Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- Nigerian Army Chief Estimates Death Toll by Boko Haram at 3,000
- First Hindu Elected to U.S. Congress to Take Oath on Bhagavad Gita Instead of Bible
- Hobby Lobby Appeals Obamacare Mandate Ruling
- Thousands Protest Egypt Presidential Decree
Nigerian Army Chief Estimates Death Toll by Boko Haram at 3,000
The militant Islamist group Boko Haram, which is waging war against Christians in Nigeria, has been responsible for an estimated 3,000 deaths since 2009, according to an army chief -- the highest number of victims reported by an official source, ASSIST News Service reports. Boko Haram has been carrying out deadly attacks on churches and Christian communities as well as security forces and government targets in its campaign to establish an Islamic state in northern Nigeria. Barnabas Aid contacts in Nigeria have been logging attacks against Christians by Boko Haram and other Muslim groups over the last two years, including bombings, shootings, hackings, mass killings and the cold-blooded assassination of Christian families in their homes -- children, pregnant women and the elderly not being spared. "Barely a week goes by without a report of another anti-Christian attack in Nigeria, while the security forces seem at a loss as to how to bring Boko Haram under control," said a spokesperson for Barnabas Aid.
First Hindu Elected to U.S. Congress to Take Oath on Bhagavad Gita Instead of Bible
The first Hindu elected to the United States Congress is expected to take oath on the Bhagavad Gita instead of the Bible, the Christian News Network reports. Tulsi Gabbard, 31, a Democrat, won her bid for election in a heavily Democratic area of Hawaii earlier this month and will be representing Hawaii's second district in Congress beginning in January. However, instead of taking oath on the Bible as many elected officials do, Gabbard is slated to swear on the Bhagavad Gita, a compilation of Hindu writings which she states is one of her favorite Hindu texts. Following her successful bid for office, Gabbard stated that she hoped her presence in Congress would cause others to understand and embrace Hinduism in America.
Hobby Lobby Appeals Obamacare Mandate Ruling
Christian-owned Hobby Lobby is appealing in federal court over its case against the abortion-pill mandate in Obamacare, CBN News reports. The federal healthcare law forces employers to provide the "morning-after" pill and "week-after" pill in their health insurance plans or face more than $1 million in fines per day, but the owners of Hobby Lobby, the Green family, asked to be exempted from the mandate because it violated their belief that abortion is wrong. A lower court on Tuesday denied their initial request to be excused from the mandate, ruling that though the Greens have religious beliefs forbidding them from providing abortion-causing drugs, they were only "indirectly" burdened by the mandate's requirement. The company filed an emergency appeal to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. Kyle Duncan, general counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which is representing Hobby Lobby, said: "Every American, including family business owners like the Greens, should be free to make a living without forfeiting their religious beliefs. The Green family needs relief before Jan. 1 and so we have asked the federal appeals court in Denver to issue an injunction against the mandate."
Thousands Protest Egypt Presidential Decree
A day after Egypt's Islamist president Mohammed Morsi decreed himself sweeping new powers, tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets in Cairo and across the country on Friday. State TV reported that protesters burned offices of the political arm of Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood group in the cities of Alexandria, Ismailiyah and Port Said, while Islamists engaged in fistfights with Morsi opponents in southern Egypt. Tens of thousands of Egyptians angered by Morsi's decisions converged on Cairo's Tahrir Square, the epicenter of protests that brought down former president Hosni Mubarak, chanting anti-Morsi slogans. "The people want to bring down the regime," some protesters shouted. Large crowds opposed to Morsi also gathered in the predominantly Christian neighborhood of Shubra and on the west bank of the Nile in the Muhandeseen neighborhood, and in the working-class neighborhood of Seyda Zeinab, a large banner picturing Morsi as a pharaoh read, "Down with the president." Later, Morsi spoke to large crowds of Islamist and Muslim Brotherhood supporters outside the presidential palace. Islamist speakers took turns riling the crowds with anti-Israel slogans as supporters chanted, "The people support the president's decree."
Publication date: November 26, 2012