Religion Today Summaries - Oct. 28, 2010

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Oct. 28, 2010

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

  • Iranian Authorities to Execute Pastor for Apostasy
  • Christianity's Contributions Mostly Negative, Americans Say
  • Haiti Officials Say Cholera Outbreak Stabilizing
  • Pakistani Christian Men ‘Falsely' Accused of Blasphemy

Iranian Authorities to Execute Pastor for Apostasy

After a court order temporarily delayed his death, a Christian pastor in Iran is again scheduled to be executed. Worthy News reports that Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani will be executed this weekend for the crime of apostasy unless the court again delays his execution. Before he was arrested in October 2009, Nadarkhani led one of the largest Christian communities in Iran. He was singled out by authorities for helping Muslims turn to Christ even though leaving Islam is punishable by death. He was finally arrested after protesting against the enforced reading of the Quran to Christian children. His wife was also arrested and has been sentenced to life in prison. Rights activists are petitioning for the release of both Nadarkhani and his wife.

Christianity's Contributions Mostly Negative, Americans Say

When asked about Christianity's recent contributions to society, Americans cited more negatives than benefits, according to a new survey. Religion News Service reports that the negative contribution cited most was hatred or violence in the name of Jesus, according to the Barna Group survey. Other frequently cited examples included opposition to gay marriage and the Roman Catholic Church's sex abuse scandal. The positive contribution mentioned most was Christians' helping the poor, as well as evangelism and influencing the country's values. "Overall, there was a more extensive and diverse list of complaints about Christians and their churches than there was of examples of the benefits they have provided to society," said the Barna Group, a Christian firm that researches U.S. faith and culture, in a report released Monday (Oct. 25). Researchers found that one in four respondents could not name a single positive contribution made by Christians in recent years to American society.

Haiti Officials Say Cholera Outbreak Stabilizing

Christian Today reports that Haiti's cholera outbreak may be contained, but many people are still at risk in the infected region. "The situation is beginning to stabilize," Health Ministry Director Gabriel Timothee said. "Since yesterday we have registered only six new deaths." The epidemic has killed more than 250 people and infected more than 3,000. "It is important to interrupt the infection chain," said Dr. Joost Butenhop, health adviser to Caritas Germany, one of the Caritas organizations working in Haiti. "Cholera needs to be detected, affected people need to receive treatment and awareness has to be raised among the population. Clean drinking water and washing hands regularly are absolutely essential where cholera is concerned."

Pakistani Christian Men ‘Falsely' Accused of Blasphemy

Two young Pakistani Christians have been accused of blasphemy, resulting in threats by local Muslims to burn them alive. ASSIST News Service reports that Nasir, 20, and Hanif, 24, were implicated in an allegedly false case of blasphemy in the town of Rahwali, a suburb of Gujranwala. Both men have fled the area. Rev. Sharif Allam, a local pastor who helps the Christian community in social, economic, political and legal affairs, said the matter is a "very sensitive issue in the area" and that the Muslim community was "ready to attack local Christians and burn them alive." Only 30 Christian families live in Rahwali, among more than 300 Muslim residents. Most Christians there, he told ANS, are "poor and illiterate and are used to doing manual labor to meet the needs of their families."