Religion Today Summaries - July 14, 2008

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - July 14, 2008

Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:

  • Study: Bible Still Tops "Holy Books" List
  • Awards Totaling Up to $600K to Honor Pro-Life Heroes
  • Pakistan: Girls Kidnapped, Allegedly Forced to Convert
  • Sri Lanka: Christians Bear Brunt of Violence

Study: Bible Still Tops "Holy Books" List

According to a new study by the Barna Group, the Bible still tops the list of books Americans consider "holy texts." Eighty-four percent of the 1,003 person national sample considered the Bible to be sacred literature, while the Koran was second with 4 percent and the Book of Mormon followed with 3 percent. One in 14 who describe themselves as Christian, however, did not consider the Bible to be a sacred literature; that figure increased to two in five among those who do not describe themselves as Christian. Age-differences came into play as well, as only 77 percent of people under age 40 admitted the Bible as holy, compared to 90 percent of those above 40. At least three-quarters of most subgroups of the population named the bible, the exception being Asians (only 54 percent), those associated with non-Christian faith groups (59 percent), atheists and agnostics (30 percent) and those describing themselves as "mostly liberal" on social and political issues (69 percent).

Awards Totaling Up to $600k to Honor Pro-Life Heroes

A pro-life foundation announced plans to recognize key leaders and groups in the pro-life culture by awarding up to $600,000 to them, the Christian Post reports. "Our primary objective is to reward those who are preserving the culture of life through their charitable enterprises or through advocacy programs that defend and preserve the sanctity of human life," says attorney Cathy Ruse, executive director of Life Prize. Up to six individuals or groups will be recognized with the "Norinne A. and Raymond E. Ruddy Memorial Pro-Life Price," awarded by the Gerald Health Foundation. Pro-life leaders have until Aug. 15 to submit nominations. Nominees will be evaluated by their advances in public advocacy, scientific research, outreach and public disclosure activities, legal action or other noteworthy achievements, according to the foundation.

Pakistan: Girls Kidnapped, Allegedly Forced to Convert

Compass Direct News reports that a Christian father in Pakistan is in a legal battle with kidnappers for the custody of his pre-teen daughters, who allegedly have been forced to convert to Islam. Yesterday a judge in Pakistan’s Punjab province ordered further investigation into the kidnapping of Saba Younis, 12, and Aneela Younis, 10, who went missing on June 26 in the small town of Chowk Munda. The kidnappers filed for custody of the girls at the local police house on June 28, stating that the sisters had converted to Islam and their father no longer had jurisdiction over them. When the girls' father, Younis Masih, was summoned to the police house to testify, police initially refused to file a case, telling Masih to “remain silent” as the girls had embraced Islam. Ashfaq Fateh, a Christian advocate who established contact with Masih this week, said that the girls’ Catholic family had not received threats for their faith. He asserted, however, that the kidnapping was a religious matter.

Sri Lanka: Christians Bear Brunt of Violence

Mission News Network reports that Christians in Sri Lanka are having an ever-increasing impact, earning the ire and retaliation of local Buddhist monks, according to Voice of the Martyrs' Canada. Threatened by loss of power as evangelical Christianity grows, local monks have incited militant Buddhists to burn churches and commit physical violence against Christians. On July 3, militants threatened an Assemblies of God church pastor and began to burn his house, although the blaze was put out because it caused significant damage. On July 6, five Buddhist monks disrupted a Calvary Church service in Colombo and threatened to destory all local churches. The pastor and at least five others were beaten and endured serious injuries.