Religion Today Summaries - November 18, 2011

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - November 18, 2011

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

In today's edition:

  • Egyptian Coptic Christian Marchers Attacked, 10 Hurt
  • Vietnam: Church Leaders Injured During Gang Attack
  • Audio Bibles Now Available in 601 Languages
  • Leading Company Halts Embryonic Stem Cell Research


Egyptian Coptic Christian Marchers Attacked, 10 Hurt

Attackers threw rocks, bricks and broken glass at Coptic Christians marching in Cairo Nov. 17, injuring 10 and seriously injuring two, the Boston Globe reports. About 400 Christians marched through the neighborhood of Shubra to mark the end of 40 days of mourning after 27 Copts were killed in a clash with the Egyptian army Oct. 9, and attackers threw objects at them from a six-floor apartment building while "the police stood by and watched without doing anything," said marcher Hossam Victor. One 25-year-old marcher who declined to give his name, fearing retaliation, said police saw a tattoo of a cross on his upper arm and pushed him toward the attackers, who then beat him and broke his arm. Some of the Copts blamed the attack on supporters of Gamal Saber, an Islamist candidate in Egypt's upcoming parliamentary elections; Saber called the Christians "stupid" and blamed them for starting the clashes as a way to harm his election campaign. Coptic Christians, who make up 10 percent of the population, feel under increasing threat with the rising popularity of radical Islamist groups and fear that religious persecution will only increase if Islamist candidates win the Nov. 28 elections.

Vietnam: Church Leaders Injured During Gang Attack

Leaders from an unregistered house church in Hanoi, Vietnam, were attacked and beaten by a gang of men during a Nov. 13 meeting, Christian Solidarity Worldwide reports. Twelve were seriously injured -- five men, four women and three teenagers -- and the gang threatened to kill pastor Danh Chau if he continued to organize church meetings. The gang also damaged property belonging to the church members, stole parts from their motorbikes, and destroyed Pastor Chau's family fruit trees and garden. In the middle of the attack, gang members ran outside and shouted, "The Christian pastors are savagely beating people up!" in an attempt to defame church members. The church is part of an unregistered house church denomination that was founded in 2007 and has around 2,200 members in 35 congregations around Hanoi. Gangs are not uncommon in Vietnam and are seldom prosecuted; local police and security officials are often thought to be behind the attacks.

Audio Bibles Now Available in 601 Languages

With the release of its 11 newest language recordings, audio Bible ministry Faith Comes By Hearing now has New Testament recordings in 601 languages, ASSIST News Service reports. Combined, the 601 languages are spoken by more than 5 billion people in more than 185 countries around the world, and the newest language releases represent dialects from Bangladesh, India, Mexico, Central African Republic, Ethiopia, Peru, Cameroon and Indonesia. The audio Bibles are available free through streaming, podcasts, apps and solar-powered recordings for areas without the Internet or mobile devices. Just less than a year ago, the ministry announced the release of its 500th language recording. "This sort of amazing progress is only possible through great partners working together for the Kingdom," said international director Morgan Jackson. As Faith Comes By Hearing gets ready to celebrate its 40th anniversary next year, it continues to focus on its mission to record and provide audio New Testaments in every translated language.

Leading Company Halts Embryonic Stem Cell Research

In a surprising move, the company that launched the nation's first FDA-approved embryonic stem cell trial last year is halting further research because of "capital scarcity and uncertain economic conditions," but pro-life leaders say the decision confirms long-held doubts about the value of embryonic stem cells, Baptist Press reports. Geron, which launched the trial in 2010, said it would stop funding its stem cell trials and move the money to cancer research instead, a move that eliminates 66 jobs, or 38 percent of its workforce. Mailee Smith of the pro-life Americans United for Life, said there was an obvious explanation for the decision: "There simply is no money in research that yields no results. ... Clearly, investors don't want to put money into research that will not pay off." Embryonic stem cell research, which requires destroying the embryo, has received much attention in recent years but has not yet produced any treatments for diseases or medical conditions. Pro-life activists say adult stem cell research, which uses cells found throughout the adult body and does not require the killing of an embryo, is far more promising.

Publication date: November 18, 2011