Religion Today Summaries - June 15, 2011

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - June 15, 2011

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

In today's edition:

  • As Independence Nears, Violence Increases in Sudan
  • Nigeria Detains Alleged Militants Who Killed Pastor
  • Indonesian Cleric Gets One-Year Sentence for Church Attacks
  • Evangelicals Wade into Circumcision Debate


As Independence Nears, Violence Increases in Sudan

As southern Sudan nears the day it becomes the world's newest country, its residents are increasingly under attack from northern Sudanese forces. According to Christianity Today, the situation in remote areas of southern Sudan has significantly deteriorated in the past week. Northern forces have terrorized civilians in the oil-rich border town of Abyei, and officials within the country allege that the North’s government has gunned down even mothers and children. “The United States must intervene and stop the ethnic cleansing of the Nuba that is taking place right now in the Nuba Mountains [in Sudan],” wrote Faith McDonnell, director of the Institute on Religion and Democracy’s Religious Liberty Program and Church Alliance for a New Sudan in a recent statement. “What Khartoum is doing right now makes the situations in Libya, Egypt, and even Syria pale by comparison... Our friends are being slaughtered.”

Nigeria Detains Alleged Militants Who Killed Pastor

Worthy News reports that police in northern Nigeria have detained the men who allegedly killed a pastor, his assistant and at least 10 other people. "We have made 14 arrests of suspected members of the outlawed Boko Haram sect in connection with [the Tuesday, June 7] attacks," Borno state police spokesman Lawal Abdullahi said. Pastor David Usman and church secretary Hamman Andrew of the Church of Christ in Nigeria in the troubled city of Maiduguri were among the latest casualties in what local Christians called "an upsurge of Islamic militancy" in the area. Evangelical Christians said the two men were shot and killed by members of the Boko Haram sect near an area of Maidugurim, known as Railway Quarters, where their church is based. The same gunmen allegedly participated in blasts several hours earlier that killed at least 10 and badly damaged a Catholic church.

Indonesian Cleric Gets One-Year Sentence for Church Attacks

An Indonesian court sided with religious minorities and moderates on Tuesday when it sentenced an Islamic cleric to one year in prison. According to the Jakarta Globe, Syihabudin was convicted up inciting a mob of 1,500 Muslims in February. That mob torched two churched and ransacked a third, as well as setting fire to a police vehicle and attacking officers with stones. “I’m not here because I’m a thief, I’m here because I’m a defender of the religion. Please don’t take this verdict as something bad,” Syihabudin said. At least 24 other Muslims have been sentenced in connection with the violence and destruction of property.

Evangelicals Wade into Circumcision Debate

The National Association of Evangelicals is siding with Jews and Muslims in opposition of a proposed ban on infant male circumcision in San Francisco. "Jews, Muslims, and Christians all trace our spiritual heritage back to Abraham. Biblical circumcision begins with Abraham," NAE President Leith Anderson said in a statement. "No American government should restrict this historic tradition. Essential religious liberties are at stake." Religion News Service reports that the proposed ban, which does not include a religious exemption, would prevent circumcision of male children in San Francisco. If passed, circumcisions would be considered a misdemeanor that could carry a fine of up to $1,000 or a year in jail. The NAE said the proposal violates the First Amendment's clause protecting the free exercise of religion.