Religion Today Summaries - May 24, 2006

Religion Today Summaries - May 24, 2006

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

  • Christians, Jews in Iran to Wear Colored Identification
  • Iran’s Secret Police Arrest Long-Time Convert
  • Deadline Passes for Investigating Church Attacks in Egypt
  • Poll: Nearly One-Third of Americans Believe Bible Word-for-Word

Christians, Jews in Iran to Wear Colored Identification

Reports out of Iran indicate religious minorities could be forced to wear colored badges on their clothing, says a Family News in Focus story. In a chilling reminder of Nazi Germany, Jews in Iran could soon be forced to wear yellow, while Christians would wear red. There are around 300,000 Christians in Iran, 25,000 Jews, and about 300,000 other religious minorities. Andy Hollinger of the Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C. said, “The parallels are certainly disturbing. It begins by removing a group of people from the civil life of a society and dehumanizing them on many levels.” Dissident Ali Behroozian quotes a recent speech by Iranian Ayatollah Ahmed Jenati in which he said, “Human beings apart from Muslims are animals who roam the earth and engage in corruption.” One Holocaust survivor has another recommendation for religious minorities living in Iran: “If you see the handwriting on the wall, get out.”

Iran’s Secret Police Arrest Long-Time Convert

An Iranian Christian who converted from Islam 33 years ago is under arrest and interrogation in northern Iran, where secret police have held him incommunicado for the past three weeks, Compass Direct reports. Ali Kaboli, 51, was taken into custody on May 2 from his workshop in Gorgan, capital of Iran’s northern province of Golestan. To date no charges have been filed against Kaboli, who has been threatened in the past with legal prosecution for holding “illegal” religious meetings in his home. He could also be charged for converting to Christianity, which under Iran’s apostasy laws calls for the death penalty. “Everyone knew that his house was under control [police surveillance] for many years,” an Iranian Christian now living abroad said. “They even pushed him to leave the country about three years ago, but he told them he preferred to stay inside the country, even if it meant living in an Iranian jail.”

Deadline Passes for Investigating Church Attacks in Egypt

A Compass Direct release states that Egypt appears to have forgotten its promises to investigate the April 14 stabbing of Christians in Alexandria. Egyptian leaders were quick to condemn the church knife attacks that left one Christian dead and more than a dozen wounded. In an effort to quell the ensuing two days of clashes, Egypt’s parliament announced the formation of a fact-finding committee charged with investigating the cause of the attacks and reporting its findings within 30 days. More than one month later, the committee has yet to be formed. Christians are skeptical of government claims that a mentally unstable knife-wielder, Mahmoud Salahedin Abdul-Razik, single-handedly attacked three churches on opposite sides of town all on the same morning. “Even if a committee does meet, and even if they come out with a report, that report will not see the light of day,” Coptic Orthodox Metropolitan Wissa told Compass.

Poll: Nearly One-Third of Americans Believe Bible Word-for-Word

A new Gallup poll reveals a long-standing decline in Americans who believe the Bible to be literally true, says a story in the Christian Post. About three out of 10 Americans continue to profess belief in a literal Bible today - a 10 percent drop over the past three decades. More than 1,000 adults were asked to describe their view about the Bible with 28 percent responding that the Bible is the "actual Word of God and is to be taken literally." Poll results saw a 45 to 49 percent increase among those who said the Bible is the inspired Word of God but not everything in it should be taken literally. The survey also recorded a larger increase of Americans who said the Bible is an ancient book of fables, legends, history, and moral precepts.