Iraq's Christians facing persecution
According to The Daily Telegraph of London, about 700,000 Chaldean Christians and more than a million Assyrian Christians live in Iraq. Operation World suggests that those figures are highly inflated, and says there are only 358,281 Christians in the country total (about 22,000 are identified as evangelicals). David Barrett's World Christian Encyclopedia splits the difference, counting 730,774 Christians (74,800 evangelicals) among the population of 22,946,245.

In any case, Christianity has been decreasing in the country (Operation World says by about 0.9% a year), and it's getting worse now that Saddam Hussein has been deposed, says the Telegraph.

"We had a very good situation until the fundamentalists began to appear and we were affected," Roger William told the British paper. "They changed the idea of Christians among the people, and from then on we have suffered. Because America and Britain are Christian countries, they blame us for the war. We are terrified. We really don't know what the future will hold."

Christians are also under fire because they're the ones who generally run the restaurants and shops that sell alcohol. "I do not dare to reopen my shops," David Younan Oro, William's father-in-law, said. "Since the war the people here have to rely on tribes for protection of their businesses. We have no tribe."

Local priest Charlemagne Shmool says at least one of his parishioners has been killed by local Muslims. "The fundamentalists have put pressure on us as never before," he said. "Within 10 years there will be no Christians in this area. We will be finished."

Christian mother appeals judge's "anti-homophobia" ruling
When Cheryl Clark converted to Christianity, she left her lesbian lover, Elsey McLeod. But McLeod argues that she should have joint custody of Clark's 8-year-old daughter, since they spent so many years together. Denver County Circuit Judge John Coughlin agreed—but went even further. While Clark has the girl, Coughlin ruled, she must "make sure that there is nothing in the religious upbringing or teaching that the minor child is exposed to that can be considered homophobic." McLeod was not ordered to avoid any anti-Christian teachings.

Liberty Counsel has filed a friend of the court brief, arguing that Coughlin's ruling limits Clark's religious liberty. "The mother is a Christian, and that's a major part of her lifestyle," he told The Washington Times. "She would be prohibited from reading her daughter Romans 1 or anything in the Bible on sexual fidelity in marriage, going to Bible study, or listening to a sermon on marriage or fidelity."

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The Colorado Court of Appeals has agreed to hear the case.

(One side note: The Washington Times says Clark "left [the] lesbian relationship" in 2000. But it also says the daughter is 8 years old and "spent more than seven years as part of Miss McLeod's life." The only way this is possible is that Clark left the relationship, but her daughter didn't.)

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