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Religion Today Summaries - Mar. 11, 2008

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Mar. 11, 2008

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

  • Role of Religion in Remaining Primaries
  • New Delhi Christians Protest against Attacks
  • Pakistani Christian Man to be Hanged During Lent
  • Women's Day Makes Little Impact in Saudi Arabia

Role of Religion in Remaining Primaries

The Christian Post reports that even though some of the religious characters in the election process have dropped out, religion will continue to be important in the race as large numbers of Christian voters could be the deciding factor in upcoming contests. With 158 delegates and a large population of white Catholics and mainline Protestants, Pennsylvania is a key state for both democratic candidates on April 22. John Green, senior fellow in Religion and American Politics at the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, and one of the nation’s foremost experts on religion and politics, noted that Hillary Clinton’s good performance among religious voters in Ohio may help her capture another win in Pennsylvania. Meanwhile, presumed GOP nominee Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz) still needs to work on gaining the support of his party’s religious voters. Although McCain won by a large margin both in Texas and Ohio last Tuesday, former Republican candidate Mike Huckabee beat him among white evangelical Protestants in both states.

New Delhi Christians Protest against Attacks

Christians in New Delhi demanded on Sunday that attacks on the community and its places of worship in various parts of the country be stopped immediately, ASSIST News Service reports. The Christians also urged the government to take action against perpetrators of the attacks. The Times of India reported that the demands came from about 200 Christians operating under the auspices of the Roman Catholic Church of New Delhi, as they staged a protest against violence targeting the community in Orissa and other states. “Attacks against Christians by saffron forces have started taking place in Delhi too... We are sad and concerned. We appeal to the Center to rein in the forces responsible for such attacks. The media should also focus on the issue."

Pakistani Christian Man to be Hanged During Lent

According to ASSIST News Service, Pakistani Christians on Friday March 7 staged a protest demonstration after March 12 had been fixed as the date for execution of a Christian man, Zahid Masih, during Lent. Masih was serving in the Pakistan Army as a janitor. His trouble began when he was accused of murdering a 9 year old Muslim boy, Muhammad Adnan. The Sessions court of Peshawar tried Masih and awarded him 14 year rigorous imprisonment in 2005. However, the military court handed him a death sentence on March 10, 2006. Masih was earlier scheduled to be executed on January 30, 2008 but his execution was postponed until February 20, 2008. The Christians of Pakistani city of Multan gathered in front of Press Club Multan and chanted slogans in favour of Masih and against fixing of controversial date for Masih's execution. "Release Zahid Masih, Respect our fasting month (Lent)," shouted the charged Christians who were standing behind a black banner that was emblazoned with slogans in favour of Zahid Masih.

Women's Day Makes Little Impact in Saudi Arabia

As people around the world marked International Women's Day on Saturday, a women's rights advocate in Saudi Arabia did so by breaching a ban on women driving, and then posting a videoclip on the Internet. CNSNews.com reports that elsewhere in the Wahhabist-ruled kingdom, two low-key events were held to discuss women's issues, while at an annual national heritage festival near the capital, organizers enforced a ban on men and women attending the event on the same day. Saudi Arabia is the only country where women are not allowed to drive. They are also not allowed to travel without written permission from a male relative. Other restrictions faced by Saudi women, according to rights groups, include the enforced wearing of a full-body "abaya," a ban on voting or running for office and on mixing with men in public, and a prohibition on studying certain subjects at schools and taking part in school sports. A women's testimony in court also holds half the value of a man's.