Religion Today Summaries - March 9, 2012

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - March 9, 2012

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

In today's edition:

  • Virginia Joins Six States in Requiring Ultrasound Before Abortion
  • Father of Slain U.S. Teacher Forgives Iraqi Shooter
  • Syrian Christians Worry About Life After Bashar Assad
  • Pro-Life Youth Arrested for Distributing Literature on Public Sidewalk


Virginia Joins Six States in Requiring Ultrasound Before Abortion

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell on Wednesday signed into law a bill requiring women to obtain an ultrasound before having an abortion, making Virginia the seventh state to adopt such a law, the Christian Post reports. The bill exempts women who were raped or victims of incest, if the incident was reported to police. Pro-abortion advocates called the bill "state-required rape," but pro-life advocates applauded it as a "gold standard" in medical care. "Abortion advocates have engaged in a vicious campaign of misinformation against a proposal that would require a life-saving ultrasound test before giving women an abortion-inducing drug or an abortion procedure," said Dr. Charmaine Yoest, CEO of Americans United for Life. "It [is] particularly egregious that abortion advocates fought to prevent women from having all the medical information they need for informed consent."

Father of Slain U.S. Teacher Forgives Iraqi Shooter

The father of Jeremiah Small, an American gym teacher shot by one of his students at a private Christian school in Iraq, says he has forgiven his son's killer, CBN News reports. "We do not have any hatred for the family of the student who killed our son," said Dan Small, who traveled from Washington state to Iraq for his son's burial. Jeremiah was killed last week by Biyar Sarwar, 18, during a classroom dispute before Sarwar turned the gun on himself. At the funeral, Sarwar's father apologized to Small's family. "The shooting was a painful thing to us also," Rashid Sarwar said. Jeremiah, a devout Christian, had taught at Medes School since 2005, and his students said he prayed in front of them regularly. The student body is 95 percent Muslim, but authorities said the shooting was not motivated by religion.

Syrian Christians Worry About Life After Bashar Assad

The Los Angeles Times reports that Syrian Christians fear a civil war and sectarian violence if President Bashar Assad is ousted from office after an increasingly bloody, nearly year-long uprising against his regime. Despite Assad's autocratic rule, he portrayed himself as a defender of the nation's religious minorities, and Christians enjoyed a certain sense of security under his government. "If the regime goes, you can forget about Christians in Syria," said George, a 37-year-old Syrian dentist who withheld his last name for security reasons. "Look what happened to the Christians of Iraq. They had to flee everywhere, while most of the churches were attacked and bombed." The rise of Islamist parties in post-revolutionary Egypt and Tunisia has also fueled the fear of Syrians. "Of course the 'Arab Spring' is an Islamist movement," George said. "It's full of extremists. They want to destroy our country, and they call it a 'revolution.'" Syrian Christians make up just 10 percent of the country's population of 22 million.

Pro-Life Youth Arrested for Distributing Literature on Public Sidewalk

Two college-age members of the pro-life organization Survivors Campus Life Tour were arrested March 6 outside Murrah High School in Jackson, Miss., while distributing literature to students on a public sidewalk in front of the campus, the Christian Newswire reports. The group of pro-life youth activists first attempted on March 5 to hold signs and talk to students on the sidewalk, but school police confronted them, moved their signs across the street, sequestered students back inside school grounds and ordered students not to speak to the demonstrators. The police said the sidewalk belonged to the school -- though it was being used at the same time by passersby and joggers -- and that they had the right to remove the Campus Life team. After conferring with attorneys from the Life Legal Defense Fund, the activists returned to the sidewalk the next day, and when police ordered them to leave or go to jail, Kristina Garza and Brianna Baxter remained and were immediately arrested. The Life Legal Defense Foundation is working to defend the young women, vowing that "everyone involved in the miscarriage of justice will be held accountable for their misdeeds."

Publication date: March 9, 2012