Religion Today Daily Headlines - October 16, 2012

Religion Today Daily Headlines - October 16, 2012

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

In today's edition:


Iran: Seven Christians Detained Following Raid on Prayer Meeting

Seven Christians from the Church of Iran denomination were detained Oct. 12 following a raid by members of the security services on a house in the city of Shiraz in Iran's Fars Province, Christian Solidarity Worldwide reports. The Christians are currently being held in Plaque 100, the Intelligence Ministry's notorious detention center. They were detained around 6 p.m. after security forces raided a house where a prayer meeting was underway. According to sources, older people who had attended the prayer gathering were threatened but not taken into custody. The detentions are part of a marked upsurge in a campaign of harassment of Christians of all denominations, with reports of a significant increase of arrests during recent weeks.

Sudanese Military Kills Christian Mother in Bombing

Government bombing of ethnic Nuba civilians in a predominantly Christian town in Sudan's war-torn South Kordofan state last month -- which killed a mother of seven children -- is further evidence that officials are trying to rid the country of Christians, area Christian leaders said, according to ASSIST News Service. Sudanese government forces dropped five bombs from an airplane near a crowded market in Heiban on Sept. 27, killing Asia Omer Kuku and wounding six others. Kuku, whose youngest child is four months old, was working in a field near a church building when the bomb hit. Another Christian mother of seven children, Howeda Hassan, sustained a serious stomach wound and was described as in critical condition but without medical care. Since military conflict broke out in South Kordofan state in June 2011, Christians in the Nuba mountains have been living in fear and hunger. Humanitarian agencies have stated that the Islamic government is targeting civilians there as an "ethnic cleansing" of non-Arab peoples, while at the same time aiming to rid the area of its large Christian population. Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir has warned that Sudan's constitution will become more firmly entrenched in sharia (Islamic law).

Assisted Suicide Could Expand in New Jersey

A New Jersey lawmaker proposed a bill last week that would let doctors legally prescribe lethal doses of medication to help patients end their lives, WORLD News Service reports. The New Jersey Death With Dignity Act would allow doctors to issue deadly drugs to patients who’ve been told they have less than six months to live. If the bill passes, it would need voter approval to be enacted. Pro-family groups are, of course, opposed to the legislation. New Jersey Family Policy Council president Len Deo said: “We believe that life should run its course. As our country struggles with the culture of death verses the culture of life, these are inevitable the outcomes we will see in public policy.” The New Jersey law would be modeled after laws in Oregon and Washington that went into effect in 1997 and 2009, respectively -- where doctors may prescribe drugs to help terminally ill people commit suicide. In Montana, physician-assisted suicide has been permitted on a case-by-case basis decided by courts since 2009. Since the 1990s, residents of California, Maine and Michigan have voted down physician-assisted suicide bills, and voters in Massachusetts will see a similar measure on their ballots in November. 

Regent University Challenges Birth Control Mandate

Regent University, founded by Rev. Pat Robertson, has joined the legal battle against the contraception mandate in President Obama's health care plan, CBN News reports. The Health and Human Services regulation requires group health insurance plans to provide birth control at no cost to consumers, including abortion-inducing drugs. Regent filed an amicus brief Oct. 10 along with the American Center for Law and Justice, claiming the mandate forces them to violate their religious or pay significant fines. There are now more than 35 separate lawsuits challenging the HHS mandate.

Publication date: October 16, 2012