Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- East Africa: Grandfather Steals Children From 'Infidel' Christian Son
- Christian Pastor Shot Dead in the Philippines
- Survey: Millennials' Religious 'Unaffiliation' Similar at Faith-Based, Public Colleges
- Azerbaijan: Waiting for State Approval to Sell Religious Books
East Africa: Grandfather Steals Children From 'Infidel' Christian Son
A man in a heavily Muslim region of East Africa recently kidnapped his grandchildren upon discovering that their father -- his son -- was teaching them about Christianity, Mission Network News reports. The grandfather, "Demissie," found his grandson reading a Bible one day, and when he asked what it was, the boy said it belonged to his father. Demissie confronted his son, "Beniam," telling him: "When you die, I'm not coming to your funeral. You are no longer my son. You are dead to me." Demissie said he wouldn't allow his grandchildren to be raised by an "infidel," then forced the children away from Beniam and took them away. Beniam hasn't seen any of his kids since that day three months ago, but he says he is still dedicated to following the Lord and sharing the gospel. "I know what is true, and once you know what is true, you can't go back," he said. "[My wife and I] have chosen to walk the road of Jesus, and we're not going back even if our family says we must. Even though they've taken my children away and even though they've said I'm dead to them, I'm still telling other people about Jesus. I'm still giving Bibles to those who want to read."
Christian Pastor Shot Dead in the Philippines
A pastor of a Philippines church was shot dead in Quezon City by two unknown gunmen in front of his teenage daughter on Wednesday night, ASSIST News Service reports. Wilfredo Germidia, pastor of a local Born Again Christian Church, was shot five times in the head as he was getting off his motorcycle to deliver newspapers along Payatas Road. Germidia's relatives said he had "no enemies" and had been a "model family man;" no motive for the shooting is known at this time. The Philippines has seen a growing number of gruesome murders of Christian pastors, most unresolved by the government. The country also has the highest number of Christian converts in the Southeast Asia region, due to the church's aggressiveness in Bible studies, campus evangelism and soul-winning programs.
Survey: Millennials' Religious 'Unaffiliation' Similar at Faith-Based, Public Colleges
According to a new survey, "millennials" enrolled in faith-based colleges are just as likely to leave the religious affiliation of their childhood as students at public universities, the Christian Post reports. The 2012 Millennial Values Survey found that college-age millennials are more likely than the general population to be religiously unaffiliated. In addition, only 23 percent believe the Bible is the word of God and should be understood literally, while 26 percent believe the Bible is the word of God but should not be taken entirely literally, and 37 percent believe the Bible was written by men and is not the word of God. Study author Dr. Robert P. Jones, CEO of the Public Religion Research Institute, said that while there was a positive correlation between higher levels of education and an increased percentage of those who identified as religiously unaffiliated, correlation was not necessarily causation. "We can't infer from this that attending college makes one more likely to be unaffiliated," he said.
Azerbaijan: Waiting for State Approval to Sell Religious Books
About 100 shops that want to sell religious books and items are still waiting for the approval they need from Azerbaijan's State Committee for Work with Religious Organizations before they are legally allowed to sell them, Forum 18 News reports. The committee -- which operates Azerbaijan's harsh religious censorship system -- has only issued 16 such licenses since the system's introduction in 2009, and only one since November 2011. Selling religious books without a State Committee license is subject to a massive fine or imprisonment of up to two years for a first offense, and all religious literature published in or imported into the country is subject to strict compulsory prior censorship. It remains unclear how long the 100 vendors have been waiting for approval, or how the committee decides which to approve and which to reject, but 15 recent legal cases challenging the committee's censorship decisions have all failed.
Publication date: April 27, 2012