Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- Terror Group 'Enjoys' Killing Nigerian Christians
- Maryland Gay Marriage Bill Signed, But Not Legal Yet
- University Declares Christian Group Isn't 'Religious'
- Kazakhstan Heightens Religious Crackdown
Terror Group 'Enjoys' Killing Nigerian Christians
A spokesman for Boko Haram, the al-Qaeda-linked African terror group that has declared war on Nigeria's Christians, says he enjoys killing them, CBN News reports. In a video released online, he said, "I enjoy killing anyone that God commands me to kill the way I enjoy killing chickens and rams." The Islamic fighters have killed hundreds in multiple attacks on Christian homes and churches, with the goal of turning the nation into an Islamic country ruled by sharia law. Many Christians have fled the particularly unstable Kano state and moved south, and other Christian neighborhoods have taken measures to defend themselves. Still others continue to rely on God for protection and pray for their attackers. "I want God to touch their hearts so they will know that what they are doing is not good," said Uche Bonaventure, who spent several weeks in the hospital recovering from burns after a deadly church bombing on Christmas Day.
Maryland Gay Marriage Bill Signed, But Not Legal Yet
Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley signed a bill into law Thursday that would legalize gay marriage in the state beginning in January 2013, but churches are already mobilizing to reverse it on the ballot, Baptist Press reports. The governor's signature technically made Maryland the eighth state to legalize gay marriage, but Maryland is one of two states almost certain to see the law challenged on the November ballot -- the other being Washington state. Under the umbrella name Maryland Marriage Alliance, multiple churches and conservative organizations will gather signatures with the goal of giving voters the chance to reverse the law through a referendum. About 56,000 valid signatures are required. Six states currently recognize gay marriage: Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Vermont, Iowa and New York; 31 states have voted on gay marriage at the ballot and it has lost in every state.
University Declares Christian Group Isn't 'Religious'
The Alliance Defense Fund filed a lawsuit Feb. 29 against the University of North Carolina-Greensboro for actions it's taking against a Christian club on campus, WORLD News Service reports. The school said if the "Make Up Your Own Mind" club wanted campus recognition, it needed to allow students of all belief systems to hold leadership systems, but because it wasn't affiliated with a church it was not a "religious group" and therefore could not be exempted from the school's nondiscrimination policy. The club, however, has a Christian mission and currently requires all its members and leaders to agree with a statement of faith and uphold the value of human life. Several student groups at the school work with nonprofit organizations rather than churches but are not denied recognition.
Kazakhstan Heightens Religious Crackdown
The central Asian country of Kazakhstan has heightened its crackdown on religious freedom, stripping previously recognized religious groups of their registrations, Baptist Press reports. Kazakh authorities have rescinded the legal registrations of 579 "small religious groups" -- groups with fewer than 50 adult members -- as part of a new religion law passed last October. "We have a new law," said Kazakh official Saule Ibrayeva said. "And as it does not allow for the existence of religious associations which have fewer than 50 members, they should either re-register with 50 members or stop their activity as a religious association." Small religious groups have until Oct. 25 to re-register with 50 members, but regulations for re-registration have not been put in place. In the meantime, small religious groups will not be allowed to continue their activities. When questioned how Christians belonging to a small group could do things like preach or administer the Lord's Supper without meeting, Ibrayeva responded, "This is the law and everybody must obey it."
Publication date: March 5, 2012