Religion Today Summaries - March 23, 2011

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - March 23, 2011

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

In today's edition:

  • 35,000 Bibles Released in Malaysia – With Conditions
  • Probe of Christian Official's Murder Insufficient, Christians Say
  • Vatican Praises EU Ruling on Crucifixes in Class
  • Exodus Responds to Apple Petition to Pull 'Gay Cure' App


35,000 Bibles Released in Malaysia – With Conditions

Mission News Network reports that Christians in Malaysia are not celebrating the release of 35,000 Bibles previously detained by Malaysian officials. Despite a court decision approving the Bible's use of the word "Allah" for "God," government officials are reluctant follow the court order and risk upsetting Muslims. "Now the government is saying, ‘Okay, we'll go ahead and release these Bibles, but we want you to stamp on the front of them that these are for the use of Christians only, not for the use of other religions,'" says Todd Nettleton with Voice of the Martyrs. "They also want each of the Bibles to be stamped with a serial number, which obviously then presents the opportunity for them to be traced. If the Bible turns up later in the hands of a Muslim or in the hands of someone they say shouldn't have it, they could trace it back and say, ‘Okay, where did this Bible come from? Who was it?' and try to get back to the people who are distributing Bibles there."

Probe of Christian Official's Murder Insufficient, Christians Say

Christians in Pakistan don't believe the investigation into the murder of the slain federal minister for minority affairs is really furthering justice. ASSIST News Service reports that Dr. Paul Bhatti, elder brother of the slain Shahbaz Bhatti, said he has "grave concerns" after his brother's "martyrdom." Shahbaz Bhatti was the only Christian member of Pakistan's government, has yet to be replaced three weeks after his death. Police say they have arrested one of the alleged killers, who reportedly confessed. However, police have been reluctant to share any information about the investigation for "various reasons." Dr. Bhatti has demanded that government of Pakistan establish a “judicial commission” to probe his brother’s murder which took place at the start of this month. 

Vatican Praises EU Ruling on Crucifixes in Class

A European high court has validated Italy's appeal to leave crucifixes hanging on the walls of its public schools. The Strasbourg, France-based European Court of Human Rights initially ruled that the crucifixes violated the secular purpose and values of public school, according to The Associated Press, but now said there is no evidence the symbol "might have an influence on pupils." Majority Catholic countries within the European Union mostly welcomed the decision, as did the Vatican. It said the court recognized that crucifixes weren't a form of indoctrination but rather "an expression of the cultural and religious identity of traditionally Christian countries."

Exodus Responds to Apple Petition to Pull 'Gay Cure' App

Another Christian app may be on the chopping block after gay rights activists targeted Exodus International's iPhone app, calling it the "gay cure" app. The Christian Post reports that more than 107,000 people have petitioned Apple to remove the app from the iTunes store. This same tactic succeeded in getting Apple to remove the Manhattan Declaration, another Christian group's app. The Christian group, under fire by gay rights activists for the so-called "gay cure" app, responded to the controversy Monday, saying its Apple app is being grossly misrepresented. "In no way shape or form is our message about trying to cure or do we try to promote that type of methodology or message," Jeff Buchanan, Exodus International's Senior Director of Church Equipping & Student Ministries, told The Christian Post.