Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- 'Narnia' Returns to Theaters, Counts on Faith-Based Audience
- Gay Couple Sues Guesthouse Owners for Discrimination
- After Latest Murders, Iraqi Christians Flee by the Hundreds
- Pro-Life Message Spreads in China
'Narnia' Returns to Theaters, Counts on Faith-Based Audience
C.S. Lewis fans have the chance to return to Narnia today as the third film, "The Voyage of the Dawn Treader," opens in theaters. The film reportedly returns to more faith-based storytelling and has been heavily marketed to the faith-based audience, as Fox and Walden Media try to return the franchise to the popularity of the first film. ABC News reports that actor Liam Neeson, who voices the Christ-like character of Aslan, created a minor controversy just before the opening with his interpretation of the beloved character. "Aslan symbolizes a Christ-like figure, but he also symbolizes for me Mohammed, Buddha and all the great spiritual leaders and prophets over the centuries," Neeson said. "The Voyage of the Dawn Treader" tracks the continuing adventures of King Caspian and the three English children who magically appear in his world at Aslan's command.
Gay Couple Sues Guesthouse Owners for Discrimination
A Christian couple in England faces a court hearing next week after they denied a room at their guesthouse to a gay couple. Peter and Hazelmary Bull have a married-couples-only policy on all double rooms at the Chymorvah Private Hotl in Marazion, Cornwall, and denied Steven Preddy and Martyn Hall a room on that basis. Christian Today reports that the two men are suing the couple for discrimination based on sexual orientation. The couple could faces fines of up to £5,000 if convicted. The couple's defense leader, Christian Institute director Colin Hart, noted that the guesthouse is also the Bull's private residence. "This case could determine whether Christians are permitted to operate B&Bs that restrict double bed accommodation to married couples," he said.
After Latest Murders, Iraqi Christians Flee by the Hundreds
Christians in Iraq recently faced attack not only in public gathering places, but in their own homes. Two elderly Christians died last week gunmen raided their property in Baghdad, prompting ever-increasing numbers of the Christian community to flee the country itself. As the recent shooting demonstrates, just leaving the cities is no longer enough, according to Worthy News. "The victims, Hikmat and Samira Sammak like many Iraqi Christians had left the capital and gone to live in the north. Tragically, they had just returned briefly to Baghdad to finalize the sale of their home and furniture," the Barnabus Fund said in a statement. An estimated 500 families have left for the region. "The refugees leave behind their homes, possessions and work. And although the authorities have promised to give $400 to every family who moves, some Christians have commented that this is not enough to cover even one month's rent for a flat in the north," Barnabas Fund explained.
Pro-Life Message Spreads in China
Baptist Press reports that opponents of abortion in China are using various forms of media to communicate the pro-life message in the face of the country's coercive abortion regime. Even as they utilize Internet sites, DVDs and booklets, Chinese pro-lifers recognize, however, their mission is daunting on a variety of levels. While pro-lifers in China work against the power of the world's strongest Communist system, Christians in unregistered churches reportedly are the targets of a new crackdown by the government. During the three-decade one-child program, the state actions against women have included forced abortions, even on women in the eighth and ninth months of pregnancy, and compulsory sterilizations. Infanticide, especially of female babies, also has been reported. Penalties for violations of the policy also have included fines, arrests and the destruction of homes. At least 13 million abortions are performed in China each year, according to an estimate by the country's National Population and Family Planning Commission.