Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- Egyptian Christian Girl Banned from School for Refusing to Wear Veil
- California Student Punished for Saying 'Bless You'
- New Laws in Kazakhstan to Restrict Religious Groups
- Pat Robertson Backtracks on Divorce, Alzheimer's Comments
Egyptian Christian Girl Banned from School for Refusing to Wear Veil
A 14-year-old Coptic Christian girl in Egypt has been banned from entering her school for eight days because she refused to wear a Muslim headdress, ASSIST News Service reports. Ferial Habib's father protested the decision, but the school filed a police complaint against him on charges of libel and defamation because the administration had previously sent a warning to Christian students telling them they would be refused entry if they didn't cover their hair. The Egyptian Center for Development and Human Rights presented a complaint to the Prime Minister and the Minister of Education, calling on them to respond to the school's actions and not mandate the wearing of the veil for Christian students.
California Student Punished for Saying 'Bless You'
The Christian Post reports that a high-school student in Vacaville, Calif., was punished by a teacher who claimed the student disrupted the classroom with the words "Bless you." Health teacher Steve Cuckovich took 25 points off the student's grade and explained: "When you sneezed in the old days, they thought you were dispelling evil spirits out of your body, so they were saying 'God bless you.' ... But today, [the blessing] really doesn't make sense." Following outrage from some parents, the school principal agreed that Cuckovich went overboard: "He realizes there's better ways to do that. We don't condone that type of punishment." However, there is no report of the punishment being rescinded.
New Laws in Kazakhstan to Restrict Religious Groups
Kazakhstan's upper house of parliament passed a bill that will impose greater restrictions on religious groups, part of an attempt designed to combat growing Islamic militancy, The Telegraph reports. The law will increase surveillance of religious groups by forcing them to re-register with local authorities; those too small will be refused registration. The law will also restrict where people can worship, and will ban prayer rooms from government buildings. Opponents say the law infringes on religious freedom, but Kazakh president Nursultan Nazarbayev says it's needed to stop the spread of violence linked to radical Islam. The bill will go into effect as soon as Nazarbayev officially signs it into law.
Pat Robertson Backtracks on Divorce, Alzheimer's Comments
Broadcaster Pat Robertson, who earlier this month on The 700 Club told a man it would be justifiable to divorce a spouse with Alzheimer's to remarry, said Monday that his comments were "misinterpreted," the Religion News Service reports. Robertson said: "I was not giving advice to the whole world, nor was I counseling anybody to be unscriptural and leave their spouse. Please know that I believe the Bible. Please know that I would never tell anybody to leave their sick spouse. I never, never would say such a thing. ... Remember, [people] come to me asking for specific advice and I give them specific advice about their condition, not for the world."
Publication date: September 30, 2011