Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- Libyan Christians Keeping Low Profile After Gadhafi's Death
- Atheist Group Tries to Stop Prayers at High School Football Games
- Girl Scouts Allow 7-Year-Old Boy to Join
- Concerns for Tunisian Christians as Islamists Win Elections
Libyan Christians Keeping Low Profile After Gadhafi's Death
Following the death of former Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi last week, the nation's small minority of persecuted Christians are continuing to keep a low profile, according to Open Doors USA. Under Gadhafi's rule, a tight security system monitored Christians and Muslims alike -- foreign Christians were allowed to express their faith publicly but Christian converts from Muslim backgrounds feared repercussions from relatives or the security service; they stayed quiet and suspicious, not knowing who they could trust or speak to about their faith. Carl Moeller, president of Open Doors, says it's unlikely the situation for Christians will change now. With the announcement this week that Islamic sharia law will be the main source of legislation for the new government, "Libya will certainly not experience a democracy like many countries in the West," Moeller said. "Without total freedom of religion, a democracy cannot function. It is vital that we continue to pray for these persecuted Christians and the future of the country."
Atheist Group Tries to Stop Prayers at High School Football Games
A national atheist organization has accused an Alabama school district of allowing prayers that invoke the name of Jesus during high school football games, Fox News reports. The Freedom From Religion Foundation, on behalf of the complaints of a single resident, said the Lauderdale County school district was violating the First Amendment by allowing student-led prayers -- prayers for the players, coaches, referees and fans -- before football games at Brooks High School. "It is not the job of the public school system to endorse religion," the complainant wrote in an email to the newspaper. School superintendent Bill Valentine said that to his knowledge, no one else had ever complained about the prayers. The school hasn't made any decisions for this weekend's game, but Valentine said he had received many calls in support of keeping the prayers. Local pastor David McKelvey called the complaint "unfortunate" but not surprising: "Christianity is under attack," he said.
Girl Scouts Allow 7-Year-Old Boy to Join
The Colorado Girl Scouts have said they would allow a 7-year-old boy to join after initially rejecting his application, the Christian Post reports. Bobby Montoya, who dresses like a girl, loves playing with dolls and has "loved girl stuff" since the age of two, wants to join his sister in the group. A troop leader initially told him he could not join because he was a boy, but the Girl Scouts released a statement saying Bobby's family had been given the wrong information: "If a child identifies as a girl and the child's family presents her as a girl, Girl Scouts of Colorado welcomes her as a Girl Scout." The Girl Scouts have said they have received a lot of requests to support transgender kids and that they would support these children and their families.
Concerns for Tunisian Christians as Islamists Win Elections
There are concerns that the freedom of Christians will be compromised in the new Tunisia after the runaway success of Islamists in the country's first free elections this week, reports Christian Today. Preliminary results show that the Ennahda (Renaissance) Party won up to 40 percent of the votes, making it the largest party in the new 217-seat Constituent Assembly. Though Ennahda is regarded as moderate, its "well-attached" links to the extremist Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt are a cause for concern for Christians, said Dr. Raouf Ghattas of the International Mission Board. "Our hearts are burdened for the believers there as the Islamists are making great gains," he said. "There could be difficult days ahead."
Publication date: October 28, 2011