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Religion Today Summaries - December 20, 2011

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - December 20, 2011

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

In today's edition:

  • After Kim Jong Il's Death, a Call for N. Korea to End Crimes Against Humanity
  • Iranian Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani to Remain in Prison
  • LifeWay Ending Sale of Pink Bibles After Uproar
  • Decision on InterVarsity Chapter's Status Postponed


After Kim Jong Il's Death, a Call for N. Korea to End Crimes Against Humanity

In the wake of the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) is calling on the North Korean regime to end its brutal oppression of its citizens. Kim Jong Il reportedly died of a heart attack Dec. 17, although the news was only reported by state media last night. His youngest son, Kim Jong Un, has been named the "Great Successor," but it is yet unclear whether he or military officials will take charge. North Korea is the world's most closed nation with some of the worst human rights violations and Christian persecution. The country has no religious freedom, and Christians are jailed and often executed for their beliefs. "There is now a real opportunity for North Korea to change direction, end its isolation, stop the brutal oppression of its own people and open up to the world," said Mervyn Thomas, CSW's chief executive.

Iranian Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani to Remain in Prison

Iranian pastor Yousef Nadarkhani, who faces a potential death sentence for his Christian faith, will remain in prison for at least four more months and perhaps up to a year, according to conflicting reports, Baptist Press reports. The American Center for Law and Justice reported Dec. 16 that the local Iranian court had ordered Nadarkhani's verdict delayed at least four months; meanwhile, Middle East religious freedom organization Present Truth Ministries reported the delay would last a year. The goal of keeping him in prison is "to use whatever means necessary to cause him to recant and turn to Islam," Present Truth Ministries said.

LifeWay Ending Sale of Pink Bibles After Uproar

LifeWay Christian Resources has decided to pull pink breast cancer awareness Bibles off the shelves after a controversy erupted, the Christian Post reports. For every pink Bible purchased, one dollar went to the Susan G. Komen Foundation; however, when it was brought to the attention of LifeWay's leadership by numerous pro-life advocates that some of Komen's affiliates were giving funds to Planned Parenthood, "we realized it was a mistake," said president and CEO Thom S. Rainer. Komen assured LifeWay that the funding was only used for breast cancer screening and awareness, but LifeWay said the partnership was "not in keeping with LifeWay's core values to have even an indirect relationship with Planned Parenthood."

Decision on InterVarsity Chapter's Status Postponed

Members of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship at the State University of New York at Buffalo will have to wait until after Christmas to find out whether they can continue to operate as an official student group on campus, WORLD News Service reports. On Dec. 11, the school's student government postponed a vote on InverVarsity's status to give an investigating committee more time to determine whether the group had violated the school's nondiscrimination policy by asking its student treasurer to step down in early December for being gay. InterVarsity leaders maintain that their constitution requires its leaders to sign a faith and lifestyle pledge, but the student senate is now questioning whether the constitution is legal because of a recent Supreme Court decision forbidding statement-of-faith requirements in certain cases. While waiting for the decision, InterVarsity is not allowed to hold official meetings or spend any money.

Publication date: December 20, 2011