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Religion Today Summaries - Sept. 13, 2010

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Sept. 13, 2010

Daily briefs of the top Christian news and persecution stories impacting believers around the world.

In today's edition:

  • Mass. Bible Society to Hand out Free Qurans
  • Happy People More Likely to Give, Survey Finds
  • China: Blind Human Rights Activist Released from Prison
  • Christian Assaulted in Orissa State, India

Mass. Bible Society to Hand out Free Qurans

In what's being described as a "counter action" to "an act of hatred against Muslims," the Massachusetts Bible Society said it would give away two Qurans for every one burned at a church in Florida. Religion News Service  reports that the "They Burn One, We Give Two" drive marks the first time in the Society's 201-year history that funds have been raised to distribute a non-Christian sacred text, according to Executive Director Anne Robertson. "As people of the Book, we are joined to Islam and Judaism in a special way," the group said in an appeal released Sept. 9. "As an organization that has sought to put that Book into people's hands for 201 years, we cannot stand idly by while the sacred text of a sister religion is burned as our beloved Bibles once were." The MBS says it can distribute two Qurans for every $25 it raises. The weekend's scheduled burning was canceled, but the MBS said they will still give away as many Qurans as donors have sponsored, Robertson said. She added that if the Quran giveaway is successful, then the MBS would likely consider making it a permanent, ongoing program.

Happy People More Likely to Give, Survey Finds

Money doesn't buy happiness, but happy people are more likely to give money, according to a new worldwide survey. The World Giving Index, published Wednesday by the Charities Aid Foundation, was compiled from Gallup surveys conducted in 153 countries. The surveys asked people, over 15 years of age, whether they had given money to charity or volunteered in the last month, and to rank how happy they were with life on a scale of one to ten. Christian Today reports that Australia, New Zealand and the U.S. came out on top for overall giving, while the U.K. came in at eighth place. Twenty percent of the world's population had volunteered time in the month prior to interview, 30 percent had given money to charity, and 45 percent had helped a stranger. In the U.S., 60 percent reported giving money to charity in the last month, 39 percent said they gave their time and 65 percent said they helped a stranger. Americans ranked higher on the same "happiness index" used in all countries.

China: Blind Human Rights Activist Released from Prison

Christian Newswire reports that Chen Guangcheng, a blind human rights activist, has finished his sentence of 4 years and 3 months. He was released on Sept. 10. While in prison, he was brutally tortured and denied proper care. He is currently in bad health and needs medical treatment. Though he is out of prison, Chen Guangcheng's freedom is not yet complete. His family has been monitored and even harassed by public officials during his imprisonment. According to reliable sources, the authorities have threatened Chen and his wife that they will throw any family member in prison at any time if they fail to cooperate. Now he and his family are being closely monitored by more than 20 policemen surrounding his home in Shandong. No one has been allowed out of the house today, even for shopping. Chen Guangcheng, a self-taught lawyer, exposed the atrocity of 130,000 mass forced abortions and forced sterilizations in Linyi County, Shandong, in 2005.

Christian Assaulted in Orissa State, India

Compass Direct News reports that suspected Hindu nationalists in Orissa state beat a Catholic father of seven until he fell unconscious on Aug. 20. Subhash Nayak told Compass that four unidentified men assaulted him as he made his way home to Laburi village from the hamlet of Kapingia in Kandhamal district. Hindu extremists in Kandhamal district killed more than 100 people in several weeks of attacks following the murder of Hindu extremist leader Swami Laxamananda Saraswati in 2008. Nayak said the assailants left him for dead. "I could not see their faces as it was very dark, and they tried to poke my eyes with their sticks," said Nayak, still in pain. "They stomped on my chest with their feet and hit me relentlessly till I fell unconscious. They left me thinking I was dead."