GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney collected more delegates and picked up key support from elements of the GOP establishment's past and its Tea Party present. Former President George H.W. Bush and freshman Sen. Marco Rubio, a Tea Party favorite, both publicly endorsed Romney, cementing the former Massachusetts Governor's frontrunner status heading into April's round of state voting. Rubio's decision and Sen. Jim DeMint's remark that he is "excited" about the possibility of Romney being the nominee suggest that a growing number of conservative lawmakers seem ready to focus on November's general election. Rubio said prolonging the bruising primary battle to the party's convention in Tampa would be "catastrophic" for Republicans: "In the modern era, in the 21st century, you cannot have an open fist fight like that at the convention, and nine weeks later defeat the best-funded presidential candidate in American history."
Up for review
Following controversy over Bible translations in Muslim contexts that change the phrases "Son of God" and "God the Father," Wycliffe and its translation partner SIL have agreed to an independent review of their translation practices. The World Evangelical Alliance will coordinate the review, with a report due the end of 2012. The review panel will include theologians and translation experts as well as Muslim-background believers. Wycliffe and SIL also said they have temporarily suspended publication of translations that may contain controversial renderings of "Son of God" and "God the Father" for a period of "dialogue" on the issue.
Four days after emergency surgery to remove a pool of clotted blood on the surface of his brain, Prison Fellowship founder, author, and radio commentator Chuck Colson was in critical condition at a Washington, D.C., area hospital. Colson was speaking at his group's Wilberforce Weekend Conference in northern Virginia on March 30 when his speech became garbled and he had to sit down, according to witnesses at the event. He was taken by helicopter to a nearby hospital, where he underwent evaluation and then surgery early the following day. Prison Fellowship Ministries CEO Jim Liske said the surgery for the 80-year-old Colson was successful. "Chuck is resting comfortably, and his family is with him. He is heavily sedated (which is appropriate in the aftermath of this kind of procedure) and is responding well," Liske said in a prepared statement on April 2. On April 3 the organization updated that statement, noting that Colson was in critical condition and had suffered an intracerebral hemorrhage. After visiting Colson in hospital, Liske said, "I was encouraged to see that as we prayed, Chuck was responsive."
Leaders of Egypt's Coptic Church announced April 2 that they were withdrawing from a committee to draft the country's new constitution, calling participation "futile" given the domination of Islamists on the panel. Only two out of 100 committee members are Copts, though the church reportedly represents at least 10 percent of Egypt's population. On March 29, nearly a quarter of the panel boycotted the panel's first session over its radical Islamic slant.
Also vacated: Tour guides and locals say the pyramids at Giza are usually packed this time of year-like Disney World in June. But Egypt's revolution and ongoing turmoil have dealt a critical blow to the tourism industry that accounts for a major chunk of the country's struggling economy.
A disgruntled former student opened fire in a Christian college in Oakland, Calif., April 2, killing seven and injuring three, police said.
At 10:30 a.m. the suspect, 43-year-old One Goh, allegedly sprayed the classroom with gunfire and continued firing shots as he ran out. Sources say Goh had been involved in a dispute with campus officials and may have been kicked out of a class. Police captured the suspected gunman later that day in an Alameda grocery store five miles from Oikos University, where the shooting took place. He had allegedly walked to the customer service desk and said, "I just shot some people."
Oikos is a Christian college incorporated in 2004 that caters to the Korean community with degrees in nursing, theology, music, and Asian medicine. According to its website, the school's mission is "to educate emerging Christian leaders to transform and bless the world at every level." Oikos is a Greek word meaning household, house, or family.
Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, having endured detention and house arrest for 15 of the past 21 years under Burma's military junta, won a seat in her country's parliament on April 1. Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy won 43 of 44 seats it contested. The victories give the opposition its first significant presence in the government of Burma, also known as Myanmar, but the junta continues to hold the majority of seats.
Military leaders have taken steps to allow new freedoms. But Dave Eubank, director of Free Burma Rangers, an aid group working with war victims, cautioned: "There are some good changes, yet oppression continues."
Chinese President Hu Jintao's visit to India March 28 incited protests by the country's Tibetan refugee population, with one man setting himself on fire days before the visit.
To prevent further protests, police in New Delhi detained hundreds of Tibetan activists and placed all Tibetans refugees under house arrest until March 31, the end of the BRICS meeting-an annual summit meeting with the leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa.
Activists said 27-year-old Tibetan exile Jamphel Yeshi died from burns that covered 98 percent of his body. In the past year, ethnic Tibetans have held about 30 anti-China protests, speaking out against China's crackdown on Tibet and calling for independence.
New faces of Religious freedom commission
Under new congressionally imposed term limits, five commissioners on the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom had to resign, including human-rights lawyer Nina Shea and the Southern Baptist Convention's Richard Land. Now congressional leaders from both parties are appointing new commissioners to join President Obama's appointees already on the commission. House Speaker John Boehner appointed Princeton University law professor Robert George, a Catholic who has been at the forefront of domestic religious freedom issues and was one of the original drafters of the Manhattan Declaration. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid appointed Katrina Lantos Swett, the daughter of the late Democratic Rep. Tom Lantos. Swett has followed her father's career advocating for human rights and heads a foundation in his name. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell appointed Zuhdi Jasser, who heads the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, a group that "seeks to counter political Islam."