Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- 'Courageous' Lights Up Box Office on Opening Weekend
- U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom Expires
- North Korean Human Rights Coalition Calls on Kim Jong-Il
- Ohio Removes Pork from Prison Menus for Muslim Inmates
'Courageous' Lights Up Box Office on Opening Weekend
In its opening weekend, the Christian film "Courageous" was the No. 4 top money-grossing film in the country, selling an estimated $8.8 million worth of tickets, OneNewsNow.com reports. For movies that opened this weekend, it was No. 2, trailing only "50/50," which grossed approximately $8.85 million. "Courageous," the police drama that stresses the importance of fatherhood, appeared in only 1,161 theaters nationwide while its competitors showed on two to three times as many screens. The strong debut was an answer to prayer for its filmmakers at Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Ga., which produced the previous box-office hits "Fireproof" and "Facing the Giants."
U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom Expires
The Religion News Service reports that the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom technically went out of business last week, as the Senate stalls on a House bill to reauthorize and reform the commission. USCIRF has played a major role in bringing attention to the persecution of Christians and other religious minorities around the world since it was established in 1998 by the International Religious Freedom Act. The bipartisan panel advises the U.S. government and publishes a yearly list of "countries of particular concern," the world's worst violators of religious freedom. The bill, in addition to reauthorizing USCIRF, would reform the makeup of the panel, decrease the number of commissioners from nine to five and reduce its budget by $1 million.
North Korean Human Rights Coalition Calls on Kim Jong-Il
A human rights coalition will participate in a Global Day of Action today and deliver a letter to North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il, calling on his regime to end the widespread violation of human rights, Christian Solidarity Worldwide reports. The letter, which is signed by more than 40 human rights groups around the world belonging to the International Coalition to Stop Crimes Against Humanity, appeals to North Korea's government to end all executions, stop torture, end forced labor, open prison campus for international inspection and adhere to international human rights principles.
Ohio Removes Pork from Prison Menus for Muslim Inmates
Ohio's pork farmers and processors are vowing to fight the state's decision to remove pork from prison menus in response to a lawsuit by Muslim inmates, CNS News reports. According to the federal lawsuit that alleges a civil rights violation, Muslim inmates said the Ohio prison system denied them meals prepared according to Islamic law, known as halal, while at the same time providing kosher meals to Jewish prisoners. Even though the state has since eliminated pork, the inmates say the vegetarian and non-pork options still do not meet the standards mandated by Muslim law. Ohio says requiring halal meals could mean new dietary plans for as many as 2,000 inmates and a notable increase in daily food expenses.
Publication date: October 6, 2011