Religion Today Summaries - Feb. 3, 2011

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Feb. 3, 2011

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

In today's edition:

  • Fox Rejects Super Bowl Ad Featuring John 3:16
  • Barnabas Fund Cares for Christians Caught Up in Egypt Chaos
  • Official Recognition Eludes Christian Groups in Bhutan
  • Sudan Accepts South Secession Vote

Fox Rejects Super Bowl Ad Featuring John 3:16

Fox Sports has rejected multiple ads for this year's Super Bowl, including one that parodies the Eucharist. Christians have also been on the receiving end of Fox's strict guidelines. Politics Daily reports that the latest spot to get rejected was a 30-second ad aimed at getting viewers to check out the familiar gospel verse, John 3:16. Fox Broadcasting Company rejected the commercial because under company policy, it "does not accept advertising from religious organizations for the purpose of advancing particular beliefs or practices." Larry Taunton, head of the Fixed Point Foundation, an Alabama-based Christian organization that produced the ad, said Fox's response was "very courteous and gracious." He stressed that "Fox Sports isn't but enemy" but that the rejections points to a larger cultural issue. "I think we have become so utterly sensitive and politically correct that the result is we end up doing absurd things like this."

Barnabas Fund Cares for Christians Caught Up in Egypt Chaos

Christians in Egypt are receiving physical support from the charity Barnabus Fund as unrest continues to plague the country. Christian Today reports that many shops have been attacked and looted during the protests, but Christian shops seem to be "particularly targeted." Churches have canceled all services and meetings due to potential violence, and some church ministers are sleeping in their church buildings to ward off attack. Citizens throughout the capital city of Cairo are running low on essential goods following a week of forced shutdowns and business closings. Dr. Patrick Sookhdeo, international director of Barnabas Fund, said: "Christians in Egypt need our immediate practical help and prayer support as they find themselves embroiled in this unfolding crisis."

Official Recognition Eludes Christian Groups in Bhutan

Bhutan officials have given assurances that freedom for Christians to worship "within the cultural norms" will not be violated, Compass Direct News reports. However, they remain ambiguous on whether and when the tiny community will obtain legal identity. Bhutan's cultural norms include rules against proselytizing. The country's agency regulating religious organizations was expected to make a decision last December on whether it could register a Christian federation representing all Christians, but an official at the agency said the matter requires further investigation. Meantime, Home Minister Dorji Tshering indicated no change was necessary. "The intent of the Religious Organizations Act of Bhutan [under which the regulatory authority functions] is to protect and preserve the spiritual heritage of Bhutan," he said. "We need to see if such preconditions can be met if we register a Christian organization." Bhutan's constitution states that Buddhism is the "spiritual heritage" of the country.

Sudan Accepts South Secession Vote

Sudan's government has said it will accept the secession of the southern half of the country without challenge, according to Reuters. The Monday announcement gave further acceptance to the January referendum in which 99 percent of those voting in south Sudan voted for independence. "We announce our agreement and our acceptance of the result of the referendum announced yesterday," Vice President Ali Osman Mohamed Taha told reporters in the North's first reaction since the results. "We wish our brothers in the south good luck and a fruitful future in organizing the issues surrounding the new country." The referendum was the last step in a 2005 peace agreement between the North and South. The agreement ended a civil war spanning a quarter of a century.