Religion Today Summaries - Jan. 19, 2010

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Jan. 19, 2010

Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:

  • More than 40 Killed in Nigerian Church Attack
  • Orissa: Christians Forced from Camps before EU Visit
  • Coptic Christians Rally in U.S. for Believers in Egypt
  • University Can Reject Christian Courses, Calif. Court Rules

More than 40 Killed in Nigerian Church Attack

Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) reports that more than 40 people have been killed in the Nigerian city of Jos after Muslim youths attacked Christians near a Catholic Church. Around 200 Muslim youths claimed to gather yesterday to renovate a house next to St. Michael's Catholic Church, but allegedly launched an unprovoked assault on female passerby before attacks those in the church. The attacks escalated to torched houses, business, and other local churches. Angered by the violence, Christian youths gathered to launch a counter attack, and the violence soon spread to other areas of Jos North. Plateau State's Police Commissioner said that 30 armed people had been arrested in connection with the attack, five of whom were wearing military uniform. Rev Yunusa Nmadu, CEO of CSW Nigeria concurred: "If the people arrested in connection with the November 2008 violence and reportedly transferred to Abuja for trial had indeed been prosecuted, this would been a deterrent, and perhaps the current violence may not have occurred".

Orissa: Christians Forced from Camps before EU Visit

Christian Today reports that displaced Christians in Orissa face premature eviction from their refugee camps prior to this month's EU delegation visit. "The local government has ordered to vacate people immediately and if we refuse police force will be used," a worried survivor said. Many of the camp's residents have been there since 2008, when Hindu extremists blamed Christians for the murder of their leader and burned Christian homes. The European Union delegation will visit for a fact-finding mission starting Jan. 27, and Indian officials are reportedly trying to project a peaceful image. "We cannot go back to our village, because they will not allow us to live there if we do not convert to Hinduism," said Meena Nayak, a mother of two. "The government is not prepared to provide security and necessary helps. On top of it they are trying to throw us out from here also."

Coptic Christians Rally in U.S. for Believers in Egypt

The Christian Post reports that the deaths of Coptic Christians in Egypt last week have sparked demonstrations in the United States. On Jan. 16, hundreds of Coptic Christians in Tampa, Fla. marched for what they described as 1,400 years of persecution of Copts in Egypt. "We're raising our voices for those in authority to stop what is happening in Egypt to Christians," said the Rev. Moussa Saleh, leader of Tampa's St. George Coptic Orthodox Church. In Texas, Coptic Christians held a similar protest outside the Federal Building in Dallas. Police in Egypt have arrested three men in the drive-by shootings that killed seven people in an open market and outside a church, but some Copts do not believe they will receive justice. The shootings were part of a uptick in Egypt's religious violence in recent months.

University Can Reject Christian Courses, Calif. Court Rules

Religion News Service reports that the University of California has the right to reject courses taught at Christian high schools, a federal appeals court ruled Jan. 12. Calvary Chapel Christian School in Murrieta, Calif., and the Association of Christian Schools International claimed the university's review policy was unconstitutional because it refused to certify courses that taught creationism and other beliefs. "The district court correctly determined that UC's rejections of the Calvary courses were reasonable and did not constitute viewpoint discrimination," the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled. Students from private schools must meet certain high-school requirements before they are eligible to apply to an undergraduate campus of the University of California. "UC's policy and its individual course decisions are not based on religion, but on whether a high school course is college preparatory," the three-judge panel ruled.