Religion Today Summaries - March 25, 2011

Religion Today Summaries - March 25, 2011

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

In today's edition:

  • Apple Pulls 'Anti-Gay' App after Pressure
  • Five Christians Face Trial for Blasphemy in Iran
  • 'Love Wins' Draws Controversy - And Readers
  • More U.S. Colleges Adding Muslim Chaplains


Apple Pulls 'Anti-Gay' App after Pressure

Nearly 150,000 signed a petition demanding Apple remove an app from its store that allegedly pushed a "gay cure," ABC News reports, prompting the company to remove it on late Tuesday. The Christian group behind the app, Exodus International, says they only want to be a "refuge for people looking for help in their journey out of homosexuality." A spokesman for Apple said, "We removed the app from the App Store because it violates our developer guidelines by being offensive to large groups of people." Jeff Buchanan, senior director of church equipping and student ministries for Exodus, said the group was disappointed to see the negative reaction to its app. "What we're asking for is fair and equal representation on the Apple platform," he said. "We see this as a religious freedom."

Five Christians Face Trial for Blasphemy in Iran

Five Iranian Christians, who were recently sentenced to one year’s imprisonment for crimes against the Islamic Order at the Revolutionary Court in Shiraz, will stand trial in a lower court on blasphemy charges in within two weeks. Christian Solidarity Worldwide reports that Pastor Behrouz Sadegh-Khandjani, Mehdi Furutan, Mohammad Beliad, Parviz Khalaj and Nazly Beliad, members of the Church of Iran denomination, were arrested in June 2010. All faced charges of apostasy, political meetings, blasphemy and crimes against the Islamic Order. They spent eight months in jail before being released on bail in February. It was initially assumed that the other charges against the five men had been dropped.  However, a source close to the detainees has revealed that they will now face charges of blasphemy in a lower court, possibly due to the fact that lower courts are generally more disposed to hand down guilty verdicts.

'Love Wins' Draws Controversy - And Readers

Christian Newswire reports that a controversial book on the doctrine of hell and God's love has reached #2 this week on the New York Times bestseller list, just two weeks after its release. Rob Bell's "Love Wins" sparked passionate debate on Twitter and evangelical blogs in the weeks leading to its release. The conversation has drawn Christian leaders such as Albert Mohler and Brian McLaren into the conversation, which now includes thousands of readers. "Love Wins" questions traditional Christian doctrine by suggesting that a loving God ultimately will not send people to an eternal hell.

More U.S. Colleges Adding Muslim Chaplains

USA Today reports that a growing number of universities and colleges are bringing full-time Muslim chaplains on board. "We're not thinking of this as trying to address a major deficiency, but rather a natural evolution," says Nadeem Shafi, a Cornell alumnus who is an assistant professor at the University of Florida College of Medicine. The school is considering adding a Muslim chaplain. "The idea of having a Muslim chaplain provide supportive services is not a new one. There are several (universities) that have them. It's time and appropriate for such a support system to be here (at Cornell)." An estimated 30 Muslim chaplains work on campuses throughout the U.S., most of them part-time.