Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- Suicide Car Bombing Kills 38 in Nigeria on Easter Sunday
- Artist Thomas Kinkade Dies at Age 54
- Iranian Pastor Nadarkhani, Still Alive, Passes 900th Day in Jail
- Lao Officials Confiscate Church Buildings
Suicide Car Bombing Kills 38 in Nigeria on Easter Sunday
A suicide car bomber detonated his explosives Sunday morning on a busy road in Kaduna, Nigeria after attempting to drive into a church compound holding Easter services and apparently being turned away by a security guard, the Christian Science Monitor reports. At least 38 were killed in the blast, which damaged the nearby All Nations Christian Assembly Church and the ECWA Good News Church and left debris strewn across the major road where many were gathered at restaurants and shops. Witnesses said it appeared the car attempted to go into the compound of the churches before it detonated, but was blocked by barriers in the street and turned away by a security guard as police approached. No one has claimed responsibility for the attack, but suspicion falls on Boko Haram, the radical Islamist sect responsible for hundreds of killings in Nigeria this year alone. Christians have been increasingly targeted on holy days, such as the Christmas Day bombing of a church in Madalla that killed at least 44.
Artist Thomas Kinkade Dies at Age 54
Artist Thomas Kinkade, the self-described "Painter of Light," died Friday at age 54 in his Los Gatos, Calif., home, the Associated Press reports. According to the AP, "[Kinkade] claimed to be the nation's most collected living artist, and his paintings and spin-off products were said to fetch some $100 million a year in sales, and to be in 10 million homes in the United States. Those light-infused renderings are often prominently displayed in buildings, malls, and on products — generally depicting tranquil scenes with lush landscaping and streams running nearby." Many of Kinkade's paintings contained images from Bible passages. "I'm a warrior for light," Kinkade, a self-described devout Christian, said in 2002. "With whatever talent and resources I have, I'm trying to bring light to penetrate the darkness many people feel." He described his art on his own website, saying: "My mission as an artist is to capture those special moments in life adorned with beauty and light. ... I work to create images that project a serene simplicity that can be appreciated and enjoyed by everyone. That's what I mean by sharing the light."
Iranian Pastor Nadarkhani, Still Alive, Passes 900th Day in Jail
Though still facing a possible execution, imprisoned Iranian pastor Youcef Nadarkhani is still alive -- and recently passed his 900th day behind bars for being a Christian, Baptist Press reports. Nadarkhani was able to visit with his son on April 2, his son's birthday, according to the American Center for Law and Justice. For weeks, rumors have spread around the Internet that Nadarkhani has been executed, with a picture of a body often accompanying the post, but that picture was taken more than a year ago of another person, and it's highly unlikely Iran would take a picture of Nadarkhani if he was executed, said Jordan Sekulow of the ACLJ. "We're able to confirm that he's alive pretty regularly, at least weekly," Sekulow said. Rumors of Nadarkhani's execution are easily dismissed, particularly if one starts on the weekend, when the Iranian government shuts down in recognition of the Muslim calendar. "They won't send out pictures [of Nadarkhani]," Sekulow said. "He is not someone who is on trial for being a spy -- those are the pictures we usually see. He is not one of those public executions."
Lao Officials Confiscate Church Buildings
Officials last week confiscated and sealed a church building in southern Laos after holding a two-day seminar warning against religious belief, Compass Direct News reports. Besides sealing the church building in Khamnonsung -- a village in the Saybuly district of Savannakhet province -- officials also warned that other unrecognized churches in the district would soon be shut down. All villages in the district were ordered by a local Communist Party official, the district deputy police chief and the district head of religious affairs to attend the seminar from April 3rd through 5th titled "Tricks of the Enemy," during which, according to villagers present, officials declared that Westerners, particularly those from the U.S., were using Christian faith to destabilize the government. They then declared that the 745 Christians in Khamnonsung could only meet in private homes -- claiming that the Khamnonsung church building had been constructed without proper permission when it was built in 1963.
Publication date: April 10, 2012