Religion Today Summaries - January 3, 2012

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - January 3, 2012

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

In today's edition:

  • Nigeria: Islamist Militants Warn Christians to Leave North Within Three Days
  • Sexting: Youth Leaders Deal With New Challenge
  • A 'Christ-Centered' Alternative to Girl Scouts
  • A Baby to Be Born Every Eight Seconds in Jan. 2012


Nigeria: Islamist Militants Warn Christians to Leave North Within Three Days

The militant Islamist group Boko Haram has issued an ultimatum for Christians living in northern Nigeria, warning them to leave the area within three days, CNN reports. Boko Haram spokesman Abul Qaqa said Boko Haram fighters were prepared to confront soldiers sent to the area under the state of emergency declared in parts of four states by Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan on Saturday, and also called on Muslims in southern Nigeria to "come back to the north because we have evidence they will be attacked." Human rights activist Shehu Sani said Boko Haram's threat was credible, but that many Christians living in northern Nigeria had nowhere to escape. "The killings will continue," he said, adding that Boko Haram might also begin attacking new areas. In recent months, Boko Haram has increased its number and intensity of terror attacks, including the Christmas Day church bombing that killed 35.

Sexting: Youth Leaders Deal With New Challenge

Sexting -- sending sexually suggestive messages or photos via text messaging on phones -- has become a trend among teens, and church kids are not immune, Charisma News reports. While different surveys reveal different numbers as to what percent of teens have sent or received such messages, "it's happening with church kids just like unchurched kids," says Mandy Crow, editor of EC, a student devotional magazine published by LifeWay. "We talk with teens and student leaders often. We hear this everywhere. ... They seem to think it's flirty or funny. They just don't see the long-term consequences." Church leaders agree thatsexting often comes out of peer pressure or boyfriend/girlfriend insistence, and Crow says it's important for youth leaders and parents to be proactive in dealing with it: "Student leaders need to help parents know what to do and how to talk to their teenagers about sexting. Parents need to be empowered to speak out. The issue isn't going away."

A 'Christ-Centered' Alternative to Girl Scouts

The founder of a faith-based alternative to the Girl Scouts credits God for her organization's continued growth, reports. Patti Garibay started American Heritage Girls in 1995 because she was concerned about the Girl Scouts' philosophies on abortion and sex education, and the group has continued to grow over the years to more than 17,000 members today. "We are a Christ-centered organization for girls, and so we are happy to welcome girls ages five to 18 ... to grow in their knowledge and love of Christ, as well as do some of the very fun scouting activities," Garibay said. "Now we're ready to really grow and to let families all over the country know that there is an organization where you can enjoy the activities of scouting, but still be in line with your family's values." In late 2011 after a Colorado Girl Scout troop allowed a boy to join, three troops at a Louisiana Christian school were motivated to disband; as a result, many parents sought out American Heritage Girls as an alternative.

A Baby to Be Born Every Eight Seconds in Jan. 2012

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the U.S. population hit 312.8 million on New Year's Day, and one person is expected to be born every eight seconds in the United States in Jan. 2012, the Christian Post reports. As immigration is additionally expected to add one person every 46 seconds, is the U.S. headed for overpopulation? When the world's population reached 7 billion on Oct. 31, many expressed concern about poverty and hunger in third-world countries and spoke of the need for family planning and contraception. However, many Christians believe talk of the world becoming overpopulated is overblown. S. Michael Craven of the Center for Christ & Culture said: "The myth of overpopulation ... has been instrumental in legitimizing abortion, forced sterilization, government-subsidized contraception, and, in the most extreme cases, eugenics. In every case these false notions undermine God's commandment to 'multiply' and further serve to undermine the intrinsic value of every human as being made in the image of God."

Publication date: January 3, 2012