Religion Today Summaries - November 15, 2011

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - November 15, 2011

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

In today's edition:

  • Nigeria: Violence in Yobe State Aimed Mainly at Christians
  • Arab Christians, Minorities Reshaping U.S. Enclaves
  • Fifth Abortion Clinic Worker Pleads Guilty to Murder
  • More Evidence Against Kansas Planned Parenthood Lost


Nigeria: Violence in Yobe State Aimed Mainly at Christians

Of the 150 Nigerians that were killed Nov. 4 when the Islamic extremist group Boko Haram stormed Damaturu, the capital of Yobe State, 130 were Christians, Compass Direct News reports. Hundreds of people are still missing, and the destruction during the four-hour rampage included the bombing of at least 10 church buildings. More than 200 Boko Haram members blocked all four major highways leading into town, dislodged security agencies after a series of gun battles and the detonation of explosives, then led other area Muslims to the only Christian area of town, called New Jerusalem, which is home to more than 15,000 Christians. Any Christian who could not recite the Islamic creed was instantly killed. "The trauma my 10-year-old son had as a result of sounds from guns and explosions has not left him, as he has refused to eat ever since the attack," said the Rev. Idris Garba, pastor of a 500-member church in New Jerusalem. "We could not have had more than 100 worshipers on the Sunday after the attack. Most Christians are either missing or have left the town." Bomb blasts the previous day (Nov. 3) in Maiduguri, Borno State, about 80 miles east, killed four people, with one of the explosions coming from a triple suicide bombing of a military base.

Arab Christians, Minorities Reshaping U.S. Enclaves

Arab Christians and religious minorities from the Middle East, fleeing war and persecution by Muslim extremists, are taking refuge in small communities all across the United States, reports In New Mexico, Jordanian immigrants attend an Arabic-language mass; in Massachusetts, Iraqi refugees hold baptisms in a pond; in West Virginia, Lebanese-Americans have helped raise nearly $2 million for church renovations. The immigrants are bringing war-torn families back together, reviving dormant churches and praying collectively in Aramaic, the language spoken by Jesus. As persecution continues to increase in the Middle East and the number of religious minorities slowly dwindles, religious leaders expect more and more refugees to seek safety in the U.S.

Fifth Abortion Clinic Worker Pleads Guilty to Murder

Facing up to 200 years in prison, Lynda Williams, a former employee of a West Philadelphia abortion clinic, pleaded guilty Nov. 9 to two counts of murder in exchange for a lesser sentence and her testimony against her boss, Kermit Gosnell, WORLD News Service reports. Williams, the fifth person to plead guilty out of 10 employees charged, admitted killing a viable newborn baby with a pair of scissors and participating in an abortion that ended with a woman being drugged to death in 2009. Maria Vitale of the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation said the ongoing court cases against the clinic workers were adding fuel to SB 732, a state bill seeking to impose regulations on abortion clinics statewide, which was drafted in response to the conditions federal drug agents found at Gosnell's clinic during a raid last year. Gosnell's clinic had not been inspected in 17 years, and federal agents got involved when word spread that he was illegally distributing prescription drugs through the clinic. SB 732 has passed the state Senate and is now pending in the House of Representatives; legislators expect to have it on the governor's desk by the end of the year.

More Evidence Against Kansas Planned Parenthood Lost

A potential political scandal in Kansas grew wider last week as Johnson County District Attorney Stephen Howe revealed that a former state attorney in 2009 destroyed copies of records important to the prosecution of abortion provider Planned Parenthood, WORLD News Service reports. The documents were copies of records that the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) had destroyed in 2005 in what it called a "routine" shredding, and Howe said the legal hurdles were "insurmountable" to prosecute Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri on 23 felony counts of forging client records and 26 misdemeanor counts. The revelations came more than two weeks after Howe had asked the court for more time to gather evidence after learning of the KDHE's 2005 shredding of records related to the case. In seeking to gather more evidence, Howe learned that former Kansas Attorney General Steve Six, a Democrat appointed by then-Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, had destroyed copies of those records in 2009. Howe suggested Six's destruction of the copies might have violated the state's records retention policy, and an investigation is expected. Mary Kay Culp of Kansans for Life called on the Kansas legislature to review the entire case: "Guilty people destroy evidence," she said. "Really guilty people destroy evidence twice."

Publication date: November 15, 2011