Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani Writes Letter of Gratitude After Release
- Two Killed in Nigerian Suicide Bomb Attack on Catholic Church
- Update: Judge Allows Texas Cheerleaders to Use Bible Banners
- Tim Tebow's 'Wife With a Servant's Heart' Remarks Misunderstood?
Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani Writes Letter of Gratitude After Release
Iranian pastor Youcef Nadarkhani wrote a letter to all those who supported him and his stand for Christ, "the cause that I defend," following his release after nearly three years of illegal imprisonment for his faith, the American Center for Law and Justice reports. The day he was freed from prison, Nadarkhani wrote: "I glorify and give grace to the Lord with all my heart. ... I want to express my gratitude to all of those who have supported me, openly or in complete secrecy. ... Indeed I have been put to the test, the test of faith which is, according to the Scriptures, 'more precious than perishable gold.' But I have never felt loneliness, I was all the time aware of the fact that it wasn't a solitary battle, for I have felt all the energy and support of those who obeyed their conscience and fought for the promotion of the justice and the rights of all human beings. Thanks to these efforts, I have now the enormous joy to be by my wonderful wife and my children. ... The Lord has wonderfully provided through the trial, allowing me to face the challenges that were in front of me." The entirety of Nadarkhani's letter can be read here.
Two Killed in Nigerian Suicide Bomb Attack on Catholic Church
A suicide car bomber attacked a Catholic church in the northern Nigerian city of Bauchi on Sunday morning, killing two people and wounding another 45, The Guardian reports. According to police, the bomber was stopped at the gate of St. John's church, where he detonated the explosives packed inside his car. Bauchi has seen a number of bombings and shootings blamed on the Islamist group Boko Haram, and though no group or individual has claimed responsibility for the attack yet, suspicion immediately fell on Boko Haram. The group, whose name means "Western education is sacrilege" in the Hausa language of Nigeria's north, has been waging an increasingly bloody fight on religious minorities and the weak central government in its aim to implement sharia law across the country.
Update: Judge Allows Texas Cheerleaders to Use Bible Banners
Cheerleaders at Kountze High School in Texas can continue to use banners with Bible verses after a court granted them a temporary restraining order against their school district, the Religion News Service reports. Kountze Independent School District superintendent Kevin Weldon, after consulting with a legal adviser when an anonymous complaint was made, had stopped the use of the large paper banners the cheerleaders created for the football players to run though at the start of games. Parents filed suit on behalf of the cheerleaders, and on Sept. 20 a Hardin County judge ordered the school district to "cease and desist" from preventing the cheerleaders from displaying the banners. A hearing on the case has been set for October 4. The Liberty Institute, which is representing the cheerleaders and parents in the case, hailed the judge's decision. "We are excited that the cheerleaders for the Kountze High School Lions can again do what they do best -- cheer on their football team without government censorship," said Mike Johnson, Liberty Institute senior counsel.
Tim Tebow's 'Wife With a Servant's Heart' Remarks Misunderstood?
Tim Tebow's comments in the latest edition of Vogue magazine about his ideal wife -- someone with a "servant's heart" -- have stirred discussion online, with some concluding that he wants a "hot slave," as OpposingViews.com put it, the Christian Post reports. When Vogue asked Tebow what he was looking for in a woman, he answered: "I've been blessed to have an amazing mom and two amazing sisters -- so they set a very high standard. Obviously looks play a big part. Being attracted to someone plays a big part, but there's also so much more than that for me. It's about finding someone sweet and kind -- and that has a servant's heart. It's about finding a girl who likes me for me, and not because of what I do or who I am or the name." That sound bite has been picked up by many publications, with the New York Post reporting, "Tebow in market for 'servant' woman" and Jezebel.com stating, "Tim Tebow Tells Vogue His Perfect Woman is Hot, Kind, and Servile." One Christian leader, Russell D. Moore of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, came to the New York Jets quarterback's defense, saying, "In Christianity, a 'servant' isn't a slur." Tebow has clarified what he meant with his comments: "It's someone that can put others first, someone that doesn't always have to be the center of attention and someone that's a helper. Someone that puts their family first, is loving, is caring, all those things, that's what I mean by servant."
Publication date: September 25, 2012