Updates on YSK articles and other TGC features from the past six months.
The Story: In Pakistan, a twelve-year-old mentally disabled Christian girl is in jail on charges of blasphemy. If convicted, she could face life in prison.
The Update: The Islamabad High Court will consider the petition to drop the charges against Rimsha Masih on October 17, the teen’s leading lawyer told CNN. If the charges are not dismissed, her case will proceed in juvenile court. Having her case transferred to juvenile court"is a precursor to the case ending,” said Hasan of Human Rights Watch. “That is quite unprecedented in the 25-year history of Pakistan’s blasphemy laws.”
The Article: The Far Less Sensational Truth about Jesus’ ‘Wife’
The Story: A historian of early Christianity at Harvard Divinity School claimed to have identified a scrap of papyrus that she says was written in Coptic in the fourth century and contains the phrase, “Jesus said to them, ‘My wife ...’”
The Update: A New Testament scholar claims to have found evidence suggesting that the document is a modern forgery, reports The Guardian. Professor Francis Watson of Durham University says the papyrus fragment is a patchwork of texts from the genuine Coptic-language Gospel of Thomas, which have been copied and reassembled out of order to make a suggestive new whole. “I think it is more or less indisputable that I have shown how the thing was composed,” he said. “I would be very surprised if it were not a modern forgery, although it is possible that it was composed in this way in the fourth century.”
The Story: After being criticized as factually inaccurate by historians and boycotted by evangelical ministers for glossing over racism, publisher Thomas Nelson decided to cease publication and distribution of David Barton’s controversial book, The Jefferson Lies: Exposing the Myths You’ve Always Believed about Thomas Jefferson.
The Update: Barton is in negotiations to publish a new edition of the book with Mercury Ink, Glenn Beck’s publishing arm. Barton told Publisher’s Weekly he bought back around 17,000 copies of the current edition and will sell out of those before the publication of the new edition. Barton said the new edition “will not include any substantive changes, but I will rephrase some things to remove any potential confusion.” He also plans to add back some of the content Thomas Nelson cut in their editing process.
The Article: Church Stages Kidnapping of Youth Group Members
The Story: A church pastor in Pennsylvania could face felony charges for staging a fake kidnapping of youth group students in order to teach them about religious persecution.
The Update: Police charged Youth Pastor Andrew Jordan and, in an unusual move, the church itself, reports the Washington Post. Jordan and the Glad Tidings church are charged with one count of false imprisonment and one count of simple assault. While at least one legal expert said charging the church is novel, authorities said they felt they had to act to protect other children.