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Religion Today Blog Christian Blog and Commentary

Carrie Dedrick

Pastor Saeed Abedini continues to suffer for his Christian faith in an Iranian prison. In a recent update on Facebook, Abedini’s wife Naghmeh said that prison guards have been threatening him with an extended sentence. 
Abedini is currently serving an eight-year sentence; he was imprisoned two years ago while in the nation to build a secular orphanage. 
Naghmeh Abedini wrote, “Last week had been quite difficult for Saeed. He has been under a lot of pressure and attack from the hardliners. The guards have also been threatening Saeed that he will never go free and additional charges (and years) will be added to his sentence (which they have done to other Christians and fellow inmates). 
“They continually threaten Saeed that the only key to his freedom is denying Christ and returning to Islam. Saeed refuses to deny Christ and continues to be a light and witness in that dark prison. These threats coupled with the fact that there have been mass executions during the last week in Rajayee Shahr prison, have really taken their toll on Saeed.” 
Abedini said her husband needs continued prayer for strength and is grateful to those around the world that daily lift him up in prayer. 
“Knowing that he is not forgotten and believers around the world continue to remember him in prayer and advocate for him has encouraged him to continue in this difficult journey and to hold on to hope,” she wrote. 
Publication date: April 17, 2015
A Texas pastor is being charged in connection with the death of a toddler who was starved for nearly one month and died. Charisma News reports the child was only given water for 25 days as a religious ritual to cast away demons.
The pastor, Araceli Meza, 49 has been charged with causing serious injury to a child. According to police, the two-year-old toddler died at a home that housed four family’s as well as Meza’s small, non-denominational church. 
Police were called to the home in Balch Springs on March 26 after receiving an anonymous tip; by the time authorities arrived, the child had been dead for four days. Witnesses said the child’s parents had wrapped the body in a blanket and taken it to Mexico, accompanied by Meza and her husband
The pastor is currently being held by police on $100,000 bail. 
Balch Springs Police Lieutenant Mark Maret said that the investigation is ongoing as authorities will need to question all witnesses. 
"We believe there could be multiple suspects, including the parents, but we don't know who is a suspect and who is a witness until we interview everyone,” he said. 
Publication date: April 17, 2015
The Tennessee State Senate tabled a proposal to make the Bible the official state book of Tennessee.
Instead, the state senate asked that the judiciary committee review the proposal at a later date, according to Christian Today. The bill had earlier been approved by the state House of Representatives.
The bill was approved 55-38 this week by the Tennessee House of Representatives. Republican Rep. Jerry Sexton originally sponsored it.
"My purpose for bringing this legislation is to memorialize the role the Bible has played on Tennessee history," he said.
Said Republican Rep. Andy Holt, who supported the bill: "There are some things that are worth standing up for. Markets, money and military are meaningless without morals. I think it's time for our body to make a stand."
Attorney General Herbert Slatery III had said the bill violated the separation of church and state.
Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, a Republican, also opposed the bill.
"The Bible is my official book but it need not be the official book of the state of Tennessee," Ramsey said in a statement.
"We don't need to put the Bible beside salamanders, tulip poplars and ‘Rocky Top’ in the Tennessee Blue Book to appreciate its importance to our state," he said.
Publication date: April 17, 2015