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Religion Today Summaries - April 19, 2012

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - April 19, 2012

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

In today's edition:

  • Chuck Colson Reportedly Near Death
  • UK Church Leader: Christians in Britain Being 'Vilified'
  • Attacks on South Asian Religious Minorities by Islamic Extremists Increasing
  • Gay History Law May Make California Ballot in November


Chuck Colson Reportedly Near Death

Evangelical leader and prison ministry founder Chuck Colson is near death after suffering a brain hemorrhage nearly three weeks ago, according to his media representatives, CNN reports. "It is with a heavy but hopeful heart that I share with you that it appears our friend, brother and founder will soon be home with the Lord," said Jim Liske, CEO of Prison Fellowship, which Colson founded. "Chuck's condition took a decided turn yesterday, and the doctors advised [his wife] Patty and the family to gather by his bedside." Colson, 80, underwent surgery March 31 to remove a pool of clotted blood from the surface of his brain. He was speaking at a conference March 30 when his speech became garbled and he had to sit down, according to witnesses.

UK Church Leader: Christians in Britain Being 'Vilified'

In a submission to the European Court of Human Rights, former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey said Christians in Britain were being "vilified" by the state and that they faced being "sacked" for their faith, Christian Today reports. Lord Carey's appeal was made in relation to four recent cases of British Christians who  experienced disciplinary action at their jobs for expressing their faith -- two of which involved wearing a cross to work. "In a country where Christians can be sacked for manifesting their faith, are vilified by state bodies, are in fear of reprisal or even arrest for expressing their views on sexual ethics, something is very wrong," he said. "Christians are excluded from many sectors of employment simply because of their beliefs -- beliefs which are not contrary to the public good. ... It is now Christians who are persecuted, often sought out and framed by homosexual activists. Christians are driven underground. There appears to be a clear animus to the Christian faith and to Judeo-Christian values. Clearly the courts of the United Kingdom require guidance."

Attacks on South Asian Religious Minorities by Islamic Extremists Increasing

Reports of Islamic extremists attacking people of different faiths in South Asia have been growing in recent years, resulting in beatings and even beheadings, the Christian Post reports. In March alone in India, a Christian church was attacked, an elderly widow beaten and a 22-year-old woman driven from her village for giving thanks to Jesus. In neighboring Pakistan, the religious persecution is just as bad, where Christians are targeted even by government officials. Islamic militants in Pakistan have also targeted Sikhs, with recent incidents of kidnappings and beheadings. Attacks by Muslims against religious minorities are so common that they are at most condemned by authorities, and rarely punished -- and violence continues to spread throughout the region.

Gay History Law May Make California Ballot in November

A California law that legalized the teaching of gay history in public schools might still have a chance to be reversed at the ballot, months after an earlier signature drive aimed at overturning it fell short, Baptist Press reports. After failing last year to collect the necessary 500,000 signatures, opponents of the law are once again trying to gather enough signatures to place the issue before California voters. They believe they have a greater chance for success this time because they have four months instead of two, and they hope to get at least 700,000 signatures by the July deadline. The proposed ballot initiative, known as the Class Act, would reverse the law, known as SB 48, which requires social science classes to include the "role and contributions [of] lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans." The Class Act would also clarify what is and is not allowed under law regarding the teaching of history. A historical figure would not "be excluded because he or she belongs to a protected class -- including gays or lesbians -- but nor will that person be included because he or she belongs to a protected class," said Kevin Snider of the Pacific Justice Institute. As it reads now, Snider says, the gay history law prevents criticism of gays. California is the only state in the U.S. with such a law.

Publication date: April 19, 2012