Daily briefs of the top Christian news and persecution stories impacting believers around the world.
In today's edition:
- Earliest Icons of Peter and Paul Found in Rome
- Catholic Church Leader Calls for Tolerance in Italy Crucifix Hearing
- Church Rejects PETA Offer for Vegan Jesus Statue
- Christian Group Slams Obama's Salute to Gay Dads
Earliest Icons of Peter and Paul Found in Rome
The Associated Press reports that archaeologists have unearthed the earliest known icons of the Apostles Peter and Paul, long buried under an eight-story modern office building in Rome. On Tuesday, the Vatican said the images date from the second half of the 4th century. The tomb where they were discovered is also home to the earliest known images of the Apostles John and Andrew. "These are the first images of the apostles," said Fabrizio Bisconti, the superintendent of archaeology for the catacombs, which are maintained by the Vatican's Pontifical Commission of Sacred Archaeology. The images were uncovered with a technique that utilizes a laser to burn of thick calcium carbonate deposits that have obscured the paintings for centuries.
Catholic Church Leader Calls for Tolerance in Italy Crucifix Hearing
Catholic Church leaders are urging religious tolerance as the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) decides whether to overturn a ban on crucifixes in Italy's public schools, according to Christian Today. The ECHR ruled last November that displaying crucifixes violated the right of parents to educate their children in line with their own convictions. Cardinal Keith O'Brien, President of the Bishops' Conference of Scotland, warned that the implication of next week's ruling could be "sweeping." He said, "The precious religious heritage of many people and nations across Europe as well as the values of authentic tolerance and freedom of belief that are propounded in democratic societies are under threat."
Church Rejects PETA Offer for Vegan Jesus Statue
A leading animal rights group has offered to replace the six-story-high statue of Jesus that was incinerated by lighting two week ago, but with a twist. Fox News reports that people for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) offered to build a new version of the Ohio landmark that would depict Jesus holding a lamb. A banner underneath would read: "Blessed are the merciful. Go Vegan," according to a letter from PETA vice president Bruce Friedrich. Pastor Lawrence Bishop of Solid Rock Church in the town of Monroe, east of Dayton, called the offer "amusing." "They want to build a statue free if it would advertise them, which is a ridiculous idea because that statue is not to promote any agenda," Bishop said.
Christian Group Slams Obama's Salute to Gay Dads
The Associated Press reports that President Obama's salute on Father's Day is still drawing criticism from traditional marriage and family groups. During his proclamation, the president said, "Nurturing families come in many forms, and children may be raised by a father and mother, a single father, two fathers, a step father, a grandfather, or caring guardian." White House Deputy Press Secretary Bill Burton said the president was just being "inclusive." American Family Association president Tim Wildmon saw the mention differently. "This is the first time in our nation's history that a president has used Father's Day as an excuse to promote the radical homosexual agenda and completely redefine the word 'family,'" he said.