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Religion Today Blog Christian Blog and Commentary

Carrie Dedrick

Newsweek magazine examined the atrocities committed against Syrian Christians in its most recent cover story. In the piece, “The New Exodus: Christians Flee ISIS in the Middle East,” writers Janine Di Giovanni and Conor Gaffey looked in-depth into where the mass exodus from the region began, and how Christians are surviving now. 
Newsweek reports that 4 million Syrian refugees have been uprooted from their homes and now live in Egypt, Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon. An addition 6.5 million have been displaced internally. 
A report by the Center for American Progress said, “Some of the oldest Christian communities in the world are disappearing in the very lands where their faith was born and first took root. Christians have migrated from the region in increasing numbers, which is part of a longer-term exodus related to violence, persecution, and lack of economic opportunities stretching back decades.”
The city of Maaloula was taken over by jihadists in 2014.
Resident Adnan Nasrallah told the Arabic newspaper Al Akbar, “I saw people wearing al-Nusra headbands who started shooting at crosses.” One militant “put a pistol to the head of my neighbor and forced him to convert to Islam by obliging him to repeat, 'There is no God but God.’
"Afterwards they joked, 'He's one of ours now.'”
Christians continue to live in danger in the Middle East. 
A young refugee who escaped to Beirut said, “Unfortunately, we’re a long way from a solution. This will make Christians feel threatened by death at all times and scared, of course. Not free. Not safe, and sometimes desperate.”
Publication date: March 27, 2015
A Colorado woman who attacked a pregnant woman and cut the seven-month-old baby out of her stomach will not be charged with murder, according to reports. 
Dynel Lane, 34, lured 26-year-old Michelle Wilkins to her home with a Craigslist ad for baby clothes. When the pregnant mother-to-be arrived, Lane cut the unborn child out of the woman’s stomach and drove the the hospital with the baby. 
Wilkins is expected to recover; the baby did not survive the attack. 
The Blaze reports Boulder County prosecutor Stanley Garnett said Thursday (March 26) that Garnett would not be charged with murder; the prosecutor did not disclose the charges that will be filed against Lane. 
Life News reports an autopsy that was performed on the baby could not determine if the child survived out of her mother’s womb. In the state of Colorado, the death of a fetus cannot be considered a murder unless the baby survived apart from the mother. 
Coroner Emma Hall said in a statement, “Neither the autopsy or the investigation have provided any evidence that the baby exhibited any signs of life outside of the womb, therefore the circumstance is not being considered a live birth.” 
Publication date: March 27, 2015
Hillsong singer David Ware has shed new light on the song “O Praise the Name” in a video posted to the band’s website. 
Ware said that songwriter Marty Sampson told him to sing the line “I cast my mind to Calvary,” as if Jesus was in front of him. This helped him reflect on the meaning of Easter and changed the way he thought about Jesus’ resurrection. 
Ware said, “As I began to envision the hill of Calvary, I imagined what it would have been like to actually be there on that day, looking up at my Saviour hanging on that tree, the Messiah, full of love for me, as He breathed His last.” 
The singer hopes that listeners will hear the song in the same way and take time to reflect on Jesus’ death and resurrection. 
Ware also said that Easter is a special time of year because Christians and non-Christians focus on Jesus, discussing "who He was or wasn't, what He did or didn't do, the life He lived, His death, His resurrection and all that happened after.” 
Quoting Romans 5:8, the Christian singer said, “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."
Publication date: March 27, 2015