Religion Today Summaries - Oct. 22, 2010

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Oct. 22, 2010

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

  • Persecution a Basic Teaching, Says North African Pastor
  • Don't Ask Don't Tell Suspended after Judge Refuses Stay
  • Study: More Link Christian Faith to Being American
  • Pakistani Muslims Beat Elderly Christian Couple Unconscious

Persecution a Basic Teaching, Says North African Pastor

The church in North African countries is historically unwelcome, prompting two basic teaches in the region's churches, said pastor Imad Dabour at this week's Lausanne Congress. "There are two things about Christianity that we teach people," he said, according to Christian Today. "That it gives you salvation and a lot of joy with it - and persecution." Most Christians in countries such as Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria come from a Muslim background and must often choose between family and their new faith. "It is a hostile environment [and] a daily challenge for Christians with a new identity from a Muslim background," he said. Dabour was one of several North African church leaders to share the church's story with more than 4,000 Christian leaders at the Cape Town, South Africa, gathering.

Don't Ask Don't Tell Suspended after Judge Refuses Stay

The United States military is accepting applications from openly homosexual individuals after a judge refused to stay her ruling, Baptist Press reports. U.S. District Judge Virginia Phillips on Tuesday denied a request from the Department of Justice that the 17-year-old Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy, which prohibits homosexuals from serving openly, remain in effect through the appeals process. The Department of Justice filed an emergency request with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday arguing that the policy should remain in effect until the matter can be resolved by Congress. Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, said that if Phillips' order is not reversed, "it will be a sad day for our fighting forces." He accused Phillips of trying "to practice social engineering" in her ruling. He continued, "The military is designed for one purpose: to fight and win wars. It's not a laboratory for social experimentation or social engineering."

Study: More Link Christian Faith to Being American

Religion News Service reports that as the U.S. has grown more diverse, more Americans believe that being a Christian is a key aspect of being "truly American." Purdue University scholars found that between 1996 and 2004, Americans who saw Christian identity as a "very important" attribute of being American increased from 38 percent to 49 percent. Scholars said the findings, published in the fall issue of the journal Sociology of Religion, couldn't be definitively tied to a particular event but they suspect the 9/11 attacks and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan could have played a role. Researchers found that non-Christians and those with no religious affiliation overwhelmingly rejected a link between being Christian and being "truly American." In a separate survey, Public Religion Research Institute found that 42 percent believe "America has always been and is currently a Christian nation."

Pakistani Muslims Beat Elderly Christian Couple Unconscious

An 80-year-old Christian in southern Punjab Province said Muslims beat him and his 75-year-old wife, breaking his arms and legs and her skull. From his hospital bed in Vehari, Emmanuel Masih told Compass Direct News that two powerful Muslim land owners in the area brought a prostitute to his house on Oct. 8 and demanded he sleep with her. Masih lacked the social status to fight back legally, and when he refused their demand, the men attacked him. The couple was initially rushed to Tehsil Headquarters Hospital Burewala in critical condition, but doctors there reportedly turned them away at the behest of their assailants. The couple's attorney, Rani Berkat, said the Muslim assailants intimidated Fateh Shah police into refraining from filing charges against them. Only after intervention from Berkat and Albert Patras, director of human rights group Social Environment Protection, did police reluctantly registered a case against the suspects for attempted murder.