Religion Today Daily Headlines - November 19, 2012

Religion Today Daily Headlines - November 19, 2012

Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.

In today's edition:

  • Thousands Rally in Egypt Against Israel Offensive
  • ACLU Sues to Force Elementary Libraries to Display Lesbian Advocacy Book
  • Five Killed in Attack on Christian Community in Kaduna, Northern Nigeria
  • No Major Change for Chinese House Churches Expected After Communist Party Leadership Change


Thousands Rally in Egypt Against Israel Offensive

Thousands of Egyptians protested Friday against Israel's offensive in the Gaza Strip as Egypt's prime minister visited the Palestinian enclave in a symbolic show of support for the territory's Hamas rulers, reports. The protests in Egypt highlighted public sentiment against the Israeli military operation in Gaza, which started with the assassination of Hamas' military chief and which Israel says is a response to rocket fire by Gaza militants. Egyptians marched Friday in the country's two largest cities, Cairo and Alexandria, many waving Palestinian flags and chanting slogans against Israel. In Cairo's Tahrir Square, a few hundred protesters burned an Israeli flag. The demonstrations were called by Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood group, and prominent Brotherhood figures took part, many brandishing the checkered Palestinian scarf during the marches. Hamas is a Muslim Brotherhood offshoot in the Gaza Strip.

ACLU Sues to Force Elementary Libraries to Display Lesbian Advocacy Book

The ACLU has filed a lawsuit to force a Utah school district to keep a lesbian advocacy book on elementary school library shelves, reports. A book called In My Mothers' House, about three adopted kids and their lesbian "mothers," was added to library shelves in five of the Davis School District's 50 elementary schools after administrators learned that a Windridge Elementary student was being raised by lesbians. When a kindergarten student brought the book home, a group of concerned parents brought a petition to the school asking that the book be removed. After a seven-member parent-teacher committee decided that the book would be kept behind the counter instead of on the library shelves, and that children could only check it out if their parents signed a permission slip, the ACLU filed suit to put the book back on the shelves and make it available to all children without restriction. Davis School District spokesman Chris Williams said the district stands behind its decision to require students to have parental permission to check out the book.

Five Killed in Attack on Christian Community in Kaduna, Northern Nigeria

Gunmen shot five members of a family in Madauchi-Zonkwa, Kaduna state, in northern Nigeria on Nov. 13 before setting their house ablaze with the victims inside, Christian Solidarity Worldwide reports. According to pastor Bitrus Titus of Living Faith Church in Zonkwa, the sound of gunfire lasted for close to an hour without any intervention from security personnel. He added that the victims' corpses were burnt beyond recognition. The attack prompted young men in the Christian community to take to the streets in protest, demanding that soldiers stationed nearby be removed from their post. The Rev. Yunusa Nmadu, CEO of CSW Nigeria, said: "We are saddened by yet another attack on a predominantly Christian community and urge the relevant security agents to live up to their responsibilities, especially since there has been a long-standing threat that the community and others around would be attacked after the April 2011 presidential electoral violence in Kaduna state. Our hearts go out to the relatives and friends of the family that has been affected."

No Major Change for Chinese House Churches Expected After Communist Party Leadership Change

Chinese church leaders do not expect major changes after China's ruling Communist Party announced a new leadership team Thursday in Beijing, Open Doors USA reports. Xi Jinping and Li Keqiang will succeed Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao as top Politburo Standing Committee members and take over the presidency and premiership, respectively, in March 2012. Xiao Yun (not his real name), Open Doors director for China, said it is unlikely the leadership change will affect China's policy toward the church. "As long as we communicate with the government, they leave us alone," one house church leader stated. Yun said: "All Open Doors contacts give us this same message. The leaders in the Communist Party are not democrats. They want to stay in power, even after they step down from their official position. This means they make sure they select like-minded successors. For now, the Chinese church expects it can continue to grow both in size and in depth. The government will keep close watch, that's for sure, but severe oppression is something of the past. I like to say the government is improving, but on the other hand there are still some Christians in jail because of their faith. Christians are among the 400 minority groups ... that are still persecuted by society and sometimes the government." The majority of the Christians, however, experience growing freedom. China is ranked No. 21 on the 2012 Open Doors World Watch List of the 50 worst persecutors of Christians, compared to No. 16 last year and No. 13 in 2010.

Publication date: November 19, 2012