The Digest: The week in 5 key stories

Kenji Goto(Photo: Reuters)

1. The deaths of two hostages

Islamic State plumbed new depths of depravity with its murder of Christian journalist Kenji Goto and the release of a video showing captured Jordanian pilot Muath al-Kasaesbeh being burned to death. Japan's prime minister Shinzo Abe vowed it would do all it could to help defeat the perpetrators. Jordan executed two captured Islamists in an act of revenge which, however high feelings were running, is deeply troubling: governments have to behave differently from terrorist militias, no matter how difficult it might be.

2. Jayne Ozanne comes out as gay

A prominent evangelical laywoman and founder member of the Archbishops' Council, Jayne Ozanne, came out as gay and was announced as the new director of Accepting Evangelicals. She told Christian Today of her struggles to accept her sexuality, which involved her submitting to 'deliverance ministry' in an attempt to change her sexual orientation and contributed to a breakdown.

Stephen Fry pictured at the Tony Awards in June 2014.Reuters


3. Stephen Fry gets theological 

Stephen Fry was asked by Irish TV host Gay Byrne what he would say to God at the pearly gates of heaven. His answer, which included a description of God as "capricious, mean-minded and stupid" who has created a world which is "full of injustice and pain", was an instance internet hit and was shared millions of times. It provoked a blizzard of responses from Christians of varying interest and quality, including several posts on Christian Today (which were all excellent, naturally).

Refugees fleeing Islamic State.Reuters

4.Fresh horrors from Islamic State

The United Nations said that Islamic State militants have been abducting Syrian and Iraq children, using them as sex slaves, torturing and beating them and in some cases crucifying them or burying them alive. Most of them are from Christian communities. 'Mentally challenged' children have been used as suicide bombers, probably without realising what would happen to them. The list of horrors grows longer; the prospect of peace is still far distant.

Rev Israel Ahimbisibwe, apparently murdered with his wife and son.

5. Tragedy in Houston

An episcopalian minister, his wife and their five-year-old son were found beaten to death in their apartment in Houston. The bodies of Israel Ahimbisibwe, vicar of Redeemer Episcopal Church in Houston, his wife, Dorcus and their son Israel Ahimbisibwe Jr were found after they did not attend church on Sunday. One of their sons has been arrested in connection with the murder. As the Bishop of Texas said, a horrific and awful tragedy.

A good week for:

Bolsover in Derbyshire, which contrary to earlier reports does not have the highest concentration of Satanists in the UK. Church of Satan priestess Serena Malone told RT UK that she thinks it was a prank.

A bad week for:

Rev Wena Parry, a minister in Port Talbot who put Christian stickers on her car and was told that she might have invalidated her insurance policy.

The story you might not have read, but ought to know about:

The BBC is to axe the post of head of religion, at a time when such expertise has arguably never been more important.

And one for pure enjoyment:

An atheist is having pangs of conscious because of his way of making a living: he's making a fortune selling a Spanish Bible app.