Religion Today Summaries - Mar. 25, 2008

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Mar. 25, 2008

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

  • Christians Mark Easter in Jerusalem Despite Violence
  • Internet Co. Suspends Website for Film Critical of Islam
  • Statistics Show Traditional Families on the Rebound
  • Pope Baptizes Prominent Ex-Muslim

Christians Mark Easter in Jerusalem Despite Violence

The Christian Post reports that Christian pilgrims, undeterred by the recent violence in Israel and the Gaza Strip, sang and prayed on Easter Sunday at the church believed to be built on the site where Jesus rose from the dead. Christians from around the world escaped Jerusalem's sweltering heat to worship in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. The outgoing Roman Catholic leader in the Holy Land, Patriarch Michel Sabbah, preached "We need leaders who are ready to offer their lives for the sake of peace, not leaders who issue orders to kill and assassinate and send others to kill or to get killed." Protestants, who venerate a spot outside the Old City known as the Garden Tomb as the site of Jesus' burial, gathered there early Sunday to sing songs "We can say that resurrection day was the happiest day in history," Peter Wells, the site's chaplain, told the crowd.

Internet Co. Suspends Website for Film Critical of Islam reports that a U.S.-based Internet company has pre-emptively suspended access to a Website on which a controversial Dutch lawmaker was planning to post a short film examining links between Islamic terrorism and the Koran. For the past several weeks, anyone typing into their Web browser the URL would have reached only a black screen, an image of the Koran, and the words, "Geert Wilders presents Fitna. Coming Soon." No other pages were accessible. At the weekend, however, the hosting company, Virginia-based Network Solutions, replaced the screen with a message saying it had received "a number of complaints" about the site and had suspended it while investigating whether the "content" violated its acceptable-use policy. Wilders, leader of the right-wing Freedom Party which holds nine of the 150 seats in the Dutch parliament, registered the site late last month ahead of his planned release of a 15-minute film which he said aimed to show how Islam's primary text has been the inspiration in parts of the world for "intolerance, murder and terror."

Statistics Show Traditional Families on the Rebound

OneNewsNow reports that statistics released by the Census Bureau are being acknowledged by many pro-family advocates as a good development for the traditional notion of two-parent families. The Census Bureau's report of 2004 surveys says nearly 62 percent of the nation's 73 million children live with both biological parents. The New York Times reports that the statistics represent a major trend slowdown between 2004 and a previous survey in 1990 versus a dramatic loss in two-parent homes and an increase in single-female parent homes between 1970 and 1990. Mike McManus, co-founder of Marriage Savers, calls the statistics "a good sign" and notes that "more and more marriages are staying together and fewer and fewer children are having [to suffer] these kinds of effects."

Pope Baptizes Prominent Ex-Muslim

According to a Reuters report, a Muslim author and critic of Islamic fundamentalism was baptized a Catholic by Pope Benedict. Magdi Allam said on Sunday that Islam is "physiologically violent" and he is now in great danger because of his conversion. "I realize what I am going up against but I will confront my fate with my head high, with my back straight and the interior strength of one who is certain about his faith," said Allam. In a surprise move on Saturday night, the pope baptized the 55-year-old, Egyptian-born Allam at an Easter eve service in St. Peter's Basilica. The conversion of Allam to Christianity was kept secret until the Vatican disclosed it in a statement less than an hour before it began.