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Religion Today Summaries - January 5, 2012

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - January 5, 2012

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

In today's edition:

  • Nigeria Deploys Troops to Aid Christians, Experts Fear Civil War
  • Ministry Warns Iran Could Kill Imprisoned Pastor in Secret
  • Planned Parenthood's Annual Report: 329,455 Abortions, $487.4M in Tax Dollars
  • Canada to Create Office of Religious Freedom


Nigeria Deploys Troops to Aid Christians, Experts Fear Civil War

The Nigerian government has deployed troops to several cities in the northern part of the country after a series of deadly attacks from the Islamist militant group Boko Haram and threats toward Christians to flee the area, the Christian Post reports. Two platoons were sent to Plateau and Borno states to combat the increasing number of Boko Haram attacks, just days after Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan declared a state of emergency there. Officials are questioning the seriousness of the ultimatum Boko Haram gave Christians on Monday to leave the area within three days; Christian leaders have encouraged Christians to remain in the area, but many fear Boko Haram plans to bring its threats to reality. "The strategy by [Boko Haram] is to simply draw the larger Muslim and Christian population into a civil war," said Shehu Sani, president of the Civil Rights Congress.

Ministry Warns Iran Could Kill Imprisoned Pastor in Secret

Yousef Nadarkhani, the Iranian pastor facing a death sentence for refusing to renounce his Christian faith, could spend another year in jail as he waits for an appeal on his death sentence, and prison officials continue to pressure him to convert to Islam. Present Truth Ministries, which has followed Nadarkhani's case for two years, said in December that Nadarkhani's lawyer had asked the judge to delay the verdict and keep him in prison for another year, CBN News reports. Jason DeMars of Present Truth Ministries said the delay was meant to let the case "slip away from international attention" as authorities continue to "use whatever means necessary to cause him to convert to Islam." DeMars added: "There are no assurances that he will not be executed. It could happen at any time. This is the way that the Iranian government operates with executions. They do not give advance notice, and it is done in secret."

Planned Parenthood's Annual Report: 329,455 Abortions, $487.4M in Tax Dollars

According to its latest annual report, the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) received $487.4 million in tax dollars over a 12-month period and performed 329,455 abortions, CNSNews.com reports. When compared with previous annual reports, this one -- which covers the period from July 1, 2009 to June 30, 2010 -- shows an almost steady increase in the number of abortions performed at its clinics. It also shows a continued decline in the number of adoption referrals made by the organization -- in fiscal year 2010, only 841 adoption referrals were reported. "With over a billion in net assets and a business model centered on abortion and government subsidies, it is time for Planned Parenthood to end its reliance on taxpayer dollars," said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of pro-life lobbying organization The Susan B. Anthony List.

Canada to Create Office of Religious Freedom

Canada's government is preparing to install an Office of Religious Freedom within the Department of Foreign Affairs, according to The Globe and Mail. The new office, a campaign promise by Canada's Conservative Party, is expected to be fleshed out in early 2012. Conservative Party leaders say they are committed to making the defense of the right to worship a central objective of Canada's foreign policy, noting that religious persecution has increased around the world in recent years. Their decision to create the office was solidified by the assassination of Pakistani religious freedom activist Shahbaz Bhatti, Pakistan's first minister for minority affairs and the only Christian in the Islamic state's cabinet. Bhatti was killed by militant Islamists just weeks after meeting with Canada's prime minister, and Conservatives said they were impressed by his persistence in fighting religious intolerance amid death threats as well as deeply affected by the reality of such persecution.

Publication date: January 5, 2012