Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- High Court Says Pakistan Cannot Pardon Christian Woman
- Survey: 1 in 20 Christians Cite Accountability in Church
- Iraqi Christians Flee Violence this Advent Season
- Most Religious Groups Support Repealing Gay Military Ban
High Court Says Pakistan Cannot Pardon Christian Woman
Despite previous reports, Pakistan's government has yet to pardon a Christian woman sentenced to death on blasphemy charges. Moreover, Christian Today reports that the country's high court barred any such pardon while the case is pending in the courts. "Since the matter is in the high court, the government cannot now make any move to pardon Bibi," lawyer Allah Bakhsh Leghari told Agence France-Presse. Asia Bibi (also called Asia Noreen) is the first woman to receive the death sentence after being convicted of blasphemy against Islam's prophet Mohammed. Conservative Muslims have threatened anarchy if President Asif Ali Zadari pardons the woman. Human rights group Christian Freedom International warns that Bibi's case could set a precedent. "If Asia is put to death, it could mean a rise in prosecutions of Christians - not just in Pakistan, but also in other nations where Islamic law is enforced," the group warned.
Survey: 1 in 20 Christians Cite Accountability in Church
A new survey from the Barna Group reveals that most American Christians have no one holding them accountable for their Christian walk. According to The Christian Post, just five percent of those surveyed said that their church holds them responsible for integrating biblical beliefs and principles into their life. "Americans these days cherish privacy and freedom to the extent that the very idea of being held accountable by others - even those with their best interests in mind, or who have a legal or spiritual authority to do so - is considered inappropriate, antiquated and rigid," said George Barna, director of the survey. "[O]verlooking a principle as foundational as accountability breeds even more public confusion about scriptural authority and faith-based community, as well as personal behavioral responsibility."
Iraqi Christians Flee Violence this Advent Season
Communal celebrations of Christmas no longer bring Iraq's Christians a sense of pure joy; large gatherings only increase the ease of an extremists attack. As a result, according to Todd Nettleton with Voice of the Martyrs, many Christians are finally leaving their homeland during the Advent season. "It seems very clear that radical Islamic elements -- whether they're tied to al-Qaeda or whether they're tied to some other radical Islamic group -- are trying to send a very clear message to Christians in Iraq," Nettleton says. The terrorists are sending the following message: "You are not safe. You should either become Muslim, or you should leave the country." The religious minority has been subjected to multiple deadly attacks in the last month. While Iraqi politicians seem to be noticing the problem, Nettleton says his group remains very concerned about Christians' safety during the holidays.
Most Religious Groups Support Repealing Gay Military Ban
A new poll suggests broad support across religious groups for allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly. Religion News Service reports that only 27 percent of Americans oppose lifting the ban, according to a poll released yesterday by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press and the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life. Only white evangelicals (48 percent) came close to having a majority opposed to open gays and lesbians serving in the military. White mainline Protestants (62 percent), black Protestants (52 percent) and Catholics (66 percent) all favor allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly. And while 40 percent of weekly churchgoers favor maintaining the ban, an equal percentage favors lifting it. The margin of error for the survey overall is 3.5 percentage points.