Religion Today Summaries - Dec. 31, 2009

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Dec. 31, 2009

Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:

  • U.N. Advances Defamation Bill But Support Wanes
  • Accused Pakistani Christian Says Muslims Tried to Coerce Him
  • Bible Is Most-Stolen Book during Holidays
  • Ex-KKK Leader to Minister in Historically Black Church Body

U.N. Advances Defamation Bill but Support Wanes

Mission News Network reports that the United Nations General Assembly has again passed the controversial Defamation of Religion resolution for the firth year in a row. The non-binding resolution appears to be losing support, winning with five fewer votes and eight more coming against the resolution than last year. According to Open Doors Director Lindsay Vessey, the rights group's lobbying campaign appears to be gaining ground, even as the resolution's Islamic sponsors try to maximize its impact. "Instead of being a non-binding resolution, they're actually trying to pass it through a separate committee that would make it more of a binding resolution--it would make it an optional protocol," she said. "People aren‘t free to preach the Gospel--people aren't free to say what they believe even if they're not trying to evangelize. But it's also going to impact missionaries and foreign workers who go into these countries to evangelize."  

Accused Pakistani Christian Says Muslims Tried to Coerce Him

Compass Direct News reports that a Pakistani Christian said he was arrested and tortured only because he was a key witness of the mob assault that left at least seven Christians burned to death. Naveed Masih is accused of killing a Muslim during August's Gojra violence but was released on bail on Dec. 23. Masih says several Muslims have offered him large amounts of money to alter his testimony regarding the assault in Gojra. The mob attack, prompted by calls from Muslim clerics spreading a false rumor of "blasphemy" of the Quran, included banned Islamic terrorist groups and resulted in the looting of more than 100 houses and the burning of 50 of them; at least 19 people were injured. Masih refused to alter his testimony, and says he now fears for his life. Masih and his brother Nauman Masih were the only Christians arrested in a counter-charge by the accused Muslims.

Bible Is Most-Stolen Book during Holidays

WOAI News reports that reports that Christian bookstores are seeing theft increase in the down economy, and the most often target are - surprisingly - Bibles. "I can see the need people have, they need to buy more but don't have the means to do it," said Maria Obregon, store manager for Noah's Ark Christian Bookstore in San Antonio, Texas. Obregon looks at the thefts with optimism. "So I just bless them that they can [use it] and read it," she said. The store's Bibles range in price from $10 to $70, but Obregon says she often gives discounts on Bibles, even handing them out for free to new believers. Still, she acknowledges that the pricey thefts have an impact. "It hurts the cash register," Obregon said.

Ex-KKK Leader to Minister in Historically Black Church Body

The Christian Post reports a strange story of racial reconciliation in the largest body of black churchgoers in America.  Last month, the Church of God in Christ welcomed Johnny Lee Clary, former Ku Klux Klan leader, into their midst as an ordained minister. "When the day comes for me to make my journey home, I hope to be remembered not as the former National Leader Of the Klan," said Clary, 50, "but as a man who saw wrong and tried to right it, to build a better world to leave for our children, both black and white." Bishop George D. McKinney, who ordained Clary, told the Tulsa World "it's not every day that we get a former klansman." Clary maintains that he is on a ministry of reconciliation. "We're building a bridge of racial reconciliation, and what better way to do that than with a former KKK leader ministering in a black church that boasts over 6 million members?" he told the Oklahoman.