Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- Forced Marriages Increasing in Nigeria
- Teen Birth Rate Hit Another Record Low in 2011
- Survey: People Turn to God After Disaster
- France Celebrates First Same-Sex Marriage
Forced Marriages Increasing in Nigeria
A Nigerian pastor who was arrested for harboring girls fleeing forced Islamization and forced marriage has been released on bail, Open Doors USA reports. Last month, the pastor was arrested and charged with kidnapping after three girls ages 15, 12 and 10 sought refuge at his house. Trouble started when the father of the girls converted to Islam. Although his wife followed him into Islam, his daughters refused to do the same. Their father gave them a week to change their minds, but before the week was over, all three girls had fled their village and sought refuge at the pastor's house, fearing forced marriage to Muslim men. The girls were moved to an undisclosed safe location, but a Muslim youth spotted the girls at the pastor's house and reported to the family. Police in Bauchi arrested the pastor, charged him with kidnapping and sent him to prison, though police found no evidence to prove his guilt. After three hearings, the pastor was granted bail on condition that he report to the police station daily until the final hearing. The girls remain at the safe location, and Open Doors has been informed that they feel safe and comfortable. Forced Islamization and forced marriage have become common methods whereby Muslims work to forcefully eradicate Christianity from northern Nigeria. Open Doors' World Watch Unit confirms that in 2012, Christian girls faced serious threats of abduction and forceful marriage. In Kano, for instance, a house was located where over 40 Christian girls were abducted, Islamized and many married off to Muslims. Open Doors field experts say that some of the sharia states even have established ministries for the abducting and converting of Christian girls.
Teen Birth Rate Hit Another Record Low in 2011
The teen birth rate in 2011 set another new record low, according to the latest federal data. The numbers reflect a continued trend downward for teens having babies. The new rate, 31.3 births per 1,000 women ages 15-19, is about half the 1991 rate of 61.8 births per 1,000 teens, which was an all-time high, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. The teen birth rate has been dropping steadily since the 1991 peak, save for blips in 2006 and 2007. The new report shows particularly steep drops, with a 25-percent decline in the overall teen birth rate just since 2007.
Survey: People Turn to God After Disaster
When natural disasters occur, most Americans take increased interest in God and donate to relief agencies. One-third of Americans also believe prayer can avert natural disasters. These are among the findings of a LifeWay Research study conducted days after a deadly tornado devastated parts of Oklahoma May 20, Baptist Press reports. According to the study, a third of Americans increase their trust in God during times of suffering. In response to the question "How do you feel about God when suffering occurs that appears unfair?" the most common response was "I trust God more" (33 percent). Twenty-five percent said "I am confused about God." Nearly six in 10 Americans (57 percent) agree with the statement "When a natural disaster occurs, my interest in God increases." Thirty-one percent disagree and 12 percent don't know. Fifty-one percent disagree that praying can avert natural disasters, while 34 percent believe it can avert natural disasters. Additionally, 30 percent of Americans post on social media that they are praying for specific people or things, and almost 60 percent of Americans donate to relief agencies in the wake of natural disasters.
France Celebrates First Same-Sex Marriage
France broadcast its first gay marriage live on public television just 11 days after President Francois Hollande signed a bill legalizing same-sex marriage, CBN News reports. The wedding took place in Montpellier under tight security; Montpellier mayor Helene Mandroux officiated at the ceremony, calling it a "historic moment." She told the two men: "This is a historic moment in your own lives ... and a historic moment for our country. We are building here together the society of tomorrow." Thousands of opponents to the law have been protesting in Paris, with some demonstrations turning violent and ending in riots.
Publication date: June 3, 2013