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Religion Today Summaries - December 15, 2011

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - December 15, 2011

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

In today's edition:

  • Ministry Providing Bibles for Inmates This Christmas
  • Propaganda Versus Reality in Iraq
  • City of Oakland's Ordinance Discriminates Against Pro-Life Pastor
  • Girl Scouts' Admitting of Boy Draws Backlash


Ministry Providing Bibles for Inmates This Christmas

Bible resource provider Biblica has a special Bible just for prison inmates this Christmas, Mission Network News reports. The Bible, called Free on the Inside, is a full Bible "with stories of redemption from other people who have spent time in prison for whatever reason," said Biblica CEO Doug Lockhart. He said the Bibles were especially recommended for people in prison ministry: "If they're interfacing with inmates, they're able to highlight one of the stories, and maybe it becomes a conversation piece that very naturally takes them into God's word. ... That [inmates] end up in God's word -- that is certainly the end goal." This fiscal year, Biblica will distribute copies of the Bible to 123,000 inmates across America; the organization also has the option for anyone to donate a case of 24 Bibles for $84. About two-thirds of ex-convicts return to jail within three years, but research shows inmates who accept Christ are 50 percent less likely to be repeat offenders.

Propaganda Versus Reality in Iraq

By December 31, all U.S. and NATO troops will have withdrawn from Iraq. Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and U.S. President Barack Obama are touting Iraq as a model democracy that has successfully defeated terrorism, but Iraq's tiny remaining Christian population is worried that the troop withdrawal will simply open the way for completing the jihad and genocide they have already suffered, according to ASSIST News Service. International religious liberty analyst and advocate Elizabeth Kendal says Iraq's indigenous Christian people have lost two-thirds of their number through evacuation and genocide, but their most difficult days are still ahead. "The propaganda indicates the powers-that-be are more intent on getting good press than preventing the genocide of Christians," Kendal said. Iraqi Christians are keeping a low profile as they prepare to observe Christmas.

City of Oakland's Ordinance Discriminates Against Pro-Life Pastor

The Life Legal Defense Foundation, on behalf of Pastor Walter Hoye, is seeking a permanent injunction against the city of Oakland, Calif., for its inconsistent enforcement of an ordinance that forbids pro-lifers from approaching women outside abortion clinics, the Christian Newswire reports. The the city has only prosecuted people for approaching women within a "bubble zone" if they were trying to persuade them not to have an abortion; pro-abortion "escorts," however, have encountered no punishment for entering the zone. Pastor Hoye was arrested and imprisoned but vindicated by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in July when they ruled that the city was infringing on his freedom of speech by not making the ordinance impartial. So far, though, the city has not complied with the court's decision. "The city is violating the free speech of people who want to protect life," said Dana Cody of the Life Legal Defense Foundation.

Girl Scouts' Admitting of Boy Draws Backlash

Girl Scouts USA's recent revelation that its local chapters sometimes induct transgender children -- boys who live as girls -- has caused repercussions around the country, such as in Louisiana, where three troops at a Christian school have disbanded because the policy conflicted with the school's beliefs, Baptist Press reports. The issue came to light last month when a Denver, Colo., mother sought to enroll her 7-year-old son in the local Girl Scouts chapter; this led to the revelation that the Girl Scouts evaluated the admission of transgendered children on a case-by-case basis. Jeff Johnston of Focus on the Family said the practice of admitting transgendered children "creates confusion" and would lead to growing societal confusion about gender. "It's part of biblical truth that God made us male and female in His image," he said.

Publication date: December 15, 2011