Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- White House, State Department Call for Iranian Pastor Nadarkhani's Release
- Nigerian Muslims Slit the Throat of 79-Year-Old Christian Woman
- Virginia Senate Rejects Personhood Bill for Unborn Children
- Alabama Bill Would Allow Religion Classes Off Campus
White House, State Department Call for Iranian Pastor Nadarkhani's Release
The White House and the U.S. State Department have released statements calling for the release of imprisoned Iranian pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, whose execution orders have reportedly been issued, according to the American Center for Law and Justice. The White House said: "The United States condemns in the strongest possible terms reports that Iranian authorities reaffirmed a death sentence for Iranian pastor Youcef Nadarkhani for the sole reason of his refusal to recant his Christian faith. ... The United States calls upon the Iranian authorities to immediately lift the sentence, release Pastor Nadarkhani, and demonstrate a commitment to basic, universal human rights, including freedom of religion." The State Department said: "Such government persecution for simply following one's faith is common in Iran. ... We stand with religious and political leaders from around the world in condemning Youcef Nadarkhani's conviction and call for his immediate release."
Nigerian Muslims Slit the Throat of 79-Year-Old Christian Woman
Police discovered the body of a 79-year-old Christian woman killed in northeast Nigeria, with her throat slit and a note in Arabic left on her chest reading, "We will get you soon," ABC News reports. Authorities also found a Bible placed under Shetu Haruna Malgwi's feet. Her family believed the note was for her son, the pastor of a local church where she sang in the choir. Police are investigating the killing but say they know of no immediate suspects; witnesses, however, blamed the attack on the militant Islamist group Boko Haram, which has taken credit for the deaths of at least 305 people so far this year. Religious tensions continue to rise in Nigeria as Boko Haram increasingly targets Christians in its bloody attacks.
Virginia Senate Rejects Personhood Bill for Unborn Children
Just hours after a Virginia Senate committee narrowly approved a bill that would give unborn children the legal rights of citizens and "other persons," the bill was defeated Thursday in the full Senate, The Atlantic reports. The Senate voted 24-14 to send the bill back to the Senate Education and Health committee, with two pro-life Democrats abstaining, a highly unusual move that effectively killed the bill for the year. It would have provided that "unborn children at every stage of development enjoy all the rights, privileges and immunities available to other persons, citizens and residents of the commonwealth." The bill, introduced by Del. Bob Marshall (R-Prince William) had already been approved by the Republican-controlled House; Marshall said it would not affect birth control, IVF or abortions but would allow parents to receive damages for the death of an unborn child in a wrongful death lawsuit.
Alabama Bill Would Allow Religion Classes Off Campus
A bill in Alabama would allow churches or ministries to teach a religion class to public school students off campus if parents and school boards gave permission and the churches were responsible for transportation and any expenses, the Religion News Service reports. Republican Rep. Blaine Galliher introduced the bill at the request of Joseph Kennedy, 84, who was fired in 1980 after he refused to stop reading the Bible or teaching creationism at a public school. Under the plan, high school students could go off campus to study creationism and earn an elective credit. Kennedy said he wanted to "give students good, sound scientific reasons to support their faith in the seven-day creation." Kennedy said he and supporters had formed a board of directors for a new Institute for Biblical Studies, which would offer a creationism class if the law were passed.
Publication date: February 27, 2012