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Religion Today Summaries - April 17, 2012

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - April 17, 2012

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

In today's edition:

  • A Global Genocide Against Christians Underway?
  • Iranian Christian Asylum-Seekers in Danger of Deportation From Sweden
  • London Mayor Axes Ads Saying Homosexuality Can Be Cured
  • Atheists Offer Porn in Exchange for Bibles


A Global Genocide Against Christians Underway?

In addition to the widespread persecution of Christians in the Muslim-majority Middle East, one religious freedom expert says Christians are "very much threatened" throughout the rest of the world, CBN News reports. Nina Shea, director of the Hudson Institute's Center for Religious Freedom, said: "We're seeing a very vicious attack on Christians in a number of countries. ... In many places in Iraq, we're seeing a religious cleansing. That's a euphemism -- it means that Christians are being killed and driven out. About two-thirds of the Christians in Iraq have already left." In Saudi Arabia, she said, the government is now hunting down people who pray in their homes, and in Egypt, Christians are "very, very worried about their future because there's an Islamist parliament now." However, Shea notes that it isn't just the Middle East that's seeing an increase in Muslim extremism: "There is a radicalization of Islam going on throughout the world and this is having an impact on the tolerance that there is for non-Muslims. So Christians are very much threatened throughout the world." Those countries include Nigeria, North Korea, China, Vietnam and Pakistan, and "anyone who defends [Christians] who are Muslim -- they're being attacked and killed," Shea said.

Iranian Christian Asylum-Seekers in Danger of Deportation From Sweden

Despite efforts from human-rights activists following a decision by Sweden's immigration office to deport Iranian asylum-seekers, many Christians still face the possibility of being returned to their home country -- and experiencing danger upon their return, Mohabat News reports. One of the Christians in danger of deportation is Mohammad-Ali Hodaei, an Iranian citizen who converted to Christianity. "If it is Jesus' will for me to return to Iran, I'll submit to His will and He will protect me Himself," he said, but his activities -- such as posting daily evangelical messages on social media such as Facebook -- could cause great risk for his future if he is forced to leave Sweden. Another Christian convert facing deportation is Mohammad-Reza Hamedian Esfahani, who entered Sweden using a visa after he was fired from his job in Iran after becoming a Christian; he and his family would also face an unsafe situation if they returned to Iran. Asylum activists continue to call on the immigration office to protect the Iranian Christians and stop the process of deportation.

London Mayor Axes Ads Saying Homosexuality Can Be Cured

London's mayor has axed an ad campaign spearheaded by two conservative Christian groups because their ads said homosexuality was a disease that could be cured through prayer, the Religion News Service reports. The groups, Core Issues Trust and Anglican Mainstream, who both fund reparative therapy for ex-gays, made posters reading "Post-gay and proud. Get over it!" -- mimicking a recent campaign by the gay-rights group Stonewall, which used the line "Some people are gay. Get over it" -- and had planned to put them on the sides of London's iconic double-decker red buses beginning April 16. However, mayor Boris Johnson stepped in to ban the ads. "It is clearly offensive to suggest being gay is an illness someone recovers from," he said. "And I am not prepared to have that suggestion driven around London on our buses."

Atheists Offer Porn in Exchange for Bibles

A small group of students at the University of Texas at San Antonio recently spent two days sitting in the middle of campus next to two bright red signs, one that said "Free Porn" and the other offering "Smut for Smut." The students, all members of Atheist Agenda, hoped to entice their classmates to turn in their Bibles in exchange for pornographic magazines -- a provocative offer designed to shock and attract attention, WORLD News Service reports. In 2008, the event caused an uproar on campus and made headlines around the world, but this year, few students took notice. During the four hours Atheist Agenda members spent next to their signs each day, only about 30 people stopped by to get information about the club or start a debate. About 30 yards away from the tables, a small group of students from the campus Victory and Praise Choir stood in a circle, holding hands, praying and quietly singing worship songs. The singers first gathered to protest the atheist event last year, assistant choir director Tarvia Demerson said, adding that they hoped to show people walking by that the atheists weren't the only ones willing to make a bold public statement about their beliefs.

Publication date: April 17, 2012