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Religion Today Summaries - January 2, 2012

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - January 2, 2012

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

In today's edition:

  • Evangelical Vote Still Split in Iowa
  • Christianity May Be Eradicated in Iraq and Afghanistan
  • Student Punished for Anti-Gay Views Denied Request to Return to School
  • Pregnant Woman Beaten in Pakistani Jail Granted Bail


Evangelical Vote Still Split in Iowa

The crucial evangelical vote in Iowa is still uncertain the day before the first ballots will be cast in the Republican presidential primary, potentially boosting former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, the Wall Street Journal reports. The three most conservative candidates -- Sen. Rick Santorum, Rep. Michele Bachmann and Texas Gov. Rick Perry -- have each garnered support from different groups of Christians in Iowa, but none has been able to acquire a majority. Some evangelical leaders have been trying to convince one or more of the Christian candidates to drop out, hoping to consolidate the evangelical vote, but at this point it seems unlikely. Some are holding out hope that evangelicals will rally around one candidate tomorrow, but the situation is still "very perplexing and very undecided," said Jeff Mullen, a pastor from a Des Moines suburb.

Christianity May Be Eradicated in Iraq and Afghanistan

According to a chairman of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, Christianity faces a legitimate threat of eradication in Iraq and Afghanistan because of severe and persistent persecution of Christians there, CNSNews.com reports. Despite long-term U.S. military operations to establish representative governments in those countries, Christian persecution has only escalated. "Unfortunately, that is sort of the pattern throughout the Middle Eastern region," said USCIRF chairman Leonard Leo. "The flight of Christians out of the region is unprecedented and it's increasing year by year. It's a very, very alarming situation."

Student Punished for Anti-Gay Views Denied Request to Return to School

A counseling student put on probation after saying she disagreed with homosexuality will not be returning to Augusta State University while she fights against the school's attempt to make her complete a remediation plan to change her views, WORLD News Service reports. The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in early December denied Jennifer Keeton's request to complete her studies while her case works its way through the courts. In July 2010, she filed suit against the university, arguing her First Amendment rights were violated when administrators put her on academic probation for saying she wanted to work with conversion therapy -- helping clients stop living a gay lifestyle. The school also required Keeton to complete a "remediation plan" -- going to gay pride events, attending sensitivity training and writing monthly reflection papers -- which she declined. She has requested a jury trial, but no date has been set.

Pregnant Woman Beaten in Pakistani Jail Granted Bail

A judge in December granted bail to a Christian woman falsely charged with theft in Abbottabad, Pakistan, after police failed to produce evidence incriminating her, Compass Direct News reports. Salma Emmanuel, 30, was severely beaten along with her husband for three days when they refused to confess, and she was taken to a hospital in critical condition with the life of her unborn child also threatened. Her husband was freed on bail in November and said that while he was beaten, police tried to convert him to Islam. Emmanuel said police discriminated against both of them from the outset: "The police tortured both of us, and despite our ... cry that we were not thieves, they continued with their harsh treatment," she said. The couple lost their life savings and both their jobs as a result of the false charges and are now depending on relatives. 

Publication date: January 2, 2012