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Religion Today Summaries - May 4, 2010

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - May 4, 2010

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

In today's edition:

  • British Judge: Christian Beliefs Have No Legal Standing
  • Bombs Hit School Buses in North Iraq, Injure 70
  • Egypt: Christians Protest Christmas Eve Massacre Trial
  • Buddhist Extremists Drive Christians from Village in Bangladesh

British Judge: Christian Beliefs Have No Legal Standing

Religion News Service reports that a top British judge has ruled that Christian beliefs have no standing under secular law because they lack evidence and cannot be proven. Lord Justice John Grant McKenzie Laws made the declaration on Thursday (April 29) in throwing out a defamation suit by Christian relationship counselor who refused to offer sex therapy to gay couples. Gary McFarlane protested that he was fired because offering sex therapy to same-gender couples violates his Christian principles. But Laws said "religious faith is necessarily subjective, being incommunicable by any kind of proof or evidence." He added that to use the law to protect "a position held purely on religious grounds cannot therefore be justified." No religious belief, said the judge, can be protected under the law "however long its tradition, however rich its culture."

Bombs Hit School Buses in North Iraq, Injure 70

New York Times reports that a convoy of college buses, filled with mostly Christian students, was attacked near Mosul on Sunday. At least 70 students were injured, some of them severely, and a nearby store owner was killed in one of the two roadside blasts. "We were going for our education and they presented us with bombs," said Jamil Salahuddin Jamil, 25, a sophomore geography major at Mosul University, who was on board the lead bus. "I still do not know what they want from Christians." The students were returning from the semiautonomous Kurdistan region and were passing through a checkpoint when a car bomb detonated. A roadside bomb exploded shortly afterwards. The convoy was accompanied by Iraqi forces because of the tense situation surrounding Mosul and outlying areas.

Egypt: Christians Protest Christmas Eve Massacre Trial

ASSIST News Service reports that nearly 2,000 Coptic Christians staged a sit-in on April 28 inside the grounds of St. Marks Cathedral in Cairo. The group protested against what they termed as the "procrastination of the judiciary in the Nag Hammadi Christmas Eve Massacre case." Many fear the case will have the same fate as previous cases in which Muslim killers were ultimately acquitted. Many observers believe the accused killer Mohamad el-Kamouny was only an object and that the government is shielding high ranking members in the National Democratic Party who are behind the massacre. Media sources, including Egyptian and Arab TV channels, were allegedly prevented from attending the demonstration by the state security and the Cathedral guards, but two reporters managed to slip in. The Christmas Eve shooting killed seven people, six of them Copts.

Buddhist Extremists Drive Christians from Village in Bangladesh

Compass Direct News reports that four Christian families in southeastern Bangladesh left their village May 2 under mounting pressure by Buddhist extremists to give up their faith in Christ. Sources said that 20 to 25 Buddhists brandishing sticks and bamboo clubs in Jamindhonpara village, southeast of Dhaka, began patrolling streets on April 30. They reportedly meant to keep the 11 members of the Lotiban Baptist Church from gathering for their weekly prayer meetings. On May 1, the extremists captured four men and beat one woman who had gathered in a home, threatening to kill them if they did not become Buddhists within 24 hours. More attacks on the church and church members continued. After Sunday's attacks, all Christians in Jamindhonpara fled, taking shelter in another village.