Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- International Human Rights Leaders Gather to Discuss Religious Persecution in Middle East
- Court Tells Coach He Can't Kneel or Bow Head When Team Prays
- One Year after Murders in Turkey, One Man Blamed
- Ohio Teacher, Told to Remove Bible From Students View, Refuses
International Human Rights Leaders Gather to Discuss Religious Persecution in Middle East
U.S. government officials and international human rights leaders will convene in Washington on Friday for the Congressional Caucus on Religious Minorities in the Middle East. Caucus members will discuss the effects the War in Iraq has had on religious minorities and work directly with federal policymakers to address the challenges of religious persecution in the Middle East. "With religious persecution in Iraq continuing to intensify every day, the time is now for government leaders in the United States to take action," said Dr. Keith Roderick, D.C.-based representative of Christian Solidarity International, an advocacy organization for victims of religious persecution. "Policymakers need to help create conditions that allow displaced Christians and other non-Muslim minorities to return to their homes and live and practice their faith in peace."
Court Tells Coach He Can't Kneel or Bow Head When Team Prays
The Newark Star-Ledger reports that a federal appeals court has ruled the East Brunswick school board was within its rights to tell football coach Marcus Borden he cannot kneel and bow his head as members of his team have a student-led pre-game prayer. The ruling from the U.S. 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia reversed a lower-court ruling made almost two years ago. The judges agreed the policy barring school staff from joining in student-led was constitutional, but differed on what exactly a coach should do when his team prays. Borden has coached the team since 1983. He used to be deeply involved in team prayers, and for a while even led them. But in 2005 school officials received complaints that he was leading prayers and asked him to stop. Ronald Riccio, Borden's attorney, commented, "The supreme court should hear this case because so far, there have been four judges who rendered an opinion that's different from the other's decision... This is primed for the supreme court."
One Year after Murders in Turkey, One Man Blamed
On the eve of the one-year mark of the slaughter of three Christians in Turkey, the impartiality of the judges in the case is in doubt, and the young men on trial have now shifted the blame to one man. Accused killers Cuma Ozdemir, Abuzer Yildirim and Salih Gurler had been caught at the scene of the crime on April 18, 2007, butcher knives in their hands and the blood of the victims on their clothing. But like Hamit Ceker, the first suspect to testify in January, the three suspects declared at the fifth hearing on Monday April 14 that they had not participated in the actual killings of Turkish Christians Necati Aydin and Ugur Yuksel and German Christian Tilmann Geske. Instead, in Malatya Third Criminal Court they claimed it was Emre Gunaydin, the fifth culprit and alleged ringleader of the attack, who personally tortured and then slit the throats of the three Christians, Compass Direct News reports.
Ohio Teacher, Told to Remove Bible From Students View, Refuses
According to FOX News, "An Ohio middle school teacher says he won't obey an order to remove a Bible from view of students. John Freshwater said Wednesday he agreed to remove a collage from his classroom that included the Ten Commandments, but that asking him to remove the Bible on his desk goes too far. Officials with the Mount Vernon School District say they don't oppose religion but are required by the U.S. Constitution not to promote or favor any set of religious beliefs. Freshwater says being forced to keep the Bible out of sight would infringe on his rights."