Religion Today Daily Headlines - May 2, 2012

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Daily Headlines - May 2, 2012

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

In today's edition:

  • Anti-Bullying Speaker Curses Christian Teens
  • Nigerian Government Kills Mastermind of Anti-Christian Attack
  • Kenyan Churches Tighten Security After Nairobi Grenade Attack
  • Sweden Introduces Gender-Neutral Pronoun to Replace 'He' and 'She'


Anti-Bullying Speaker Curses Christian Teens

As many as 100 high school students walked out of a national journalism conference after an anti-bullying speaker started cursing, attacked the Bible, and then called them "pansy assed" as they left the auditorium, Fox News reports. The speaker, Dan Savage, founder of the anti-bullying campaign "It Gets Better," was supposed to be delivering a speech on bullying to an audience of several thousand at the National High School Journalism Conference, but his speech quickly turned into "a pointed attack on Christian beliefs," said high school journalism adviser Rick Tuttle. "It became hostile." Tuttle said many of his students were offended by the speech -- which was laced with vulgarities and "sexual innuendo not appropriate for this age group" -- and some decided to leave the auditorium. As the teenagers were walking out, Tuttle said Savage heckled them and called them "pansy-assed." After a number of complaints about Savage's remarks, the event's sponsor, the National Scholastic Press Association, released a statement that said, "It is never the intent ... to let students get hurt during their time at our conventions," but did not offer any apologies. Savage offered a sarcastic apology "if I hurt anyone's feelings. ... But I have a right to defend myself and point out the hypocrisy of people who justify anti-gay bigotry by pointing to the Bible." Tuttle said he "felt duped" by the event: "There were Christian schools who went to the conference. To have this happen was disappointing and shocking."

Nigerian Government Kills Mastermind of Anti-Christian Attack

Nigerian forces raided an Islamist base in Kano on Tuesday, killing the suspected mastermind of an attack on Christian worshippers on a university campus on Sunday, Reuters reports. The raid followed a series of recent attacks believed to be by the Islamist sect Boko Haram, which have targeted authorities, security forces and northern Nigeria's Christian minority. "Our men just raided one of the hideouts of the elements ... where we discovered explosives and weapons," said Lieutenant Iweha Ikedichi of the Joint Task Force in Kano. "The main suspect has been killed," he said, referring to the suspected mastermind of the attack in which gunmen rode on motorcycles onto a university campus and shot for several hours at Christians using a lecture theater for worship. That attack and another one later the same day against a church in Maiduguri killed a total of 21 people. "The most difficult task we face with these terrorists is they know us but we don't know them," Kano army commander Brigadier General Ilyasu Abba said. "They're not rooted in a particular place. We have rooted them out of here today, but tomorrow they could be somewhere else."

Kenyan Churches Tighten Security After Nairobi Grenade Attack

Kenyan churches are tightening security after a lone attacker exploded a grenade inside an evangelical church in Nairobi on Sunday (April 29), killing one person and injuring 16, the Religion News Service reports. The bombing at the God's House of Miracles International Church occurred days after the U.S. embassy warned of an impending attack by al Shabaab, the militant Islamist group in neighboring Somalia. "We condemn this attack in the strongest terms possible," the Rev. David Gathanju, Presbyterian Church of East Africa moderator, said. "This is a cowardly act that tells us that we need to be vigilant." With Christians coming under increased threat since Kenyan troops entered Somalia last October in pursuit of the Islamists, Gathanju said churches had been reviewing their security and heightening screening of vehicles and people arriving at worship. "We are in discussions as churches to see how we can support each other," he said. "Plus we are getting help from the government. We believe this is a national issue, but while the government is doing something we also need to take care of our security."

Sweden Introduces Gender-Neutral Pronoun to Replace 'He' and 'She'

According to WORLD News Service, Sweden is attempting to implement a gender-neutral society, and its online National Encyclopedia has introduced a gender-neutral pronoun, "hen," that it hopes will replace "he" and "she" in most public and private discourse. The encyclopedia entry defines hen as a "proposed gender-neutral personal pronoun instead of 'he' [han in Swedish] and 'she' [hon]." It is the latest instance in decades of "gender-bending" in Sweden; in 1944, the country legalized same-sex sexual activity and in 2009 its parliament legalized gay marriage with a vote of 261 to 22. Sweden's attitudes regarding sexuality may be taking a toll -- its birthrate, like much of Europe, lost population in the late 1990s and early 200s and is now below replacement levels. The population growth today is holding its own largely because of immigration; many of the immigrants are Muslim, who now make up about 5 percent of the population and are growing rapidly.

Publication date: May 2, 2012