Religion Today Summaries - February 22, 2012

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - February 22, 2012

Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.

In today's edition:

  • New Fears for Iranian Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani on Death Row
  • Christian NBA Star Jeremy Lin Gets Censored in China
  • LifeWay Declines Southern Baptist Convention Request to Bar NIV From Stores
  • Citizens in Five States Likely to Vote on Marriage


New Fears for Iranian Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani on Death Row

In what it called an "extremely dangerous turn of events," the American Center for Law and Justice said yesterday it had learned from contacts in Iran that Yousef Nadarkhani, the Christian pastor facing a death sentence for "apostasy," looks increasingly likely to be executed, reports. "Pastor Yousef's case had been stalled due to increased international pressure and the Iranian court's request that Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, decide [his] fate," said Jordan Sekulow, executive director of the ACLJ. "Now, because Pastor Yousef has continually refused to give into the regime's demands that he renounce his Christian faith, the likelihood that the Iranian regime will execute him increases by the day." Sekulow said the ACLJ was continuing to work with Nadarkhani's attorney in Iran, the State Department and members of Congress in an effort to save his life.

Christian NBA Star Jeremy Lin Gets Censored in China

New York Knicks player Jeremy Lin, the 23-year-old former third-string point guard who rose to basketball stardom overnight after leading his team to a series of surprise victories, has taken the sports and media worlds by storm with his story and his faith. However, Chinese media has been notably silent about Lin, an indication that his Taiwanese background and devout Christianity might not be sitting well with government censors, International Christian Concern reports. Last week, China Central Television's sports channel ran a taped football match instead of a live broadcast of Lin leading the Knicks to victory with a last-second three-pointer, leaving Chinese basketball fans questioning why Chinese TV has not shown Lin's games. Additionally, a news report on Chinese TV translated a comment from a New Yorker interviewed in English who referenced God -- "I love the fact that [Lin] gave praise to his team and to God" -- into simply "I love him for praising his team."

LifeWay Declines Southern Baptist Convention Request to Bar NIV From Stores

The trustees of LifeWay Christian Resources voted unanimously to continue selling 2011 New International Version (NIV) Bibles in its bookstores, despite a request from the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) for the publishing organization not to do so, Christianity Today reports. The SBC passed a resolution at its annual convention in June criticizing the new NIV version as an "inaccurate translation of God's inspired Scripture" because it removes male pronouns from passages where both genders are contextually implied, and asked LifeWay, which is owned and operated by the convention, not to sell the Bibles. However, LifeWay's trustee executive committee ruled this month that the organization will continue to sell them. "From a retail perspective, we do not believe that we should cease carrying and make available to the public the 2011 NIV," said committee chairman Adam Greenway. "We do not believe the 2011 NIV rises to the level where it should be pulled or censored or not carried in our retail chain."

Citizens in Five States Likely to Vote on Marriage

It appears likely that citizens in five states will vote on the definition of marriage this year, with the latest addition to that list being Maryland, Baptist Press reports. Maryland's House of Delegates voted 72-67 on Feb. 17 to legalize gay marriage, sending the bill to the Senate, which passed a similar bill last year. Democratic Gov. Martin O'Malley has pledged to sign it; however, once it is signed, conservatives can begin collecting signatures to place the issue on the ballot in November, where voters could ultimately veto it. Voters in Washington and Maine will also likely decide in November whether to legalize gay marriage, and voters in North Carolina and Minnesota will vote in May and November, respectively, whether to define marriage as between a man and a woman in their state constitutions. In states where marriage will appear on the ballot, supporters of traditional marriage will likely spotlight two themes that have proven successful in other states: that children need both mothers and fathers, and that legalizing gay marriage will have negative consequences on religious freedom and elementary school curriculum.

Publication date: February 22, 2012