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Religion Today Summaries - November 2, 2011

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - November 2, 2011

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

In today's edition:

  • Coptic Christian Student Killed by Classmates for Wearing Cross
  • Georgia University Faces Criticism for Anti-Homosexuality Pledge
  • Texas Gun Instructor Refuses to Teach Muslims, Comes Under Fire
  • Supreme Court Won't Tackle Roadside Crosses Fight


Coptic Christian Student Killed by Classmates for Wearing Cross

A 17-year-old Coptic Christian student in Mallawi, Egypt, was beaten at school by his teacher and classmates for wearing a cross and later died of his injuries in the hospital, ASSIST News Service reports. When Ayman Nabil Labib, who had a cross tattooed on his wrist per Coptic tradition as well as another cross that he wore under his clothes, was asked by his Arabic teacher to cover up his tattoo, he refused and pulled out his second cross. The teacher and some Muslim students then began beating him and chased him into a bathroom, continuing their assaults. A school supervisor eventually took Labib to his room and called an ambulance, but Labib died about an hour later. The Egyptian media incorrectly portrayed the incident as a non-sectarian altercation between students that got out of control, but eyewitnesses, scared at first to say anything, eventually spoke out, refuting the official story and reporting that Labib was murdered because of his faith. Two Muslim students have been arrested and detained, and investigations are pending. Following Labib's funeral service, more than 5,000 Christians marched in the streets of Mallawi, denouncing his killing as well as the repeated killings of Copts in Egypt.

Georgia University Faces Criticism for Anti-Homosexuality Pledge

Shorter University, a private Christian university in Rome, Ga., is reportedly requiring its 200 employees to sign a statement rejecting pre-marital sex, adultery and homosexuality or risk getting fired, Fox News reports. "Our goal is not to offend people," said Don Dowless, the school's president. "Our goal is to declare who we are. I think that anybody who adheres to a lifestyle that is outside of what the Biblical mandate is ... would not be allowed to continue here." The pledge is legally allowed, Dowless says, because the private university receives no federal funding. Some students have spoken out against the pledge, though they are reportedly not being asked to sign it.

Texas Gun Instructor Refuses to Teach Muslims, Comes Under Fire

On a YouTube clip that has gone viral, Texas handgun instructor Crockett Keller defiantly tells Muslims and non-Christian Arabs he won't teach them how to handle a firearm -- and now his license to teach is at risk, according to CNSNews.com. The ad for Keller's business, which aired on the rural country music station in his hometown of Mason, has come under fire from state officials, who see the ad as possible discrimination and are investigating whether to revoke or suspend his instructor license. "Conduct by an instructor that denied service to individuals on the basis of race, ethnicity or religion would place that instructor's certification ... at risk," the Texas Department of Public Safety said. The Texas Council on American-Islamic Relations has also decried the ad as "ugly rhetoric," and Keller has received alleged death threats, but he has also won over some fans: "It's mighty dadgum interesting to be that some people can say anything they want, and you make a statement and they bring down the house on you," said rancher Clyde McCarley, who expressed interest in signing up for Keller's class.

Supreme Court Won't Tackle Roadside Crosses Fight

The Supreme Court announced Monday that it won't reopen a case in which a lower court ruled that highway crosses memorializing Utah state troopers were unconstitutional, reports the Religion News Service. Dave Silverman, president of American Atheists, who filed the suit in 2005 after the Utah Highway Patrol Association erected 12-foot white crosses to honor fallen officers, said he hoped the court's decision would bring the case to an end and lead to an alternative way of honoring troopers who died in the line of duty. However, the conservative Alliance Defense Fund, who asked the Supreme Court to consider the case, was disappointed. "Justice is not well-served when unhappy atheists can use the law to mow down memorial crosses and renew the suffering for the survivors," said ADF senior counsel Byron Babione. Justice Clarence Thomas, the lone dissenter, also harshly criticized the court's decision, saying it rejected "an opportunity to provide clarity" to an area of law that was "in shambles."

Publication date: November 2, 2011