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Religion Today Summaries - January 31, 2012

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - January 31, 2012

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

In today's edition:

  • 'Father' and 'Son' Ousted From Trinity in New Bible Translations
  • Court Says Student's Faith May Have Led to Expulsion
  • Egypt: 3,000 Muslims Attack Christian Homes and Shops
  • 'Courageous' Hits No. 1 in Nationwide DVD Sales


'Father' and 'Son' Ousted From Trinity in New Bible Translations

A decision by three major Christian organizations to remove the words "Father" and "Son" from new Arabic Bible versions because the terms are "offensive to Muslims" is stirring a controversy among critics, according to Yahoo! News. Wycliffe Bible Translators, Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL) and Frontiers are coming under fire for various translations in which "Father" and "Son" are replaced with the Arabic equivalents of "Lord" and "Messiah," or in which "Father" is replaced with "Allah." The organizations argue that in certain cultures, the literal translation could "communicate an incorrect meaning," but many church leaders in Arab countries, as well as experts in Christian-Muslim relations, say such a change is unnecessary. "This translation is an 'all-American idea' with absolutely no respect for the sacredness of Scripture, or even of the growing Turkish church," said Turkish church leader Rev. Fikret Böcek. "We do not have the right as human beings to do that kind of manipulation to the text," said Dr. Paul M. Elliott of Teaching The Word Ministries. Nationwide, Christian leaders, missionaries, Bible translators and pastors have started a public petition to implore that the organizations stop producing such translations.

Court Says Student's Faith May Have Led to Expulsion

A federal appeals court ruled last week that a counseling student who declined to advise a gay client might have been expelled from her university because of her faith, the Religion News Service reports. When Eastern Michigan University graduate student Julea Ward was assigned a client who sought counseling on a same-sex relationship, she cited her Christian faith in requesting that the client be referred to another counselor. After refusing to undergo a "remediation" program, Ward was expelled. A lower court sided with the university, but Ward appealed, saying the school had violated her First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and free exercise of religion. On Jan. 27, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed that Ward could have a valid claim, and sent the case back to a district court for another hearing. "A reasonable jury could conclude that Ward's professors ejected her from the counseling program because of hostility toward her speech and faith, not due to a policy against referrals," the appeals court ruled.

Egypt: 3,000 Muslims Attack Christian Homes and Shops

A mob of more than 3,000 Muslims looted and torched Coptic-owned homes and shops in the village of Kobry-el-Sharbat, Alexandria, Egypt, leaving two Copts and one Muslim injured, ASSIST News Service reports. The violence began after a rumor spread that a Coptic man had an allegedly intimate photo of a Muslim woman on his cell phone; he surrendered to the police for his protection, but the mob stormed his house, the houses of his neighbors and a number of nearby businesses. According to eyewitnesses, the attackers were bearded men in white gowns -- some Salafists and some from the Muslim Brotherhood -- and security forces took an hour to respond. "This happens every time," said Coptic activist Mariam Ragy. "They wait outside the village until the Muslims have had enough violence, then they appear." Mina Girguis of the Maspero Youth Union said he believed the reason for the violence was fabricated by the military: "They are trying to divert the attention from the second revolution which is taking place now," he said.

'Courageous' Hits No. 1 in Nationwide DVD Sales

The church-made film "Courageous," which follows the story of four police officers as they strive to become better fathers, surprised critics once again by becoming the No. 1-selling DVD nationwide for the week ending Jan. 22, Baptist Press reports. Made by Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Ga., for a budget of just $1 million, "Courageous" surpassed DVD sales of several movies with much larger budgets, including "Ides of March," "Abduction" and "Moneyball." In addition to grossing $34.3 million in theaters, it was the top-grossing film in the box office its opening weekend and was No. 1 in per-theater average. Each film made by Sherwood Baptist -- including "Fireproof" (2008) and "Facing the Giants" (2006) -- has grossed more than its predecessor.

Publication date: January 31, 2012