Religion Today Summaries - Feb. 2, 2011

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Feb. 2, 2011

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

In today's edition:

  • Open Doors Calls for Prayer for Christians in Egypt
  • Obama and Jesus Ranked Equal as Teen Role Models
  • Pentagon: No Change for Chaplains with Gay Ban Repeal
  • Thousands of Women Protest Violence in Nigeria

Open Doors Calls for Prayer for Christians in Egypt

Persecution watchdog Open Doors USA yesterday called for Christians in the West to pray for their brothers and sisters in Egypt, as protests continue to stymie the country. "While the huge protests in the streets against the government of President Hosni Mubarak have not been targeting Christians, it is causing the churches to suspend some services and ministry activities in the Cairo area," said Dr. Carl Moeller, president/CEO of Open Doors USA. "It is also causing many to consider the consequences of a potentially more radical Muslim government replacing the current regime. While the situation is still very unclear, the potential for any power vacuum to be filled with extremist political groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood is very real and could have grave consequences." Egypt is ranked No. 19 on the Open Doors 2011 World Watch List of the 50 worst persecutors of Christians.

Obama and Jesus Ranked Equal as Teen Role Models

When teens are asked to name a role model other than their parents, two names rise to the top: Barack Obama and Jesus Christ. In a new study from the Barna Group, two out of three teens named someone they know personally, with 37 percent naming a relative. Other popular answers included teachers and coaches (11 percent), friends (9 percent), and pastors or other religious leaders they know personally (6 percent). President Barack Obama and Jesus Christ each received 3 percent of the votes. "For better and worse, teens are emulating the people they know best," said David Kinnaman, president of the Barna Group. "Many parents and youth workers fret about the role models of the next generation. Yet, one reason to remain hopeful about the development of young people is their reliance upon the people they know best: friends, relatives, teachers, pastors, and coaches."

Pentagon: No Change for Chaplains with Gay Ban Repeal

The pending repeal of the U.S. military's ban on openly gay members will not change policies related to chaplains, the Pentagon stated Friday. "There will be no changes regarding service member exercise of religious beliefs, nor are there any changes to policies concerning the chaplain corps of the military departments and their duties," reads a six-page memo about implementing the repeal the Don't Ask/Don't Tell policy, according to Religion News Service. It notes that chaplains will continue to be required to "care for all," and their First Amendment freedoms will remain unchanged. "When chaplains are engaged in the performance of religious services, they may not be required to engage in practices contrary to their religious beliefs," it reads. Officials of some chaplains' organizations have opposed the repeal and questioned whether chaplains who oppose homosexuality will be protected.

Thousands of Women Protest Violence in Nigeria

The central Nigerian city of Jos was brought to a standstill Monday as thousands of women dressed in black marched through the streets to protest the continuing violence in Plateau State. Christian Solidarity Worldwide reports that the women, some of whom were half-dressed in a cultural sign of deep mourning and desperation, marched to the state governor's official residence in Jishe. There they denounced discrimination against Christians in northern Nigeria and called for the military forces stationed in Jos, which are viewed as biased, to be replaced by the mobile police. The women's anger was further fuelled by the deaths of a woman and child during an attack on a village in Vom on the previous night. In response, Jos Governor Jang pleaded for restraint and understanding, adding that a gradual withdrawal of troops was already underway.