Religion Today Daily Headlines - October 9, 2012

Religion Today Daily Headlines - October 9, 2012

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

In today's edition:

  • Pastor and 12-Year-Old Daughter Beaten by Radicals in India
  • Fall TV Season Sees Record LGBT Presence
  • Florida City Drops Case Against Family's In-Home Prayer Meetings
  • Dutch Euthanasia Deaths Increase by 18 Percent


Pastor and 12-Year-Old Daughter Beaten by Radicals in India

A mob of about 20 Hindu extremists wielding clubs broke into the home of a church leader in India while believers were gathered there singing worship songs, destroying his belongings and brutally attacking him, International Christian Concern reports. When the pastor's 12-year-old daughter asked the extremists why they were attacking her father, they began to beat her too. They then dragged the pastor and his wife to a nearby Hindu temple and forced them to worship the idols there. "This is a pretty typical thing; it happens quite often in India," said Dave Stravers of Mission India. "Persecution is a growing reality in India." One of Mission India's partners believes that a non-Christian relative may have told the attackers about the pastor's worship group. He and his family are currently in hiding. According to Stravers, a similar pattern takes place in India whenever believers face persecution: they lie low for a few weeks until the chaos dies down, then resume their work quietly. "We need to pray that they will take courage, that they will receive comfort and support from other believers," he said.

Fall TV Season Sees Record LGBT Presence

The new fall TV season will see an increase in the number of gay and bisexual characters, CBN News reports. According to the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), it will be the highest level ever. A new GLAAD report titled "Where We Are on TV" shows that 4.4 percent of actors on prime-time shows portray lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender characters -- up from 2.9 percent in 2011. ABC has the highest amount, with 10 out of 194 being LGBT, and the report also saluted CBS as "much improved," at 2.8 percent.

Florida City Drops Case Against Family's In-Home Prayer Meetings

The city of Venice, Fla., has dropped its case against a family who was accused of having an unauthorized "house of worship" in their home, which the family says is just a weekly prayer gathering and Bible study, the Christian Post reports. Shane and Marlene Roessiger, who lead a small ministry called In Him Healing Touch Ministries, will be able to continue hosting Friday prayer meetings in their home without facing any penalties, after Venice's code enforcement board voted 6-0 in favor of dropping the case. According to the Pacific Justice Institute, the city's code enforcement board was led to think the Roessigers were operating an unauthorized house of worship when they had their ministry's mail sent to their home for a while instead of a rented post office box. Since houses of worship in Venice are not permitted on property less than two acres, the Roessigers were facing a $250-per-day fine for their gatherings. Additionally, they were threatened with a $250-per-day fine for posting a small sign in their yard that read "Need Prayer" along with their phone number. However, after a PJI attorney sent a letter informing city officials that the couple's corporate mailing address had been changed and arguing that the city's sign ordinance was constitutionally flawed because it made exceptions for political signs, the city dropped both issues. "We applaud officials from the city of Venice for changing course in this matter," said Brad Dacus, PJI president.

Dutch Euthanasia Deaths Increase by 18 Percent

The annual number of reported deaths by euthanasia in the Netherlands rose by 18 percent to 3,695 in 2011 -- a number that has doubled since 2006, Baptist Press reports. According to a Sept. 25 report, sizeable increases were also reported in the euthanasia of people in early stages of dementia and those with psychiatric problems; reported euthanasia deaths for dementia patients doubled to 49 and increased for psychiatric patients from two to 13. However, according to the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (EPC), the statistics fall short of the reality in the Netherlands -- a July study by the journal The Lancet showed 23 percent of euthanasia deaths went unreported in 2010. Therefore, the actual number of euthanasia deaths in 2011 was "more likely" 4,544, the EPC said. Combined with its estimate of 226 deaths by assisted suicide, which is a separate category, the Netherlands likely had a total of 4,770 assisted deaths last year, according to the EPC.

Publication date: October 9, 2012