Nigeria death toll much higher than previous claims
In a letter to the president of the Nigerian Senate, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) says 3,000 Christians died in this month's Plateau State violence. Earlier estimates put the figure at about 1,000—a number that includes both Christians and Muslims.

"The group, citing 'information available' to it, alleged that 30 churches and over 200 houses belonging to Christians have been destroyed while over 90 Christian students were killed at the Bayero University [in] Kano and the Federal College of Education [in] Bichi," reports The Daily Champion, a Nigerian newspaper based in Lagos. "Another six Christian lecturers from the institutions were also allegedly killed."

And, sadly, the violence continues. Despite a declaration of a state of emergency in Plateau State, at least 25 (or 30) people have been killed in the last few days, especially in the remote town of Sabon Gida. The number may be more.

"Seven villages have been attacked, they killed 25 people," local CAN head Mangmwos Tangshak told the AFP news service. " I saw 25 dead bodies myself."

Another development in the story is that news agencies are now examining the secular and ethnic reasons for the conflict. Apparently the murders aren't just about Islam and Christianity.

"The attack on Sabon Gida and neighboring Christian communities is the latest atrocity in a three-year-old battle between rival religious and ethnic groups for control of Plateau State's fertile farmlands," says AFP. Likewise, the Associated Press headlines its story, "Nigeria to Crack Down on Ethnic Violence."

The reporters are apparently taking the cues from Chris Alli, a retired Nigerian army general who has been appointed to govern Plateau State during the state of emergency. The Associated Press reports that the violence pitted "predominantly Muslim herdsmen and traders against Christian farming groups in what Alli called 'a competition for scarce resources.' 'The problem is not a religious problem,' Alli insisted, saying persistent drought has fueled the battle over land."

More on the Nigeria riots:

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  • Christians, Muslims divided in Kaduna | The declaration of a state of emergency in Plateau State by the federal government has further polarised the people of Kaduna State along ethnic and religious lines (P.M. News, Nigeria)

  • Ex-general promises democracy for Nigerians | The retired general assigned to stanch a cycle of violence in Nigeria pledged to fortify security and enable thousands of displaced people to return home (The New York Times)

  • Soyinka slams Nigeria 'inaction' | Nigeria's Nobel prize-winning author Wole Soyinka has blamed President Olusegun Obasanjo for failing to ensure security in a recent spate of violence (BBC)

More articles

Religious freedom:

  • Army rescues Kitgum bishop | The army on Tuesday night rescued the Anglican Bishop of Kitgum Diocese, Benjamin Ojwang, from Lords Resistance Army rebels who had abducted him from his house in Mican area in Kitgum town council (New Vision, Kampala, Uganda)

  • Earlier: LRA abduct Kitgum bishop (The Monitor, Kampala, Uganda)

  • Four Christians jailed in Vietnam | Authorities in Vietnam say four ethnic Hmong Christians have been jailed for "disturbing public order" (Radio Australia)

War & terrorism:

Prison abuse:

Abortion & life ethics:

  • The party of Abu Ghraib in the womb | Will John Kerry allow the Red Cross to visit Planned Parenthood clinics? (George Neumayr, The American Spectator)

  • Abortion foes sue over permit | Rally at Jeff clinic did not get approval (The Times-Picayune, New Orleans)

  • Prolife lobby touts fetal-pain bill | The next big rallying point for the pro-life movement on Capitol Hill appears to be legislation introduced yesterday that would require doctors to inform women seeking abortions that the procedure will cause pain to their unborn children (The Washington Times)

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  • What is a mother? | The California "egg donor" case gets it wrong (Sherry F. Colb, FindLaw)

Catholic lawmakers respond to bishops:

  • Q&A on Catholicism, politics | Last week, 48 Roman Catholic Democrats in the U.S. House sent a protest to Washington's Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, who chairs a special committee that is considering sanctions against politicians who oppose church teachings (Associated Press)

  • Catholic leader open to hearing from lawmakers | The head of a task force of bishops "is open to hearing" from Catholic members in Congress concerned that church leaders may trigger a backlash if they deny Communion to politicians who support abortion rights, a spokeswoman said on Thursday (Reuters)

  • GOP peer hits Democrats' letter to prelate | "Anyone who knows anything about Catholic theology knows you cannot equate abortion with the war in Iraq," said Rep. Peter T. King, a New York Republican (The Washington Times)

  • Bordallo's office maintains Congresswoman opposes abortion | Guam delegate was among those writing to Cardinal Theodore McCarrick. Her office says she's staunchly against abortion, but signed the letter because of her concerns about the separation of church and state (KUAM, Guam)

Communion & politics:


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  • Cardinal's story lacks substance | While we must commend the Archdiocese of Los Angeles for making public the reasons a popular priest was abruptly yanked from the pulpit at St. Louise de Marillac Catholic Church in Covina, we agree with parishioners. It seems more smoke screen than substance (Editorial, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Ca.)

Christian activists:

Ten Commandments:

  • Copyrighting the Decalogue | Does Roy Moore love the Ten Commandments so much that he wants to own them? (Timothy Noah, Slate)

  • Brown ad criticized for touting role in commandments issue | The campaign of a candidate for the Alabama Supreme Court says a nonprofit corporation's mail-out touting Justice Jean Brown's role in placing a display of the Ten Commandments in the state judicial building was "desperate and pathetic" (The Birmingham News, Ala.)

