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Religion Today Summaries - Jan. 28, 2011

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Jan. 28, 2011

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

In today's edition:

  • U.S. Missionary Slain while Fleeing Mexico Gunmen
  • Many Genocides Commemorated on Holocaust Memorial Day
  • Eritrea's Prisons Claim the Lives of Two Christians
  • Christian Guesthouse Owners to Appeal Ruling

U.S. Missionary Slain while Fleeing Mexico Gunmen

A U.S. missionary has died after being shot in the head by gunmen in Mexico, The Houston Chronicle reports. Police believe that Nancy Davis, 59, and her husband, Sam, were targeted for their 2008 pickup truck. Gunmen tried to force them to pull over, and opened fire when the couple tried to flee. Nancy Davis was from Ohio but had fallen in love with missionary work in Texas and Mexico, said Merton Rundell III, director of finance at Union Bible College in Indiana and a friend of the couple. "She was 150 percent involved in the mission work," Rundell said. "They did some teaching, did some evangelistic work," he continued. "But most of their labors were directly involved in establishing churches in different parts of Mexico." Drug cartels have made the area an increasingly dangerous place over the past year.

Many Genocides Commemorated on Holocaust Memorial Day

Religion News Service reports that survivors and mourners were asked by the Holocaust Memorial Trust in London to remember victims of other mass killings -- the Democratic Republic of Congo, where 5.4 million people have been killed since 1998; Cambodia, where an estimated 1.7 million were murdered by the Khmer Rouge between 1975 and 1979; the Bosnian war in the 1990s that claimed at least 98,000 lives; Burundi, with 50,000 deaths in 1993 and Rwanda, which saw 800,000 deaths in 1994 due to tribal conflict. All of these were considered in advance of yesteday's Holocaust Memorial Day. Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams emphasized this year's theme of "lost stories." In a statement, the archbishop said, "If the stories are not told over and again, we lose the memory of those who suffered and we risk losing something that protects our humanity ... I commend for our remembrance the untold stories of Jewish people living in Britain during the medieval era, those of the Holocaust and the stories from the genocidal tragedies of many other contexts in our deeply damaged world today."

Eritrea's Prisons Claim the Lives of Two Christians

Mission News Network reports that two Christians have died in Eritrea's detention centers. Seble Hagos Mebrahtu, 27, died in the military training center in Sawa on Jan 1. Mebrahtu was reportedly refused medical treatment for malaria and died soon after. Mehari Gebreneguse Asgedom, 42, was also denied medical treatment for complications from diabetes and injuries sustained from torture. He died Jan. 16 at the Mitire Military Confinement Center. As of November 2010, according to Open Doors, church leaders in Eritrea estimated that there were around 1,500 believers in prison specifically for their faith. There are other reports that indicate up to 3,000 Christians being held, but information can be extremely difficult to confirm.

Christian Guesthouse Owners to Appeal Ruling

Christian Today reports that a Christian couple accused of discriminating against a gay couple at their bed and breakfast will appeal the ruling against them. A judge ordered Peter and Hazelmary Bull to pay more than US $5,700 for refusing to let the couple stay in a double room. The Bulls have maintained a policy that only married couples may stay in double rooms. The Christian Institute's director, Colin Hart, said the guesthouse had since been "besieged" with demands for double rooms by homosexual couples "seemingly in a bid to destroy the business." In making his ruling, Judge Andrew Rutherford admitted that it "does affect the human rights of the defendants to manifest their religion and forces them to act in a manner contrary to their deeply and genuinely held beliefs".