Religion Today Summaries - July 12, 2011

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - July 12, 2011

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

In today's edition:

  • Attack on Christian Mission Kills Three in Nigeria
  • Poll: 3 in 10 Americans Believe the Bible Word for Word
  • Rights of Pakistan’s Sanitation Workers Swept Aside
  • Pakistan: Asia Bibi Case Still on Hold


Attack on Christian Mission Kills Three in Nigeria

Christian Solidarity Worldwide reports that three Christians in Nigeria were killed in a church blast on July 7, and three others critically injured. The Selujah church is situated close to the Nigerian capital, Abuja. The area may have been picked as a softer target, since security in the capital has been tightened and a curfew is in place there. Although no group has claimed responsibility for the blast, the attack follows unconfirmed reports of a message issued by the militant Islamist group Boko Haram warning Nigerians to avoid Christians, security agents, and government institutions and functions, or risk death. Over the weekend the north-eastern city of Maiduguri suffered a further upsurge in violence, which one resident described as “hell let loose." Multiple explosions hit the area on Saturday, and police executed multiple young men deemed possible members of Boko Haram.

Poll: 3 in 10 Americans Believe the Bible Word for Word

A recent Gallup poll shows that just three in 10 Americans believe the Bible should be interpreted literally. Another 47 percent of Americans believe the Bible is inspired but not always literal, while 19 percent agreed the Bible is merely "ancient fables, history, and legends record by man." The poll found that people who attend church weekly are more than twice as likely to believe in a literal interpretation of historic accounts and narratives (54 percent) as those who attend less often. Gallup polls have tracked whether Americans take the Bible literally for the past 40 years, falling from an average of 38 percent in 1976 to 31 percent today.

Rights of Pakistan’s Sanitation Workers Swept Aside

Compass Direct News reports that one Christian sanitation worker in Lahore, Pakistan, is dead after he allegedly did not follow a shopkeeper's command. Abbas Masih, 36, was murdered on May 21 for not picking up trash quickly enough. Another worker has been suspended and criminal charges filed against him. Anayat Masih Sahotra, a city sanitation worker for 24 years, said he is facing baseless charges of forgery and fraud from his employers because of his work as a labor leader for area sweepers, who are nearly all Christians. He was suspended and charged on May 14 after he asked the city to fulfill its promise to give full benefits to regular employees. Contempt for sweepers is rooted deeply in cultural history in Pakistan, the result of a merging of Brahmanic Hinduism’s ritual impurity with Islamic ceremonial uncleanness in regard to sweepers.

Pakistan: Asia Bibi Case Still on Hold

ASSIST News Service reports that the case of Asia Bibi, the Pakistani Christian mother who has been sentenced to death for alleged blasphemy, is still on hold. Her family remains hopeful despite months of delay. Pakistani judges "do not appear in a hurry to add her case to their agenda," according to Spero News, as the case generated significant danger for those who support Bibi. The Christian woman’s attorney, S.K. Chaudhry, filed again for an appeal after four judges were suddenly replaced on Tuesday. “Our hope is for the High Court to appoint a judge,” the lawyer said, who had filed an appeal in January against her death sentence for blasphemy, alleging that the original evidence presented in court was false.