Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- Pastors Disappointed by Obama's Position on Marriage
- Alabama Town Fights for Right to Keep Bible Verse on Welcome Sign
- Mauritania: Muslims Demand Investigation of Christians
- Iranian Officials Heighten Control on Farsi-Speaking Church
Pastors Disappointed by Obama's Position on Marriage
President Obama's endorsement of gay marriage isn't sitting well with many evangelical pastors, according to CBN News. Pastor Allen McFarland of Portsmouth, Va., said he had already addressed the issue with his congregation. "I voted for Obama because I wanted to see an African-American president," McFarland said. "I couldn't vote for the last person, the Republican. He didn't hold my views and I thought Obama did. But hearing what he said [about gay marriage], I was very concerned, and I shared with the congregation that we have a problem as to who to vote for." Pastor Charles Bagi of Chesapeake, Va., said Obama's endorsement of gay marriage did not bode well for the nation. "No nation, empire, kingdom has ever lasted as a world power if it let the bonds of marriage fall, openly acknowledge and allow the practice of homosexuality ... not only that but the other perversions that will follow it." The Rev. Franklin Graham has also denounced Obama's position, saying Obama has "shaken his fist" at God.
Alabama Town Fights for Right to Keep Bible Verse on Welcome Sign
The Freedom From Religion Foundation has demanded the small Alabama town of Sylvania, population 1,800, remove Bible verses posted on four welcome signs, but the town has vowed to fight back, Fox News reports. "Sylvania Welcomes You," the signs read. "Ephesians 4:5 -- One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism." In a letter to a local TV station, FFRF attorney Patrick Elliott wrote: "The Sylvania 'welcome' signs are not welcoming. They affiliate the government with one religion, Christianity, and exclude others. No court would uphold this blatant violation of the Constitution." Mayor Mitchell Dendy originally had the signs removed two weeks ago, but has since resigned due to an unrelated matter, and the acting mayor and city council have decided to put the signs back. "We'll see what happens," acting mayor Max Turner said. "If we don't stand up for something, it won't be long before we'll have to go to the woods to have church. ... I'm not afraid to take a stand. We as Christians have got to stand up regardless of what the world might say about us." Turner, 80, said to the best of his knowledge there were no atheists living in Sylvania and that dozens of citizens were supporting the decision.
Mauritania: Muslims Demand Investigation of Christians
Muslim protesters in Mauritania have called on the government to investigate all Christians in the country, claiming that Christians were involved in the burning of a Quran after Islamic prayers one Friday in April, Voice of the Martyrs reports. The protesters said other Islamic books were burned on the same day and that many copies of the Bible were distributed, insinuating Christians had some part in what they consider one of the worst offenses possible. The Muslims called on the government to investigate Christians to determine their part in the event and, if found guilty, to punish them. In many Islamic countries, desecrating a Quran is punishable by life in prison or even death.
Iranian Officials Heighten Control on Farsi-Speaking Church
Leaders of the Assemblies of God's (AOG) Central Church of Tehran told their congregation May 6 that authorities have demanded a list of names and identification numbers of church members, a major risk to converts from Islam, Compass Direct News reports. Church leaders then asked members in attendance to volunteer their information. The AOG church holds two Sunday services, both conducted in Farsi, and it is the only church remaining in Tehran that offers Farsi-language worship on Sundays. "This [government move] is basically to make sure the church is not taking in new members and to make it difficult and risky for non-Christians to attend," said Monsour Borji, an Iranian Christian and advocacy officer for rights initiative Article 18. "It is an effort to limit the church, basically." The result of the most recent demand, according to Borji, is that as members of the church consider whether they are willing to turn over their names and identification numbers, "it has created an ethical dilemma for some church members who are not sure what to do, because giving their information feels suicidal."
Publication date: May 14, 2012