Religion Today Summaries - March 24, 2010

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - March 24, 2010

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

  • Pakistan: Christian Burned to Death, Wife Raped
  • Egypt's Christians Furious Over 2nd Delay of Murder Trial
  • Iraqi Archbishop Optimistic after National Election
  • Britain: Christians Move to Oppose Civil Partnership in Churches

Pakistan: Christian Burned to Death, Wife Raped

SperoNews reports that Christians in Pakistan suffered another loss on Monday, when a Christian man burned for refusing to convert died of his injuries. His wife remains hospitalized after being raped, allegedly at the hands of police officials who arrested her. Arshed Masih and his wife Martha were assaulted outside a local police station after their employer, a wealthy Muslim family, demanded that they convert or face "dire consequences." The couple's three children, ages 7 to 12, witnessed the atrocities against their parents. "We condemn the recent incidents and violence against Christians. We ask the government for justice and legality, so that such acts do not go unpunished. We demand that the rights of Christians are respected, as they should be for all other citizens," said Catholic Archbishop Lawrence Saldanha of Lahore, President of the Pakistani Bishops' Conference.

Egypt's Christians Furious Over 2nd Delay of Murder Trial

The Christian Post reports that the Egyptian government has again delayed the trial of three Muslims who allegedly gunned down six Christians on Christmas Eve. "They have postponed the trial twice, and they are going to postpone it again and again," said Wagih Yacoub, a Coptic human rights activists, to International Christian Concern. "This is what we worry about. Soon the case will die... and all of a sudden we will wake up one day, and the guys will be innocent, and they will walk around on the street again after killing six kids at the Christmas mass." Christians in Egypt say they are often denied justice, giving impunity to those who attack the Coptic community. The new trial date is April 18, more than two months after the original date of Feb. 13.

Iraqi Archbishop Optimistic after National Election

Christian Telegraph reports that the violence-racked city of Mosul in Iraq may finally have some peace. After the March 7 elections, Archbishop of Kirkuk Louis Sako said he was "very optimistic" that the results will help stabilize the area and provide a safer place. Christian residents seem to agree with him, as most of the 3,500 people who fled before the election have returned. At least 30 people were killed in the run up to the election, including many targeted Christians. Sako said, "The last election in 2005 was much more sectarian. Now people have chosen more secular parties, not like last time. Whatever happens, it will be a good result. I am very optimistic about that." He believes Christians will see peace regardless of the election results, which are expected by the end of March. "People are tired of violence and they are determined to see an improvement," he said.

Britain: Christians Move to Oppose Civil Partnership in Churches

Christian Today reports that Christians in the United Kingdom continue their efforts to scrap a provision of the controversial Equality Bill that would allow civil partnerships to occur in places of worship. A petition against the measure has gathered more than 6,000 signatures. According to Andrea Minichiello of Christian Concern For Our Nation, the group circulating the petition, "The thousands of individuals who have signed the petition asking the Government to reject the amendment believe that if it became law, what has been called permissive legislation would ultimately lead to coercing religious believers to act against their conscience." She cites the precedent of the 2004 Civil Partnership Act, which began as "permissive legislation." The law has since led to the ouster of registrars who refuse to perform civil ceremonies.