Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
Superman to the Rescue of Religious Teaching in
Superman is bringing his otherworldly powers to British schools to teach godless children about Christianity. Religious education teachers are being encouraged to use the superhero as a modern-day model for Jesus Christ to give youngsters an insight into morality and religious thinking, the Daily Telegraph reported on Saturday. "Teenagers visit the cinema and see films on television and DVDs, so it's hardly surprising that their assessments of what is heroic and what is evil, possible or impossible, are partly based on what they watch," said Helen Cook, head of post-graduate teacher training at Sheffield Hallam University in northern England. Cook pointed to many parallels between the "Man of Steel" and Jesus: ·Both were sent by their fathers to Earth, both achieve prominent adulthoods after an obscure childhood, both help the humans they are sent to live with, both are champions of truth over injustice. Cook argued that with church attendance on the wane, it has become increasingly difficult to explain the basic tenets of faith to children, who require ‘’an identifiable point of reference.” The Church of England's spokesman on religious education, John Gay, said that analogies could be highly effective as a teaching technique, but only if used carefully.
Pope Benedict XVI on Sunday urged the faithful to develop a new respect for life. A Washington Post story reports that Benedict, marking the Church's "Day for Life," stressed that in our “so-called well-off societies,... life is exalted as long as it's pleasant, but one tends to not respect it any more when it is sick or damaged." The description "sick or damaged" refers to deformed fetuses, the severely disabled, terminally ill patients or people in vegetative states. The pontiff cited the 1995 encyclical "Evangelium Vitae," in which the late Pope John Paul II delivered the
The regional head of the ATF said all five fires that broke out early Friday in Bibb County, AL "obviously" were arson, and agents are trying to determine whether a sixth fire that broke out a day earlier at a church in neighboring Chilton County was set. Investigators said they had no suspects or apparent motive, but the FBI said it was looking at possible civil rights violations under laws focusing on attacks on religious institutions. Meanwhile, an AP story reports that members of the burned churches still held worship Sunday. Pastor David Hand of Old Union Baptist counted the blessings of his little country church. "I'm just so thrilled we have a building today," Hand said to "Amens" from the 60 people gathered. Worshippers struggled to make sense of the church fires, but their faith seemed stronger than ever. Members of
Two young Coptic Christian women whose father had converted to Islam when they were infants have won a court battle in