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Religion Today Daily Headlines - June 27, 2012

Religion Today Daily Headlines - June 27, 2012

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

In today's edition:

  • China's One-Child Policy Bankrupting Families
  • Man Allowed to Pass Out Bibles at Gay Pride Festival
  • Boko Haram Reign of Terror Impacts Churches in Nigeria
  • Presbyterian Church in America Takes Firmer Stand On Translating 'Son of God' for Muslims


China's One-Child Policy Bankrupting Families

Chinese authorities released a woman facing a forced abortion in China's northern Hunan province on June 10 after human rights activists and at least one U.S. official called for her freedom, WORLD News Service reports. Cao Ruyi -- a mother in her fifth month of pregnancy -- still faces outrageous fines for allegedly violating China's one-child policy, and said that she and her husband can't afford to pay a "social burden compensation fee" that exceeds $25,000. She fears that authorities may return and attempt a forced abortion again. Advocacy groups say the exorbitant fine highlights China's ruthless tactics to maintain population control by pressuring women to abort their unborn children or bankrupt their families. ChinaAid has set up a fund for donors interested in helping the couple pay the fine and legal fees, and the group is also urging residents in three U.S. cities that have sister-relationships with Cao's home city of Changsha -- St. Paul, Minn.; Jersey City, N.J.; and Annapolis, Md. -- to call their mayors and ask them to pay attention to her case.

Man Allowed to Pass Out Bibles at Gay Pride Festival

A last-minute court decision has allowed a Wisconsin man to set up a booth outside a gay pride celebration in Minneapolis to hand out Bibles, CBN News reports. "I do this once a year," says Brian Johnson, a taxidermist. "I talk to people about the love of Jesus Christ." Organizers of The Twin Cities Pride Festival responded by restricting Johnson's access to the event, a move that was upheld by a federal judge. "They did not like his beliefs regarding homosexual conduct and the Bible and they rejected his application," said Jonathan Scruggs, an Alliance Defense Fund attorney representing Johnson. However, on Thursday, after Johnson's attorneys filed an emergency appeal, the U.S. Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals granted him temporary access to the event -- though he will still have to go to court for future access. "I think it's a good sign, but it's far from decisive," Scruggs said. "The appeal is still ongoing."

Boko Haram Reign of Terror Impacts Churches in Nigeria

The terror campaign on Christian churches in northern Nigeria by the Islamic militant group Boko Haram continues to impact Sunday worship services, according to Open Doors USA. After the group's latest threat to launch coordinated bloody attacks on churches, aiming to prevent worship services from taking place this past weekend, many believers in Jos, Kaduna, Kano and other major cities in the north stayed home from church. Even Muslims stayed off the streets, according to one report. "The increasingly intentional activity of Boko Haram has taken on the characteristics of a real war," said Open Doors USA president Dr. Carl Moeller. "These are not random attacks, as they're often characterized in the media. They are intentional, and they're designed with one purpose in mind: the elimination of Christianity. I call it 'religicide' or the intentional and systematic effort to eliminate a religious belief and its followers from a country or region." An Open Doors co-worker added, "The believers can now only rely on prayer as Christians in the northern states are living in fear and uncertainty."

Presbyterian Church in America Takes Firmer Stand On Translating 'Son of God' for Muslims

The Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) has officially rebuked Wycliffe Bible Translators' approach to translating the phrase "Son of God" for Muslims and recommended that PCA churches withdraw financial support from such Bible translations if they remain uncorrected, Christianity Today reports. In various translations, "Son of God" and "God the Father" were replaced with the Arabic equivalents of "Lord" and "Messiah," because, according to Wycliffe president and CEO Bob Creson, "there is sometimes a misunderstanding" in Islamic cultures "when you translate directly or use common terms [such as] 'Son of God' that God the Father actually had a sexual relationship with Mary to produce his son, Jesus." Wycliffe, which agreed to a review of its practices by the World Evangelical Alliance, is already at risk of losing support from the Assemblies of God over the controversial translations, and the PCA on June 21 overwhelmingly approved an investigative committee's recommendation that "Bibles should always translate divine familial terms using common biological terms" because "social familial terms fail to capture the biblical meaning of 'Son' (huios) and 'Son of God' (huios tou theou) applied to Jesus and 'Father' (pater) applied to God." The resolution is similar to last year's PCA condemnation of "translations of the Bible that remove from the text references to God as 'Father' (pater) or Jesus as 'Son' (huios), because such removals compromise doctrines of the Trinity, the person and work of Jesus Christ, and Scripture."

Publication date: June 27, 2012