Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- City Drops Fines Against Bible Study Hosts
- Egyptian Mufti Downplays Christian Persecution
- Malaysia: Subtle Attempts to Convert Christian Preschoolers?
- Study: Only 46 Percent of Children Grow Up in Intact Homes
City Drops Fines Against Bible Study Hosts
A California court case that drew national attention was settled this month when the city of San Juan Capistrano agreed to pay back the $300 it had fined a couple for hosting a large Bible study in their home and amend a city ordinance requiring them to get a permit, WORLD News Service reports. Chuck and Stephanie Fromm's atheist neighbor complained to the city this summer, and the city, citing an ordinance requiring churches to obtain conditional use permits, fined the Fromms twice for refusing to get one. "It was always a question of whether they were a church or not, and they were not," said city attorney Omar Sandoval. Brad Dacus, president of the Pacific Justice Institute, said: "The city has now ... made a commitment to no longer be oppressive toward families having Bible studies in their homes. The good news is that whether a family is meeting in their homes to study and worship on Wednesday night, versus Sunday morning, it really doesn't matter concerning the basic freedom we have as Americans to do that."
Egyptian Mufti Downplays Christian Persecution
Egypt's highest Islamic legal official denied last week that minority Christians faced religious discrimination, and said the radical Muslim Brotherhood would win no more than 20 percent of votes in this week's elections, Reuters reports. Grand Mufti Ali Gomaa said Egypt had done its best to abolish discrimination against Coptic Christians, who make up 10 percent of the population. He said a small minority of radical Islamists were causing problems and denied that the army's massacre of 27 Coptic protesters on Oct. 9 was sectarian violence. Coptic leaders, however, insist that the military government continues to crack down harshly on them.
Malaysia: Subtle Attempts to Convert Christian Preschoolers?
Parents in Sarawak, Malaysia, are concerned about subtle attempts to impart Islamic teachings and practices to children in preschools in the rural, predominantly Christian area, Free Malaysia Today reports. Sarawak legislative assemblyman Baru Bian said there was a "very real problem" because parents had complained of their children coming home from school reciting Islamic prayers. Hundreds of new preschools and kindergartens have been opened in the state in recent years to increase the accessibility to early education, but Bian said the people were concerned that the schools were staffed by teachers from outside the local community, many from the Muslim-majority Malaysian peninsula, and that the curriculum included lessons about Islam. Bian proposed to the legislature that as part of the 2012 budget, teachers from local communities be recruited and funded instead to ensure "fair teachings."
Study: Only 46 Percent of Children Grow Up in Intact Homes
A new study shows that only 46 percent of children in the United States will reach age 17 having grown up in a home with biological parents who are married, a figure that has a significant impact on the nation's graduation, poverty and teenage birth rates, Baptist Press reports. The data shows the intact family rate is highest in the Northeast (49.6 percent) and lowest in the South (41.8 percent), highest in the state of Minnesota (57 percent) and lowest in Mississippi (34 percent), and highest among Asians (65.8 percent) and lowest among blacks (16.7 percent). The study also shows that high poverty rates, low graduation rates and high teenage pregnancy rates are closely linked to the breakup of the family. "The foundational relationship of marriage has quite an impact on the well-being of children and on the welfare of both the states and the nation," said Pat Fagan of the Family Research Council, one of the study's co-authors. "We have never faced anything like this in human history."
Publication date: November 28, 2011