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Religion Today Summaries - Feb. 28, 2011

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Feb. 28, 2011

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

  • Regular Church Attendees Face Lower Divorce Rate
  • Murder of Pastor in Honduras Raises Security Questions
  • Egyptian Armed Forces Fire at Christian Monastery
  • Texas Senate Passes Ultrasound Bill

Regular Church Attendees Face Lower Divorce Rate

World News Service reports that a popular church statistic might require some revision. Facts show that half of marriages among Christians and non-Christians alike end in divorce, but the reality is that Christians who attend church regularly get divorced at a much lower rate. Professor Bradley Wright, a sociologist at the University of Connecticut, found that among people who identify as Christians but rarely attend church, 60 percent have been divorced. Of those who attend church regularly, 38 percent have been divorced. Professor Scott Stanley from the University of Denver, who is working on the Oklahoma Marriage Initiative, said couples with a vibrant religious faith have more and higher levels of the qualities that marriages need to avoid divorce. "Whether young or old, male or female, low-income or not, those who said that they were more religious reported higher average levels of commitment to their partners, higher levels of marital satisfaction, less thinking and talking about divorce and lower levels of negative interaction," he said.

Murder of Pastor in Honduras Raises Security Questions

The murder of a prominent pastor in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, last has focused attention on that country's alarming murder rate and the regular threats to Christian workers. Compass Direct News reports that Pastor Carlos Roberto Marroquín, 41, was shot to death by two assailants as he walked his two dogs near his house on Feb. 21. Authorities said the gunmen asked him for his cell phone, shooting him when he resisted. Whether the high-profile pastor was targeted as a Christian leader for the murder-theft is a matter of conjecture. Such killings are common in Honduras for people of all religious beliefs, and although he had received death threats, those too are not unusual for Christian leaders in the country. Marroquín was the second pastor to be murdered in Honduras this year, after the Jan. 30 killing of Raymundo Fuentes, 43, pastor of the New Jerusalem Temple.

Egyptian Armed Forces Fire at Christian Monastery

ASSIST News Service that Egyptian armed forces stormed a fifth century monastery for second time last week, firing on monks and monastery workers. The St. Bishoy monastery in Wadi el-Natroun is 68 miles outside Cairo. Four people have been arrested, including three monks and a Coptic lawyer who was at the monastery investigating the army attack. The army allegedly attacked with five tanks, a bulldozer and other armored vehicles to demolish a fence built around the monastery last month during the recent popular uprising. Two monks and six monastery workers were injured, some seriously. "The army was shocked to see the monks standing there praying ‘Lord have mercy' without running away. This is what really upset them," Father Hemanot Ava Bishoy said. "As the soldiers were demolishing the gate and the fence they were chanting, ‘Allahu Akbar' and ‘Victory, Victory.'"

Texas Senate Passes Ultrasound Bill

World News Service reports that the Texas Senate on Feb. 24 approved a measure that would allow a woman to see an ultrasound image of her baby before an abortion. She also would receive an explanation of the images. "Considering the magnitude of the decision to have an abortion, it is crucial that Texans understand what is truly at stake," Republican Gov. Rick Perry said in a statement. Republican state Sen. Jane Nelson also supports the bill. "Yes, sonograms are a standard of care," she said. "But they also affirm life." Statistics show that for women who are abortion-minded, seeing an ultrasound can turn their hearts and minds toward life. The measure now goes to the Texas House, which has a two-thirds Republican majority. Twenty-one states have provisions giving women the opportunity to view ultrasounds before abortions are performed.