The religious and faith backgrounds of the 113th Congress are more diverse now than at any time in the nation's history, with the addition of America's first Buddhist senator and the first Hindu in the House of Representatives.
Since the birth of the nation in 1776, Congress has typically reflected the religious beliefs of the districts from which they were elected. But gone are days where the overwhelming majority of Congress was Protestant.
The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, with the assistance of Congressional Quarterly's Roll Call, compiled data comparing the faith breakdown of Congress to the American population and released their report on Wednesday. Here is what they found. more >>
The Nigerian armed forces have fought back against the Islamic militant group Boko Haram, killing 13 suspected combatants in an attack on their stronghold in the town of Maiduguri on Tuesday.
The news was confirmed by the Joint Task Force Operation Restore Order, who said that they lost one soldier in the gunfight, CNN reported. Military spokesman Sagir Musa said that that Boko Haram have been carrying out "incessant callous, brutal, barbaric and impious killings," and Human Rights Watch estimate that the Islamic group, whose name means "Western education is sacrilege," have killed more than 2,800 people in the last several years, including at least 34 since Christmas.
On Christmas Eve, raids on two separate churches resulted in the deaths of 12 worshippers, including a pastor. Another 15 Christians were massacred six days later on Sunday at another church in Northern Nigeria. more >>
A British think tank has released a lengthy report claiming that militant Islam is the greatest existential threat to Middle Eastern Christianity, bringing Christian communities in the region "close to extinction."
The London-based Civitas, also known as the Institute for the Study of Civil Society, published the report in December. "Christianity is in serious danger of being wiped out in its biblical heartlands because of Islamic oppression," reads a statement from the group issued Sunday.
"But Western politicians and media largely ignore the widespread persecution of Christians in the Middle East and the wider world because they are afraid they will be accused of racism." more >>
Nigerian gunmen have killed at least 12 Christians, including a pastor, during raids on two churches after midnight Christmas Eve services in the latest attack on believers in the divided African country.
Police reports reveal that one of the attacks occurred at the Church of Christ in Nations in the state of Yobe at Peri village near the city of Potiskum. Another happened at First Baptist Church in Maiduguri, in Borno state, where a deacon and five church members were killed, CNN reported.
While no group has yet officially claimed responsibility for the attacks, the BBC and other sources note that the attackers were likely Islamist extremists from the Boko Haram terrorist organization, which has killed over 700 Christians and burned down dozens of churches in Nigeria this past year alone. more >>
A U.S.-based group of advocates for the equality and rights of Coptic Christians plans to hold a demonstration in Washington, D.C., on Saturday, to condemn the power grab and other illegitimate measures taken by President Mohamed Morsi of Egypt, organizers stated Friday.
The Egyptian Front for National Salvation and Coptic Solidarity is upset by the fact that 10 days before the Supreme Constitutional Court was scheduled to issue its ruling on Dec. 2 in lawsuits regarding the legitimacy of the Constituent Assembly, Morsi issued a new constitutional declaration in which he arrogated to himself sweeping powers, and enabled himself to be shielded from legal challenge through the courts.
The solidarity group states that the day before the court's session, the Constituent Assembly, dominated by Islamists after the withdrawal of civil (non-Islamist) forces and Christians, rushed a new draft constitution considered to be a blueprint to establish a "theocratic state" and take Egypt centuries back. President Morsi immediately called for a referendum to be held on Dec. 15, ignoring even the mandatory delay needed to have a public discussion on the document. more >>
An Episcopal church in Pasadena, Calif., has been receiving a rash of hate emails for opening its doors to participants of the upcoming Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) Convention in December.
The Rev. Ed Bacon of All Saints Episcopal Church told CBS Los Angeles that the emails are "toxic stuff," ranging from "scapegoating Muslims, totally misreading what Islam is all about, telling us we can't call ourselves a Christian body because we've allowed Muslims into our church."
"They're saying we have abandoned our Christian roots, that we are gullible and being used by terrorists, all of which is totally unfounded," the Rev. Bacon told CBS. more >>