Religion Today Summaries - Mar. 1, 2010

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Mar. 1, 2010

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

  • Dobson Delivers Final Broadcast for Focus on Family
  • 40,000 Haitians Profess Faith in Christ since Earthquake
  • Pakistani Christian Sentenced to Life for 'Blasphemy'
  • European Court Censures Turkey over Religious ID

Dobson Delivers Final Broadcast for Focus on Family

The Associated Press reports that Christian radio broadcaster James Dobson officially left the radio program he began on Friday. Dobson founded of Focus on the Family 33 years ago and has helmed the ministry giant until last year, when he said the ministry needed time to adjust to new leadership. "I have a lump in my throat, but God's in control," Dobson told listeners on his last program. He will begin a new radio show, "Family Talk with James Dobson" later this spring. "I'm not setting out to construct some magnificent organization like, frankly, this one is," he said. "But I also do not believe the Lord is done using my voice in the culture and speaking to parents." Dobson and others brought strong Christian morals to the public arena, becoming staunch advocates for pro-life, traditional marriage and other policy measures. 

40,000 Haitians Profess Faith in Christ since Earthquake

Baptist Press reports that 40,127 Haitians have made professions of faith in Jesus Christ since a massive earthquake hit the country Jan. 12, according Confraternite Missionaire Baptiste d'Haiti. "Haiti is ripe for a spiritual movement from God," said Craig Culbreth, director of the Florida Baptist Convention's partnership missions department, which coordinates the work of the CMBH. During a Feb. 16-17 citywide holiday observance in Cap Haitien, Haiti's second largest city, Culbreth saw "thousands upon thousands filling the streets where people are seeking God and asking Him to spare them from what happened in Port-au-Prince. For me, it was a New Testament expression of what it looks like when the Spirit of God shows up. I have never seen anything like it." Since the earthquake, the CMBH pastors have distributed 51 tons of rice, which provided 437,750 servings to Haitians in Port-au-Prince and outlying areas where refugees have fled. Additional feedings are expected.

Pakistani Christian Sentenced to Life for 'Blasphemy'

Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) reports that a Pakistani Christian from Lahore was sentenced to life imprisonment for blasphemy against the Prophet Mohammed on Thursday. Qamar David has been in prison awaiting a verdict since 2006, after being refused bail. During that time both David and his lawyer, Parvez Choudhry, were regularly subjected to assassination attempts and threats of violence from abusive mobs. Once source close to David says that his case's facts, evidence and law have been in his favor, and an accused Muslim in a parallel case was fully acquitted on the same facts. Speaking on condition of anonymity, the source described the final judgment as "biased and prejudiced," and believes that external pressure on the court may have played a part in distorting the outcome.

European Court Censures Turkey over Religious ID

Religion News Service reports that a European human rights court has condemned Turkey for requiring citizens to specify their religious status on national identity cards. "This is in breach of the state's duty of neutrality and impartiality, since it leads the State to make an assessment of the applicant's faith," the European Court of Human Rights said in a ruling issued on Feb. 2. "Freedom to manifest one's religion or beliefs has a negative aspect—namely, an individual's right not to be obliged to disclose his or her religion, or to act in a manner that might enable conclusions to be drawn as to whether he or she holds such beliefs." The case was taken to the court in Strasbourg, France, in 2005 by Sinan Isik, a member of Turkey's Alevi community, after local courts refused to allow him to remove the "Muslim" tag from his national identity document.