Religion Today Daily Headlines - December 21, 2012

Religion Today Daily Headlines - December 21, 2012

Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.

In today's edition:

  • Texas Policeman Gives Ticket and $100 to Needy Driver
  • Christian Father of Five Shot to Death in Somalia for Leaving Islam
  • Unbelief Now the World's Third-Largest 'Religion'


Texas Policeman Gives Ticket and $100 to Needy Driver

A police officer in Texas -- who wants to remain anonymous -- is gaining attention after he gave a man a $100 bill folded in a citation, Fox News reports. When Hayden Carlo, 25, was pulled over by Plano police because he had an expired registration, he said he told the police officer he was struggling financially. "I don't have the money," he told the officer. "It was either feed my kids or get this registration done." The officer then handed him a citation, but when Carlo opened the paper, he saw a $100 bill. Carlo said he "broke down" in his car -- "What else can you do?" -- and was able to update both his and his wife's registrations with the money. The charitable act would have gone unnoticed, except Carlo's grandfather was moved to contact the police department about the gesture. The officer does not want to be identified, but a department spokesman said he is 43 and has a family. He apparently has a past of doing good deeds at his old post at another police department, and his coworkers are reportedly planning on honoring him for his generosity.

Christian Father of Five Shot to Death in Somalia for Leaving Islam

Gunmen in central Somalia on Dec. 8 killed an underground Christian who had been receiving death threats for leaving Islam, Morning Star News reports. Two unidentified masked men shot Mursal Isse Siad, 55, outside his home in Beledweyne, 200 miles north of Mogadishu, and fled immediately after the murder. Siad's oldest daughter, 15, said her father was killed "because he failed to attend the mosque for prayers and used to pray at home. He used to share with us about Jesus." She said he had received messages on his mobile phone stating, "We know what you are doing, and you must stop, otherwise you risk your life." A Christian source in Mogadishu confirmed the killing, and a Muslim resident of the Beledweyne area also said Siad was killed for leaving Islam. "Siad deserved to die because he was not committed to the Islamic religion," the resident said. Siad's 42-year-old wife, three daughters and two sons have fled the area, fearing for their lives.

Unbelief Now the World's Third-Largest 'Religion'

A new study by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life shows that while Christians and Muslims make up the two largest groups, those with no religious affiliation -- including atheists and agnostics -- are now the third-largest "religious" group in the world, the Religion News Service reports. The study found that 84 percent of the world's 7 billion people adhere to some form of religion. Christians make up the largest group, with 2.2 billion adherents, or 23 percent worldwide, followed by Muslims, with 1.6 billion adherents, or 23 percent worldwide. Close behind are the "nones" -- those who say they have no religious affiliation -- at 1.1 billion, or 16 percent. "One out of six people does not have a religious identity," said Conrad Hackett, a primary researcher and demographer on the study. "But it is also striking that the overwhelming majority of the world does have some type of religious identity. So I think people will be surprised by either way of looking at it. The next largest groups, the report finds, are Hindus (1 billion people, or 15 percent), Buddhists (500 million people, or 7 percent) and Jews (14 million people, or 0.2 percent). More than 400 million people -- 6 percent -- practice folk traditions from African, Chinese, Native American or Australian aboriginal cultures. An additional 58 million people -- slightly less than 1 percent -- belong to "other" religions, such as the Baha'i faith, Jainism, Sikhism, Shintoism, Taoism, Tenrikyo, Wicca and Zoroastrianism.

Publication date: December 21, 2012