Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- Magazine: Most Think Sex Offenders Should Be in Pews
- Chilean Engineer Gave Miners Sermons, Music
- Iranian Pastor on Trial for 'Thought Crime'
- Hitchens Says Dislike of 'Forced' Religion Has Increased
Magazine: Most Think Sex Offenders Should Be in Pews
Nearly eight in 10 respondents who participated in a Christianity Today International survey said convicted sex offenders should be welcomed in church pews. According to Religion News Service, the vast majority of survey participants -- pastors, church leaders and staff members and active Christians -- agreed to the idea so long as offenders who were released from prison were subject to appropriate limitations and kept under supervision. Almost three-quarters of the respondents' churches do not provide a recovery ministry to people with sexual addictions. Almost a quarter said they "do nothing," while about half provide referrals to other organizations or ministries. The results were published in the September issue of Christianity Today.
Chilean Engineer Gave Miners Sermons, Music
Before the rescue began, trapped miners in Chile were able to listen to sermons recordings, Bible studies and Christian music a half-mile underground, thanks to the efforts of Chilean engineer Igor Bravo. Baptist Press reports that Bravo was part of the rescue efforts for 33 trapped miners in northern Chile for weeks. All of them finally returned to the surface yesterday evening. While they were trapped, it wasn't only the miners' physical needs that concerned Bravo. "If there is an opportunity to share the Gospel -- even if we're extremely occupied -- and to contribute to the Christian cause and evangelism, it's something that's in [my] blood," he said. The 33 men had been trapped underground since Aug. 5. Bravo's pastor, Luis Cortéz of First Baptist Church of Santiago, helped him track down the sermons. He also found 33 New Testaments and two entire Bibles that met the size restrictions for what could be sent down the chamber.
Iranian Pastor on Trial for 'Thought Crime'
Officially, there are no such things as "thought crimes" in Iran. However, Iranian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani was effectively arrested for just that after he protested the Islamic instruction his sons received at school, according to Mission News Network. Nadarkhani was arrested on Oct. 12, 2009, and is still awaiting a formal verdict and sentence in his trial. His wife is also behind bars for her faith. According to Todd Nettleton with Voice of the Martyrs, "Iran has sought to control every facet of society religious expression; this is just one of the things that they are really cracking down on." Government officials have also threatened to take the two children away from relatives to "assign them to where we want them to be."
Hitchens Says Dislike of 'Forced' Religion Has Increased
Renowned atheist Christopher Hitchens says he appreciates the encouragement so many people have offered him as he suffers from life-threatening cancer. He maintains, however, that he has very little use for people who urge deathbed conversions. "The expressions of solidarity are very welcome and very touching to me, whatever form they take," Hitchens said on Tuesday, according to the Houston Chronicle's religion blog. "I don't think my own tenor has changed," said Hitchens. "My contempt for the forced consultation of religion has increased now that I know I don't have very long to live." He said Darwin didn't grasp for God on his deathbed and neither will he.