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Religion Today Summaries - March 9, 2011

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - March 9, 2011

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

In today's edition:

  • One Year after Massacre in Nigeria, Little Change
  • In Today's Hymnals, Just 27 Songs Endure for a Century
  • Court Won't Hear Challenge to 'In God We Trust'
  • Atheist to Present BBC's New Bible Series


One Year after Massacre in Nigeria, Little Change

Women and children continue to be the target of violent attacks a year after the massacre of more than 400 Christians in three villages in central Nigeria. Christian Solidarity Worldwide reports that armed Fulani men, traditionally Muslim, attacked Dogo Nahauwa, Zot and Ratsat on March 7, 2010. On that occasion, CSW said, the army was slow to respond with assistance, leading some victims to question their commitment to tackling the violence. Unfortunately, confidence in the security services has continued to plummet as attacks regularly occur in villages within close proximity to military outposts. This year alone, CSW said, violent night-time attacks on villages and university and college campuses in Plateau State have left over 50 people dead.

In Today's Hymnals, Just 27 Songs Endure for a Century

Twenty-eight different hymnals have endured in Protestant circles since the late 1800s, and include almost 5,000 different hymns. But research by Robert T. Coote, senior contributing editor of the International Bulletin of Missionary Research, shows that only a few hymns have endured that long. Christianity Today reports that only 13 hymns appear in all 28 hymnals, as well as 9 others that appear in 27 of the 28 hymnals, and 5 more that appear in 26 of the 28 hymnals. The average date of the top tier of hymns is 1788. However, even these enduring hymns are fairly "new," as the practice of singing the Pslams was far more popular until the mid-19th century. The list includes "All Hail the Power of Jesus' Name," "Holy, Holy, Holy" and "When I Survey the Wondrous Cross."

Court Won't Hear Challenge to 'In God We Trust'

The United States Supreme Court has declined to hear atheist Michael Newdow's latest challenge to the nation's "In God We Trust" references. The Associated Press reports that the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco upheld the use of the phrase, saying it was ceremonial and "had nothing whatsoever to do with the establishment of religion." Newdow, who previously contested the "so help me God" found in the presidential oath of office as well as the "under God" reference from the Pledge of Allegiance used in public schools, claimed the references to God violate the Constitution as an establishment of religion.

Atheist to Present BBC's New Bible Series

Christian Today reports that BBC has tapped Dr. Francesca Stavrakopoulou, an atheist, to host its new series, "In The Bible's Buried Secrets." The series will focus on recent archaeological discoveries that may impact people's understanding of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. In an interview with the Radio Times, Stavrakopoulou said she did not think the Bible could be used as a reliable historical source and said that as an academic “you leave your faith at the door." Even as an atheist, however, she said the Bible is still important. “The Bible is a work of religious and social literature that has a huge impact on Western culture, and for that reason it’s important that programs like these are made.”