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Religion Today Summaries - October 3, 2011

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - October 3, 2011

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

In today's edition:

  • Sudanese Christians Targeted by Armed Forces, Islamic Militia
  • New Report from Eritrea Details Christian Persecution
  • 'Values Voters' Still Motivated by Gay Marriage, Abortion
  • Ohio Churches Wage Billboard War Over Homosexuality


Sudanese Christians Targeted by Armed Forces, Islamic Militia

In the state of South Kordofan, failure by the Sudanese Armed Forces and allied Islamic militia to distinguish between combatants and civilians in territorial battles is in part because of a desire to rid the area of Christianity, Compass Direct News reports. One Christian called it a "planned persecution by the Islamic government," and many who have fled the area report Christians being killed and church buildings being burned. A man who was detained for being a Christian but later escaped on the day he was scheduled to be put to death said he watched six other Christian detainees be taken away for execution. He said SAF intelligence agents told the Christians, "This land is an Islamic land, and [Christians] are not allowed to be [here]."

New Report from Eritrea Details Christian Persecution

A recent report from the small African country of Eritrea indicates that thousands of Christians have been arrested for practicing their faith, according to OneNewsNow.com. Many Christians have been tortured, some to the point of death, and others have been imprisoned in shipping containers in hot weather with little ventilation, unsanitary conditions and limited food and water. Religious freedom is extremely restricted in Eritrea, said International Christian Concern spokesman Jonathan Racho, and the U.S. State Department has labeled it one of the worst countries in the world for persecution. The ICC is calling on the State Department to undertake greater punitive measures against the regime, Racho said.

'Values Voters' Still Motivated by Gay Marriage, Abortion

Studies find that social conservatives are as concerned as ever about issues like abortion and gay marriage, despite a political climate dominated by economic concerns, the Religion News Service reports. Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, said the media had given the impression that the economy would far outweigh social issues in the 2012 elections, but "that's not the case with evangelical voters." Values voters see big government and deficit spending as the result of policies that arise "when the natural family is looked down upon." They don't see a dichotomy between social and economic issues, Perkins said, adding: "History shows that conservatives win when they actually are conservative."

Ohio Churches Wage Billboard War Over Homosexuality

In Toledo, Ohio, two churches have been engaging in a billboard war over homosexuality, RealClearReligion reports. The 40-member Central United Methodist Church, who prides itself on welcoming gay, lesbian and transgender people, bought a billboard proclaiming, "Being Gay is a Gift from God." Then the 2,500-member Church on Strayer bought nine billboards stating, "Being Gay is NOT a gift from God -- Forgiveness, Love, and Eternal Life Are." Tony Scott, Strayer's pastor, explained: "I feel like we're under attack from the forces of darkness that would really like to influence people with a message that is not from God's word. We just stood up and said, 'No, that's not true; we're not going to stand for that.'" Central United Methodist has since countered with another billboard: "Creating a Space for All God's Children Regardless of Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity." As of yet, Strayer has not responded.

Publication date: October 3, 2011