Religion Today Summaries - January 23, 2012

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - January 23, 2012

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

In today's edition:

  • Are Presidential Candidates Turning Voters Off With Expressions of Faith?
  • Home-Building in Rural Guatemala Leads to Discipleship, Church Planting
  • Fears for Safety of Christian Man Accused of Blasphemy in Pakistan
  • New Hampshire House Defunds Planned Parenthood

 

Are Presidential Candidates Turning Voters Off With Expressions of Faith?

A new poll by LifeWay Research shows that presidential candidates who share their faith on the campaign trail may not be helping their cause, the Christian Post reports. At least half the GOP presidential candidates have spoken about their personal religious convictions while on the campaign trail, but according to the study, only one in six Americans, or 16 percent, said they were more likely to vote for a candidate who regularly shared their religious beliefs. Even more interestingly, 30 percent indicated they would be less likely to vote for a candidate expressing religious activity, 28 percent said it would have no impact on their choice of a candidate, and 21 percent said it would depend on the candidate's religion.

Home-Building in Rural Guatemala Leads to Discipleship, Church Planting

A ministry committed to meeting the physical needs of Guatemalans has paved the way for church planting and many turning to Christ, Mission Network News reports. More than 15 years ago, Paradise Bound Ministries began sending teams to build homes and set up medical clinics in rural villages. "What has grown out of that -- especially in the last five to 10 years -- is discipleship, growing out of the impact we're having within [villages]," said Dan Smith, executive director of Paradise Bound. Discipleship groups have grown into church plants, which has led to missionaries being placed in those villages to provide leadership and pastoral training to others. Within a year, Smith said, the pastors and leaders are then able to train others, and they are developing action plans for sharing the gospel. "They're saying, 'I know that village next to me needs Jesus Christ,'" he said. "They're going to get to that village and present the gospel to their neighbors."

Fears for Safety of Christian Man Accused of Blasphemy in Pakistan

ASSIST News Service reports that there are fears for the safety of a young Christian man falsely accused of blasphemy in Pakistan who says he has been tortured and beaten in prison. Khurram Masih, 25, was detained last month after being accused of burning pages from the Quran. "An angry mob of around 1,000 Muslims had blocked a road ... for three hours demanding his arrest; they damaged several vehicles and ransacked the local police station," said a spokesperson for Barnabas Fund. "Khurram said that he was badly beaten by the police after his arrest and compelled to confess to the act of which he was falsely accused. He added that he was not given anything to eat for three days." Khurram, who has been married for just three months, was denied bail Jan. 3 after a court hearing and is being held in prison in Lahore. "We fear for [his] life," a local church leader said. Pakistan's blasphemy laws, which are often used against Christians and other non-Muslims, punish desecration of the Quran with life imprisonment.

New Hampshire House Defunds Planned Parenthood

The New Hampshire House of Representatives voted 207-147 on Jan. 18 to pass a bill stripping state funding of Planned Parenthood and any other group performing elective abortions, WORLD News Service reports. The 60-vote majority was plenty to pass HB 228 on to the state Senate, but not enough to override a potential veto from Gov. John Lynch. "The majority of people agree that, regardless of individual beliefs, taxpayers should not be forced to contribute to the largest abortion provider in America when so many are diametrically religiously and morally opposed to the practice of abortion," House Speaker Bill O'Brien said. Last October, the House Health and Human Services committee -- consisting of 13 Republicans and five Democrats -- voted 12-5 to kill the bill on the House floor, but O'Brien urged legislators to ignore that report and support the bill instead.

Publication date: January 23, 2012

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