Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- Gallup: More Religious People Are More Healthy
- CSW Calls Iran to Release Two Pastors Charged with Apostasy
- Bible Translating Ministry: Work in Southern Sudan Uncertain
Gallup: More Religious People Are More Healthy
Americans who are "very religious" are more likely to practice healthy behaviors than those who are less religious, a Gallup survey shows. The new findings are based on a survey of more than 550,000 people who were asked about their decisions related to healthy eating, smoking and exercise. Religion News Service reports that, overall, very religious Americans scored 66.3 on a "healthy behavior index," compared to 60.6 among the moderately religious and 58.3 among the nonreligious. The very religious were defined as those who consider religion to be an important part of their daily lives and say they attend worship services at least every week or almost every week. Gallup said a variety of factors could contribute to the link between religion and healthy living, including Americans following religious doctrine about shunning smoking, alcohol or gluttony. Gallup noted the relationship could also be reversed, with healthier people more likely to adopt a particular religion.
CSW Calls Iran to Release Two Pastors Charged with Apostasy
Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) remains deeply concerned by reports of two Iranian pastors who have been charged with apostasy, and that one of them currently faces a death sentence. Their cases come at a time when religious minorities in the country are experiencing an increase in persecution, including detention and imprisonment. Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani, from Rasht in Northern Iran, is currently being held incommunicado in Lakan prison. Pastor Behrouz Sadegh-Khanjani, a second generation Christian from Tehran and chairman of the Pastoral Council of the Church of Iran, has been detained in a high security prison in Shiraz since June this year. "They are being held solely for exercising their right to freedom of thought, conscience and belief. The international community must continue to urge the Iranian Government to release all those detained on the basis of their religious affiliation," said CSW's Advocacy Director Andrew Johnston.
Bible Translating Ministry: Work in Southern Sudan Uncertain
As Sudan nears a Jan. 9 referendum that will determine the future of the country, one ministry assisting Bible translators is trying to speed its efforts in Southern Sudan in case its work is affect. "We don't know how much longer the door to Southern Sudan will be open to us," said Bruce Smith, president and CEO of Wycliffe Associates, an organization that mobilizes volunteers to assist Bible translation, in a statement. "Nobody knows what will happen after the referendum - whether there will be lasting peace or a new outbreak of civil war." The Christian Post reports that the Jan. 9 referendum includes a measure in which the South will vote whether it wants to secede from the North. The vote is a key provision of the 2005 Sudan Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), which ended more than 20 years of civil war.