Church & state:


  • GR Baptist becomes NorthPointe Christian | Grand Rapids Baptist Schools is changing its name to NorthPointe Christian Schools to reflect the various faiths of the 700 students and broaden its appeal to families (The Grand Rapids Press)

  • Cardinal points to use of prayer | Scotland's Catholic leader has urged the country to celebrate its different faiths and include prayer in schools (BBC)

  • Public schools no place for teaching religion | Too many nuts believe that religious freedom means they can go anywhere and preach any thing because of this constitutional right (Editorial, The Decatur Daily, Ala.)

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Crime & abuse:

  • 'Liquid gold' drinks conman jailed | In an apparent bid to salve his conscience, swindler made a couple of donations to charity, including £45,000 to an evangelical church (PA, U.K.)

  • Bible argument spurs boiling-oil charge | A woman is accused of pouring boiling oil on her boyfriend's face in an argument over a Bible verse (Associated Press)

  • Women accuse priests of abuse | In the same week that the Roman Catholic Diocese of Spokane learned that clergy sexual abuse victims want at least $58 million in compensation, two more lawsuits were filed Thursday alleging sexual misconduct—this time, by female victims (The Spokesman-Review, Spokane, Wa.)

  • Secrecy shrouds priest's church trial here | The first of what could be as many as 12 secret church trials of Roman Catholic priests from the Chicago archdiocese accused of sexual misconduct with minors is under way (Chicago Sun-Times)

Weigh Down raid:

Missions & ministry:

  • Feud threatens to close AIDS hospice in city | Church sues nuns, wants majority control of Richey; 3 board members countersue; Extent of spiritual role at center of long dispute (The Baltimore Sun)

  • Campus Christian groups carve out niche | Students are drifting away from large, homogenous Christian fellowships and gravitating toward new "niche" groups catering to their interests, age or ethnicity (Religion News Service)

  • Building a foundation for education | Youth missionaries from Glendale head to Mexico to do more work on preschool they helped build (News-Press, Glendale, Ca.)

  • Religion in the news: The church garage | Many churches across the nation have mechanics ministries, where single women, the elderly, poor and others can get a hassle-free fix-up for a low price. Some of the ministries even refurbish donated cars then give them away or sell them at a bargain rate (Associated Press)

Church life:

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Gay marriage:

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Gay marriage in Mass.:

  • Romney turns to AG for halt to licensing | Targets marriage by gay outsiders (The Boston Globe)

  • Governor seeks to invalidate some same-sex marriages | Gov. Mitt Romney began cracking down on same-sex marriages by out-of-state couples, taking steps to invalidate their marriage licenses (The New York Times)

  • Handful of gay marriage licenses to be reviewed | Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney on Thursday asked the state's top prosecutor to look at whether clerks in a handful of communities broke the law by issuing marriage licenses this week to gay couples from out of state (Reuters)

  • Dozens of same-sex couples marry in Mass. | Dozens of gay couples rushed to tie the knot at chapels, parks and beaches across Massachusetts on Thursday as the end of the three-day waiting period under state matrimonial law led to a marathon of same-sex weddings (Associated Press)

  • History suggests race was the basis for 1913 law | Some legal analysts believe that Harry Ney Stearns's intention may have been to prevent out-of-state interracial couples from marrying in Massachusetts to avoid their home state's ban (Scott S. Greenberger, The Boston Globe)

Homosexuality & religion:

  • Methodists face 'tension' on gays | A group of local evangelical United Methodists is organizing to make sure local church leaders follow newly tightened church laws and teachings on homosexuality and gay clergy (Seattle Times)

  • Baptists aren't worried about history | Southern Baptists are unapologetically opposed to same-sex marriages. We are not worried about what history will say about our stand on this issue (Patrick W. Bullock, The Wichita Eagle, Kan.)

Film & television:

  • Rowdy Python classic resurrected | Upon its 1979 release, "Life of Brian" went whistling to its crucifixion as utter blasphemy. Twenty-five years later, none of it should offend Christians, just as it shouldn't have then (The Denver Post)

  • Joan of Arc leaves indelible mark | Barbara Hall has been fascinated with the life of Joan of Arc since childhood. As the creator and executive producer of the CBS series "Joan of Arcadia," she has created a modern interpretation of the Catholic saint (The Washington Times)

  • FCC sows confusion in 'holy war' on profanity | In spite of all the bluster and the millions of dollars in fines being handed down, the FCC still refuses to tell broadcasters like myself what (if anything) we need to do to avoid the wrath of the FCC's jihad (Scott Allen Miller, The Boston Globe)

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  • Christian books hit secular stores | Wider recognition for Christian books has actually hurt Christian booksellers (Associated Press)

  • Christian books | For many Americans, this summer's reading list has a biblical bent. One of the hottest novels is the latest in the evangelical Left Behind series. Why stories of good and evil have captured the best-seller lists (Talk of the Nation, NPR)

More articles:

  • Getting religion at work — a guide | Seven spiritually edifying things you can do while simultaneously eating a frozen Lean Cuisine, surfing the Internet, and ignoring the blaring cell phone for a few minutes — all without leaving the comfort of your work station (Cathleen Falsani, Chicago Sun-Times)

  • A test of her faith | A Yemeni exchange student living in York reflects on Islam, Christianity and America (York Daily Record, Pa.)

  • Religion news in brief | Why Episcopal bishop was suspended for gay marriage; Catholic college rescinds honorary degree promised to White House official; Indiana state trooper seeks reinstatement in religious flap; Heads of Orthodox churches attend liturgy for Communist terror victims; and other stories (Associated Press)

  • No sects, please | The decline of Jerusalem Syndrome raises the question whether the phenomenon ever posed a threat (Jerusalem Post)

  • More teen girls having sex, study shows | Teen sexual activity has stabilized, although more teenage girls are saying they have had intercourse, a federal report says (The Washington Times)

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