Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- Christian Demoted for Posting Gay Marriage Stance on Facebook
- Iranian Pastor Awaits Ayatollah's Verdict on Apostasy
- Christians in Iraq Feel Failed by Government
- Alabama Pastor to Lead 50,000 in 'Secret Church' Event
Christian Demoted for Posting Gay Marriage Stance on Facebook
Adrian Smith, a housing manager in Manchester, England, got a pay cut and demotion after sharing his beliefs against gay marriage in a post on his personal Facebook page, the Christian Post reports. Some of Smith's coworkers who were his Facebook friends complained to the Trafford Housing Trust after Smith wrote that "marriage is for men and women" and that gay marriage was "an equality too far." Following a disciplinary hearing, he was demoted from his managerial position and his salary was cut by 40 percent. He was also forced to remove his comments, and he is now suing the company, saying his free speech rights were violated and that the punishment was inappropriate. One of his attorneys said, "Even those who disagree with his opinions will surely agree that he has been treated badly," but the Trafford Housing Trust asserts that it will "vigorously defend its position" when it meets with Smith in court.
Iranian Pastor Awaits Ayatollah's Verdict on Apostasy
Iranian pastor Yousef Nadarkhani continues to be held in prison in Rasht, Iran, while waiting on the verdict to be delivered from the local court following his conviction on apostasy charges, ASSIST News Service reports. Several weeks ago, the court wrote a letter to Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khameini, requesting his legal opinion in the case, but there is no law or precedent governing how quickly he is required to respond. "Yousef's attitude is positive and he remains very strong in his faith and commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ," said Jason DeMars of Present Truth Ministries. He added that Iran's security forces are "still working to convert him back to Islam or else have documented proof that he is a blasphemer against Islam." Additionally, authorities have stepped up efforts to pressure the network of Christians in the country.
Christians in Iraq Feel Failed by Government
Ongoing violence against Christians in Iraq has led to a recent accelerated exodus of believers, adding to hundreds of thousands who have left during the last 10 years, according to Christian Today. In 1991, there were an estimated one million Christians in Iraq; by 2003 there were 850,000 and by the summer of 2011 there were only 345,000 -- and that number is decreasing every month as Christians suffering harassment and violence are seeking refuge. "Iraqi Christians feel that the government fails to give them the security and freedom to worship in peace," said Jerry Dykstra of Open Doors USA. "Countless Christians have been threatened, robbed, raped, kidnapped or killed. Just because the U.S. troops are leaving does not mean we can ignore the ongoing violence and lack of protection of Christians inside Iraq."
Alabama Pastor to Lead 50,000 in 'Secret Church' Event
An Alabama megachurch pastor with a heart for the persecuted church will lead tens of thousands of Christians in a "secret church" event in November, the Christian Post reports. Churches, small groups and people around the world will tune into a broadcast by pastor David Platt from 6 p.m. to midnight on Nov. 4 and simulate an underground church meeting -- "an intense time of Bible study ... and prayer for our persecuted brothers and sisters across the globe." Platt, who taught in underground churches and witnessed persecution firsthand in Asia, says the desire of those Christians to go to great risks to study the Bible sparked the idea for Secret Church -- so Christians could identify with those who are forced to meet in secret. "There's really nothing special about it," he said. "It's just the study of the Word and then prayer. ... The Word itself does the work. One of our goals in Secret Church from the beginning has been to study not just for our own sake, but for the sake of the nations."
Publication date: October 26, 2011