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Religion Today Daily Headlines - July 11, 2012

Religion Today Daily Headlines - July 11, 2012

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

In today's edition:

  • Obama Invites Egypt's Morsi to Meeting in U.S.
  • Nigerian Attackers Kill Dozens of Christians
  • Arizona Pastor Begins 60-Day Jail Sentence for Hosting Home Bible Study
  • Presbyterian Church Passes Resolution Against Spanking


Obama Invites Egypt's Morsi to Meeting in U.S.

President Obama has invited Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi to meet with him on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly meeting in New York in September, CBN News reports. It will be the first-ever visit to the United States by a Muslim Brotherhood member. On June 28, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton congratulated the Muslim Brotherhood on its victory in the presidential elections, a year after saying the Obama administration "would welcome" dialogue with the extremist Islamic group. Obama first reached out to the Muslim world in early June 2009 during his speech in Cairo, and last year during the Egyptian revolution that ousted former U.S. ally Hosni Mubarak, the Obama administration appeared to shift its support to the Muslim Brotherhood. Until last year, the Muslim Brotherhood was considered a terrorist organization by the State Department. It is also credited with spawning most present-day terror groups, from Hamas to al Qaeda, and has threatened to break Egypt's 30-year peace treaty with Israel.

Nigerian Attackers Kill Dozens of Christians

Coordinated attacks against Christian villages in Nigeria's Plateau State this weekend left 58 people dead, the Wall Street Journal reports. The assailants launched "sophisticated attacks" on 13 villages near the city of Jos early Saturday, said Mustapha Salisu, spokesman for a special task force of policemen and soldiers deployed to the area to curb violence. "They came in hundreds," he said. "Some had [police] uniforms, and some even had bulletproof vests." He said the task force fought back for hours and lost two policemen in the battle, which also claimed the lives of 14 civilians and 21 assailants and displaced more than 300 people. The leader of a Christian advocacy group blamed Muslim herdsmen of the Fulani ethnic group for the attacks, but Fulanis denied any involvement. Plateau State has been the site of increasing religious tension and violence in recent months as the Islamic terror group Boko Haram has declared a "war" to annihilate Nigerian Christians.

Arizona Pastor Begins 60-Day Jail Sentence for Hosting Home Bible Study

Michael Salman, the Phoenix pastor who was fined and sentenced to jail for holding Bible studies in his home, began his 60-day jail sentence July 9 at 10 a.m., the Christian Post reports. He asked for prayers as he left his wife and six children to report to Maricopa County Jail. "I have spent time with my family this morning praying, crying and saying our goodbye," he wrote on his Facebook page yesterday morning. "My heart is broken, but glory to God. Our God will take care of us and my family. Please pray for us! Until God opens the prison's door, I will be with you all in prayer and spirit." Salman, an ordained pastor and owner of a burger restaurant who hosted Bible studies for seven years on his 4.6-acre property, was found guilty of failing to comply with building, zoning, fire and safety codes applicable to churches. In 2008, the city of Phoenix ordered him to comply with code requirements for churches after neighbors complained about the Bible studies, which drew 50 people to a gazebo in his backyard. When Salman refused, saying the order violated his free exercise rights, he was fined $12,180, sentenced to 60 days in jail and given three years of probation, during which he could not have more than 12 people in his home. "They're cracking down on religious activities and religious use," he told Fox News Radio last week, contending that the building used in his yard was not a church. "They're attacking what I as a Christian do in the privacy of my home."

Presbyterian Church Passes Resolution Against Spanking

The 220th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) narrowly passed a resolution Thursday against using corporal punishment on children, the Christian Post reports. The resolution, which passed 334 to 306 with nine voters abstaining, also states that the PCUSA will now encourage "all states to enact licensing laws prohibiting corporal punishment in schools and day and residential childcare facilities." Many Christians believe corporal punishment is a biblical practice -- Proverbs 13:24 says, "Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them" -- while others believe children can be effectively disciplined in a non-physical way, and the resolution was controversial among General Assembly members. "Most people know the difference between discipline and abuse," the Rev. James Emig of the Denver Presbytery said. "I would like us to trust parents that most of them can responsibly [use] corporal punishment." Commissioner Susan Maara of the New Hope Presbytery argued: "If we can't stand against hitting and abusing children, what can we stand for? Let us love and not hit them."

Publication date: July 11, 2012