Religion Today Summaries - February 9, 2012

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - February 9, 2012

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

In today's edition:

  • Unrest Growing in Syria, Hundreds Dead
  • The Global War on Christians in the Islamic World
  • Air Force Removes 'God' From Logo
  • Americans Evenly Divided on Gay Marriage, Most Evangelicals Opposed


Unrest Growing in Syria, Hundreds Dead

Syrian forces continue to crack down on protesters in Homs, killing more than 300 in renewed conflict just days after the United States closed its embassy in Damascus and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov held talks with Syrian president Bashar al-Assad on solutions to end the 11 months of civil unrest, Mission Network News reports. While some predict the Assad regime will fall, others say he will never back down, and additional worries are arising that Syria could go after Israel if attacked. According to Tom Doyle of the church-planting ministry E3 Partners, Christians have largely been left alone by the government since the unrest began, although they still have to deal with the day-to-day violence. "We're hearing the nominal Christians, Muslims, Alawite, Druze in Syria are much more open to hearing about Christ," Doyle said. "In fact, in some cases, they are seeking out Christians. The places where people are being set free is where Satan is trying to keep them in chains with radical Islam, to keep the people afraid, to keep people away from the Muslims who are very open to the Gospel right now."

The Global War on Christians in the Islamic World

According to Newsweek, a largely unrecognized global war on Christians is underway. "Christians are being killed in the Islamic world because of their religion," writes columnist Ayaan Hirsi Ali. "It is a rising genocide that ought to provoke global alarm." Ali says that despite the media's reticence to report on the subject, the fate of Christians -- and all religious minorities -- in the Muslim world is at stake. In Nigeria, the radical Islamist group Boko Haram aims to establish sharia (Islamic law) and has stated it will kill all Christians in the country. In Sudan, tens of thousands of Christians have been displaced from their homes, subjected to targeted killings, kidnapping and bomb attacks. In Egypt, Iraq and Pakistan, Christians face "incipient genocide or ethnic cleansing," and in Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Ethiopia and other formerly "tolerant" countries, Christian persecution has only increased. "It should be clear ... that anti-Christian violence is a major and underreported problem," Ali writes. "Instead of falling for overblown tales of Western Islamophobia, let's take a real stand against the Christophobia infecting the Muslim world."

Air Force Removes 'God' From Logo

A group of Republican lawmakers is protesting the removal of a reference to God in the patch logo for the Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office (RCO), The Hill reports. The patch included a line in Latin -- common for military patches -- that translated to "Doing God's Work with Other People's Money." However, after the Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers complained, the Air Force replaced the line several weeks ago with the Latin for "Doing Miracles with Other People's Money." Thirty-five legislators, led by Rep. Randy Forbes (R-Va.), wrote a letter to Air Force Secretary Michael Donley and Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz, urging them to restore the original logo. "It is most egregious," Forbes said. "The Air Force is taking the tone that you can't even use the word 'God.' ... It is a very dangerous course to take."

Americans Evenly Divided on Gay Marriage, Most Evangelicals Opposed

The latest polling on gay marriage by the Pew Research Center in Oct. 2011 found that the public divides almost evenly on the issue, while evangelical Christians express the greatest opposition, according to the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life. Forty-six percent of Americans favor allowing gays and lesbians to legally marry, while 44 percent are opposed. Among religious groups, white evangelical Protestants express the greatest opposition, with 74 percent. Sixty-two percent of black Protestants also oppose gay marriage, numbers that have not changed since 2010. Compared with evangelicals and black Protestants, white mainline protestants are more in favor of gay marriage, with 54 percent in support. In 2010, Catholics were almost evenly divided on the issue, but now Catholic supporters of gay marriage outnumber opponents 52 to 37 percent. Religiously unaffiliated Americans expressed the highest levels of support for gay marriage, with 72 percent.

Publication date: February 9, 2012