Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- Syria: Twin Car Bombs in Damascus Kill 34 People
- College: Students Can't Sell Trees Called 'Christmas'
- Egypt: Copts Sentenced to Death for Anti-Islam Film
- 'Two and a Half Men' Star Apologizes for 'Filth' Remarks
Syria: Twin Car Bombs in Damascus Kill 34 People
Twin car bombs Wednesday morning killed at least 34 people and left dozens critically wounded in a Damascus suburb that is mostly loyal to President Bashar Assad and populated mainly by Christians and Druse, a minority sect, the Associated Press reports. The state news agency, SANA, said two cars packed with explosives detonated in a parking lot between two commercial buildings during rush hour as groups of laborers and employees were arriving to work. A series of car and suicide bombings have struck regime targets in Damascus and elsewhere since last December, confirming fears of an increasing Islamic militant presence among the forces seeking to topple Assad.
College: Students Can't Sell Trees Called 'Christmas'
A North Carolina community college has been accused of violating the First Amendment rights of students after it told a club they could not use the word "Christmas" to promote a Christmas tree sale, Todd Starnes reports. The BEST Society was planning to sell the Christmas trees to raise money for Angel Tree, an organization that provides Christmas presents to prisoners' children. Club members followed college protocol and submitted forms to promote the sale, with the proposed text reading, "The BEST Society will be selling Christmas trees..." But when the announcement appeared on the college's website and in other venues, every reference to "Christmas trees" had been replaced with "holiday trees." The communications relations director allegedly told the students, "We cannot market your trees in association solely with a Christian event." The Alliance Defending Freedom sent a letter to officials at Western Piedmont Community College, urging them to either reconsider their decision to censor the word "Christmas" or else face a possible lawsuit. "It's ridiculous that anyone would have to think twice about using the word 'Christmas' as part of a Christmas tree sale," said ADF attorney Matt Sharp.
Egypt: Copts Sentenced to Death for Anti-Islam Film
An Egyptian court Wednesday convicted in absentia seven Egyptian Coptic Christians and a Florida-based American pastor, sentencing them to death on charges linked to an anti-Islam film that had sparked riots in parts of the Muslim world, CNSNews.com reports. The case was seen as largely symbolic because the defendants, most of whom live in the United States, are all outside Egypt and thus unlikely to ever face the sentence. The charges were brought in September during a wave of public outrage in Egypt over the amateur film, "Innocence of Muslims," which was produced by an Egyptian-American Copt. The low-budget film, parts of which were made available online, portrays the Islamic prophet Muhammad as a fraud, buffoon and womanizer. Egypt's official news agency said the courts found the defendants guilty of harming national unity, insulting and publicly attacking Islam, and spreading false information -- charges that carry the death penalty.
'Two and a Half Men' Star Apologizes for 'Filth' Remarks
The teen actor in the CBS comedy "Two and a Half Men" is now apologizing for calling the show "filth" and urging people not to watch, CBN News reports. Nineteen-year-old Angus Jones, who has played the character Jake on the sitcom since he was 10, said he'd had a spiritual awakening and no longer wanted to be on the show. "I'm on 'Two and a Half Men' and I don't want to be on it," he said in a video testimony. "Please stop watching it. Please stop filling your head with filth. ... You cannot be a true, God-fearing person and be on a television show like that. I know I can't. I'm not okay with what I'm learning, what the Bible says, and being on that television show." But in a statement Tuesday, Jones said he was sorry if his remarks "reflected indifference to and disrespect" to his colleagues and "a lack of appreciation of a great opportunity."
Publication date: November 29, 2012