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Religion Today Summaries - June 14, 2010

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - June 14, 2010

Daily briefs of the top Christian news and persecution stories impacting believers around the world.

In today's edition:

  • Va. Supreme Court Sides with Episcopal Church
  • Muslim Employer Holds Pakistani Christian Family Captive
  • Jesus Ultrasound Poster Fuels U.K. Abortion Uproar
  • Defense Bill Would Allow Military Abortions

Va. Supreme Court Sides with Episcopal Church

Religion News Service reports that Virginia's Supreme Court sided with the Episcopal Church on June 10 in its dispute with breakaway conservatives over historic and valuable parish property. The ruling overturned a lower court's decision, which had ruled in favor of nine Virginia congregations that broke with the Episcopal Church in 2006 and 2007 over disagreements on homosexuality and the Bible. The matter is far from settled, however, as the case was remanded to the lower court to decide complex questions of who owns the church buildings. The conservatives have remained on the property, which has been valued in the millions, while the court battle continues. After quitting the Episcopal Church several years ago, the nine congregations looked for help overseas, joining the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA), which is part of the Anglican Church of Nigeria.

Muslim Employer Holds Pakistani Christian Family Captive

ASSIST News Service reports that Pakistani police have freed a family of Christian workers from a brick kiln, where their employer allegedly held them hostage for a year. Asghar Masih, Rehana Bibi and their three children were freed on June 2 after Asghar escaped and informed police, who raided the kiln and arrested owner Muhammad Nawaz. Nawaz allegedly raped Rehana and her eldest daughter repeatedly during the imprisonment. He and others also reportedly tortured and chained the victims to prevent them from escaping. In Pakistan, according to International Christian Concern, brick kiln owners keep workers hostages if they don't pay their loans. Muhammad Mujahid, a brick kiln worker and eyewitness, corroborated that the Christian family was kept as a hostage for more than a year. However, Mujahid said that the family didn't owe any debt money to Nawaz.

Jesus Ultrasound Poster Fuels U.K. Abortion Uproar

Christmas controversy arrived in early in Britain this month when ChurchAds.Net revealed its "Baby-Scan Jesus" poster for the 2010 holiday season, according to The Christian Post. The unveiled poster, which pictures an ultrasound of an unborn Jesus with a halo, follows the recent airing of TV ads for abortion services. ChurchAd.Net creators say the poster is only meant to spark conversation about Christmas with its text of "He's on His Way: Christmas starts with Christ."  Critics say the ad is about more than Christmas. "It gives the impression that it was politically motivated, that they are trying to put across some sort of subliminal message," said Terry Sanderson, director of the National Secular Society, according to U.K.-based The Guardian. "The image is too specifically associated with pro-lifers to be seen in a benign context."

Defense Bill Would Allow Military Abortions

Baptist Press reports that abortion rights advocates in the Senate are seeking to overturn a longstanding ban on abortions in military facilities. The Senate Armed Services Committee passed an amendment to repeal the prohibition as part of the National Defense Authorization Act for 2011. The amendment, sponsored by Democratic Sen. Roland Burris of Illinois, would eliminate a ban on elective privately funded abortions in military health care facilities that has been in place for the last 14 years. Burris' proposal would not affect the prohibition that exists on publicly funded abortions at armed services hospitals. The ban, in place since the Reagan administration, was repealed and then reinstated under the Clinton administration and has been in effect since then.