Religion Today Daily Headlines - October 3, 2012

Religion Today Daily Headlines - October 3, 2012

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

In today's edition:

  • Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani's Lawyer Thrown into Prison in Iran
  • Survey: 87 Percent of Pastors Reject Pulpit Endorsements
  • At Least 20 Students Killed in Northeast Nigeria
  • Smithsonian Channel Postpones 'Jesus' Wife' Documentary Amid Controversy


Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani's Lawyer Thrown into Prison in Iran

The Iranian lawyer who successfully represented Christian pastor Youcef Nadarkhani in court, leading to his eventual release and acquittal of apostasy, was detained over the weekend and ordered to serve a lengthy sentence in one of Iran's most dangerous prisons, the American Center for Law and Justice reports. Mohammad Ali Dadkhah, a world-renowned Muslim human rights attorney, had been previously convicted for representing other religious and political prisoners and was sentenced to nine years in prison, barred for 10 years from practicing or teaching law, fined $1,900 and given a choice of either five lashes or an additional $450 fine. In recent months, however, he had worked out an agreement that allowed him to continue representing Nadarkhani and prevented him from having to serve any time in prison. "He upheld his end of that bargain, and we believe that Iran has reneged now that Pastor Youcef is no longer the focus of international attention," the ACLJ said. According to sources, when asked if he was being treated well, Dadkhah hesitated before saying yes. When he was first detained three years ago, he was not treated well by his Iranian captors, the ACLJ said.

Survey: 87 Percent of Pastors Reject Pulpit Endorsements

According to a survey by LifeWay Research, 87 percent of pastors believe they should not endorse candidates for public office from the pulpit, Baptist Press reports. The poll of 1,000 Protestant pastors found that only 10 percent believe pastors should endorse candidates from the pulpit, while 3 percent are not sure. It also revealed that 44 percent of pastors personally endorsed candidates, but did so outside their church role. Slight differences emerged between pastors who consider themselves "evangelical" and those who self-identify as "mainline": 86 percent of evangelical pastors believe pastors should not endorse a candidate from the pulpit, compared to 91 percent of mainline pastors. Additionally, among pastors who call themselves Democrats, 98 percent believe endorsements should not be made from the pulpit, compared to 90 percent of independents and 82 percent of Republicans. 

At Least 20 Students Killed in Northeast Nigeria

In the second attack by suspected Islamic extremists on colleges in Nigeria's troubled northeast in the last few days, assailants killed at least 20 students Monday night outside the Federal Polytechnic Mubi, a college in the town of MubiWORLD Magazine reports. Some of the victims were shot and others were killed with knives, and a rescue official said at least 20 corpses had been found. Danjuma Aiso, a student at the college, said students were recently warned to leave the college in a statement suspected to have been written by the radical Islamist sect Boko Haram. The attack follows the killing on Saturday of three students outside the University of Maiduguri, about 100 miles away. Boko Haram, which has killed nearly 700 people this year alone in a campaign to implement sharia law across Nigeria, has targeted churches, schools, government buildings and telecommunications infrastructure, but targeting students off campus is new.

Smithsonian Channel Postpones 'Jesus' Wife' Documentary Amid Controversy

The Smithsonian Channel has announced that it will delay airing a documentary about the controversial "Jesus' wife" papyrus fragment after scholars raised doubts about its authenticity and questioned its lack of known archaeological origin, CBN News reports. The documentary was set to air Sept. 30, but the Smithsonian Channel says it put the film on hold until the papyrus undergoes additional tests. Harvard Divinity School professor Karen King, who released the fragment last month, said it did not prove Jesus was married, only that some early Christians believed he was. However, Christian theologians and scholars have largely dismissed the supposed fourth-century find, saying it was likely forged. "This is sensationalism masquerading as scholarship," said Albert Mohler, president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. "Do not miss what all this really represents -- an effort to replace biblical Christianity with an entirely new faith."

Publication date: October 3, 2012