Religion Today Summaries - Oct. 15, 2008

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Oct. 15, 2008

Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:

  • Pakistan: Taliban Bombs Catholic Girls' School
  • Pope Condemns Persecution in India, Iraq
  • McCain, Obama Supporters Clash on Poverty
  • Polls Shift in Favor of Cali. Proposition 8

Pakistan: Taliban Bombs Catholic Girls' School

Compass Direct News reports that Taliban militants bombed a Catholic-run girls’ school in Pakistan’s war-torn Swat Valley as part of a larger effort to subvert women’s status in society through Islamic law, locals say. On Wednesday (Oct. 8) the Islamic terrorist group bombed the Convent Girls’ School in Sangota, run by the Presentation Sisters, a Catholic religious order that has opened girls’ schools around the world. Militants have threatened the school frequently for offering education to females. No one was injured in the attack. The school had closed a few months earlier due to deteriorating security in Swat, a source told Compass. Students and faculty left in July following threats. “The Taliban said, ‘We have asked you so many times to close down the school but you are not listening. We are going to set it on fire,’” said Yousef Benjamin, a Lahore-based peace activist. The high school enrolled approximately 1,000 female students, nearly 95 percent of them Muslim.

Pope Condemns Persecution in India, Iraq

Pope Benedict XVI has spoken in condemnation against the violence of Christians in India and Iraq, ASSIST News Service reported. "I invite you to pray for peace and reconciliation as situations cause concern and great suffering... I think of violence against Christians in India and Iraq," he told the crowds gathered in St. Peter's Square, after a ceremony canonizing Sister Alfonsa, an Indian saint who died in 1946. In Iraq, the government reported having dispatched 1,000 police to the northern city of Mosul on Sunday, in order to protect Christians who have become the target of the worst violence perpetrated against their community in five years, according to The Times of India. Nearly 1,000 Christian families have fled homes in the city since Friday after 13 were killed in the previous two weeks.

McCain, Obama Supporters Clash on Poverty

OneNewsNow reports that a new poll shows how strong supporters of John McCain and Barack Obama sharply differ over what the next president's priorities should be. Compassion International found that among McCain supporters, 80 percent believed fighting terrorism was a higher priority than fighting global poverty, while only 30 percent of Obama supporters agreed. Instead, 45 percent of Obama supporters placed the reduction of global poverty as a higher priority than terrorism. According to Compassion International Senior Vice President Mark Hanlon, the different priorities reveal different theories of the role of government in reducing global poverty. "This is where, from Compassion's perspective, while we would say that government interaction and intervention is important and social action is important, we also believe the church, and especially Christians in the church, are a key part of the solution to global poverty," he explained.

Polls Shift in Favor of Cali. Proposition 8

Proposition 8 in California may yet triumph on the November ballot, as new polls indicate huge leaps in support for the measure that would affirm traditional marriage in the state constitution, according to a news release. The measure's support had been lagging until a week ago, when a CBS5/SurveyUSA poll found the measure ahead 47 percent to 42 percent. This was a 10 point reversal in just 11 days. A separate poll by a leading Democratic public opinion research firm had similar results, with 47 percent for the measure and 43 percent against. “No natural occurrence could explain such a dramatic shift in these numbers,” said Jim Garlow, lead pastor at Skyline Church in La Mesa and one of the team of pastors overseeing the church outreach campaign. Arizona and Florida have similar measures on their November ballots to define marriage as one man, one woman.