pagan practice and is only prohibited when sexual acts are done in the name of paganism. In 1 Corinthians 6:9, the publishers replace the word "effeminate" with the phrase "morally weak." The edited Bible continues to garner criticism; one reviewer on Amazon writes, "You can change words in the Bible at your own peril, but just because you change the words to make yourself feel better about your grievous sin of homosexuality, it does not change the truth."
Pastor in Lahore, Pakistan, Threatened for Evangelizing
A 39-year-old pastor in Lahore, Pakistan, has been threatened for evangelizing in the Punjab province, ASSIST News Service reports. Kamran Gill has been working with various human rights organizations and denominations for development of youth and marginalized communities, emphasizing the importance of education. However, the locals are not in favor of educating the youth. "It is ironic that a person stands to educate the masses [and] instead they start threatening him," said Father John Samuel of the Lahore Diocese. "They are afraid to educate the youth and they fear that if they will become educated, they will start asking questions and they will start thinking on their own. Unfortunately, a few people in Pakistan want to keep the people covered with illiteracy, so that they can use them for their gain. ... We condemn such a violation of the basic human rights and we condemn the threats given to [Gill] for his work." Gill's wife passed away in Sept. 2011, leaving behind a 9-year-old daughter. The recent threats forced Gill to keep his daughter at home for fear that extremists may target her. A formal complaint has been lodged and police are investigating the matter.
Publication date: December 25, 2012