Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- Poll: 29 Percent of Pastors Discuss Candidates in Pulpit
- Egypt: Trouble for Christians as Muslim Brotherhood-Majority Government Drafts Sharia Law
- Israeli Jews Would Prefer a Romney Victory, 57 to 22 Percent
- Pro-Life Student Sues LSU for Restricting Free Speech
Poll: 29 Percent of Pastors Discuss Candidates in Pulpit
A majority of regular churchgoers say their pastor has discussed the importance of voting, while 29 percent say their pastor has taken sides, in sermons, in the presidential race, according to a new Pew Research Center survey, Baptist Press reports. The Oct. 24-28 poll shows that among all churchgoers -- Protestants and Catholics who attend church at least monthly -- 15 percent say their pastor's message has been more supportive of President Obama while 14 percent say their pastor's sermon has been more supportive of Mitt Romney. However, what "people are hearing" from their pastor "varies greatly by race," the survey shows. For example, among black Protestants, 45 percent say their pastor has supported Obama, with none in the sample saying their pastor backed Romney. Among white evangelicals, 26 percent say their pastor has been more supportive of Romney but only 5 percent say the pastor has been more supportive of Obama. Among white Catholics, 21 percent say the pastor has supported Romney and 4 percent say the pastor has backed Obama, and white mainline churchgoers say the pastor also was more likely to support Romney (13 percent to Obama's 7 percent). Still, though, "most regular churchgoers say the messages they are hearing at church are neutral" when it comes to the election -- whether or not the pastor mentions the candidates directly. Meanwhile, 52 percent of regular churchgoers say their pastor has discussed the importance of voting. Black Protestant pastors (79 percent) are the most likely to mention it, followed by white evangelical pastors (52 percent), white Catholic clergy (46 percent) and white mainline pastors (32 percent).
Egypt: Trouble for Christians as Muslim Brotherhood-Majority Government Drafts Sharia Law
Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood-majority government continues to debate the phrasing used while drafting its new constitution, which will more than likely have sharia (Islamic law) as its foundation, the Christian Post reports. According to Jerry Dykstra of Open Doors USA, the implementation of such a constitution is expected and can only mean deepening trouble for Egyptian Christians. "It is hardly a surprise that the Muslim Brotherhood is now pushing sharia as the law of the land in Egypt," Dykstra said. "Strict Islamic law has always been its main agenda for Egypt. President Morsi attempted to disguise this before the election, saying his government would be moderate. Now the true face of extreme Islam is being unveiled to the world. The high hopes of the revolution and overthrow of Mubarak have now been replaced by the reality of another form of extremist government -- an Islamist one." Islamists have dominated every election since the ousting of Mubarak, and ultra-conservative Salafis are pressuring the new government to make sure sharia is followed. Last week, the Associated Press reported that the Brotherhood was "committed to enshrining Islamic sharia law as the main source of a new constitution."
Israeli Jews Would Prefer a Romney Victory, 57 to 22 Percent
In contrast to a recent survey finding respondents in 21 countries around the world favor President Obama over Mitt Romney by a significant margin, a new opinion poll in Israel suggests that Jews in that country would be much happier to see the Republican candidate win, according to CNSNews.com. Fifty-seven percent of Jewish respondents said that "when it comes to Israel's interests," they would prefer Romney as the next U.S. president, compared to 22 percent who said the same of Obama. Among Israeli Arab respondents, Obama was favored by a 45-to-15-point margin. Last week, an exit poll of Americans who voted absentee in Israel found Romney beating Obama by 85 percent to 14 percent.
Pro-Life Student Sues LSU for Restricting Free Speech
The Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) filed a lawsuit Wednesday on behalf of a student who found her right to distribute pro-life literature restricted by Louisiana State University, WORLD News Service reports. The student wanted to distribute material as part of October’s Pro-Life Day of Silent Solidarity, but LSU officials said she could do so only in the school’s "Free Speech Alley" -- an approximately 1,000-square-foot area of the 650-acre campus. According to ADP legal counsel Matt Sharp, "By limiting the distribution of material and free speech to less than 1 percent of the campus, Louisiana State University is violating the constitutionally protected freedoms of students who should be free to express themselves on the sidewalks and open spaces at the university." Many colleges have these so-called "free speech" areas, so if Sharp and his client win this case, it could have implications for free speech areas on campuses all across the country.
Publication date: November 5, 2012