Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- Franklin Graham Joins Protest of Iranian Pastor's Death Sentence
- Muslim Mob Torches Coptic Church in Egypt
- Walmart on Board with Transgender Protections
- Military Chaplains Given Go-Ahead to Conduct Same-Sex Marriages
Franklin Graham Joins Protest of Iranian Pastor's Death Sentence
As Iranian pastor Yousef Nadarkhani awaits his impending execution for refusing to recant his Christian faith, Iranian officials appear to be trumping up his charges -- including allegations of rape, extortion, national security crimes and accusations of Zionism -- while more and more leaders speak out against his sentence, Newsmax reports. The Rev. Franklin Graham said: "Faith is the most basic, fundamental right of every human being. ... [Nadarkhani's] sentence [is] in clear violation of international law." He added that international officials would be complicit in Nadarkhani's death if they didn't join House Speaker John Boehner, the White House and others in demanding a reversal of the sentence.
Muslim Mob Torches Coptic Church in Egypt
A mob of several thousand Muslims demolished and torched a church in Cairo that was under renovation, ASSIST News Service reports. After wrecking the dome, walls and columns of St. George's church, the mob went to the church depot and set fire to lumber that was being stored for future construction. Eyewitnesses say the mob also burned a large depot of electrical goods owned by a Coptic Christian, a supermarket and four Christian homes while security forces "stood there watching." Naguib Gabriel, head of the Egyptian Union of Human Rights Organizations, said, "The Copts, their lives and their churches are in danger." According to the Assyrian International News Agency, Egyptian media have denied the incident.
Walmart on Board with Transgender Protections
Walmart recently added transgender provisions to its universal employee non-discrimination policy, not just in states or municipalities that require them by law, OneNewsNow.com reports. Walmart spokesman Phillip Keene said, "We've [historically] had a strong anti-discrimination policy, and it makes clear that we don't tolerate discrimination or harassment in any aspect of our business." Keene said the changes had nothing to do with a recent low score on the 2011 Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index, but said they were simply in line with the retailer's routine review of its policies.
Military Chaplains Given Go-Ahead to Conduct Same-Sex Marriages
Military chaplains have been given the go-ahead to perform same-sex "marriage" ceremonies as long as they are in line with state and local laws, the Christian Post reports. A military memo on Friday said chaplains "may participate in or officiate any private ceremony" but noted that chaplains' beliefs may determine whether they participated. The conservative Family Research Council lamented the memo as evidence that the Sept. 20 repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" would send the country down a "slippery slope toward other anti-family policies that would undermine national security." The FRC said: "The federal Defense of Marriage Act is very clear that the federal government defines marriage as the union of one man and one woman. How is the Department of Defense skirting the law?"
Publication date: October 4, 2011