Archive for May, 2008

Pastor Beaten, Robbed in India

Posted in India with tags , , , , , on May 30, 2008 by Mike

Journal Chretien is reporting that a pastor was attacked, beaten, and robbed by two Hindu village leaders in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh.

…two village leaders of the Hindu Radical group Bajrang Dal (Monkey Brigade) attacked him with iron rods and wooden clubs. One of the men hit Rampal on his head with an iron rod, and he fell to the ground unconscious and bleeding heavily. They then robbed Rampal of 3,000 Indian rupees ($70.4722 USD), which was in his shirt pocket, given by one of the believers for some work to be done.

Hearing the pastor’s scream for help, the believers of the village rushed to the spot and took Rampal to the nearby Government hospital and got his head wound dressed. He gained consciousness and he was given medicines too.

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Brazilian Priest Attacked by Landowners

Posted in Brazil with tags , , , , on May 28, 2008 by Mike

Christian Today is reporting that wealthy Brazilian landowners are being accused of attacking a priest because of his stand in defense of landless people.

In Parana, in the Diocese of Curitiba, the car belonging to the Rev Luiz Carlos Gabas was shot at, and an Anglican church, school and plantations were destroyed by tractors and diggers, according to partners of Anglican mission agency USPG.

Two men were taken in for questioning but were later released without charge. It is alleged that the gunmen were driving in a police vehicle when they fired. Human rights protesters have also alleged that the police are colluding with land owners in their pursuit of profit.

Following the attacks, Brazil’s State Commission on Human Rights put Mr Gabas onto a witness protection programme.

The Rev Francisco Silva, Secretary General of the Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil (IEAB), explained: “The Anglican Church and fellow Christian churches are firmly defending and supporting the Movement of Landless People in the west of the Parana state.

“The destruction of the chapel becomes even more symbolic because it represents a clear message from landowners against the church. ”

He said that Rev Gabas has been suffering intimidation from powerful landowners as a consequence of his pastoral position in favour of the landless people’s settlers camp, where his support is recognised by the whole community. A group of 150 families are living in the settlement, waiting for legalisation of the area.

“Our prayers and support are required for our brothers and sisters in that region,” he added. “The fear of violence and the apparent impunity of the perpetrators must be faced with solidarity and practical support.”

UK Christian Charity Loses Right to Control Hiring Practices

Posted in England with tags , , , , , on May 27, 2008 by Mike

In yet another sign of the apocalypse, the Christian Post is reporting that a British Christian charity that helps those with learning disabilities lost in a ruling by an employee tribunal the right to control its own hiring practices.

In a weekend ruling by the Tribunal of Abergele, North West Wales, the tribunal said that Prospects, a well-known charitable organization, could not require new or existing employees to sign and agree to a “religious ethos” or statement of faith in salvation through Jesus Christ.

Although the statement of faith did not require any standard of behavior in its employees other than to “work within both the Christian ethos and the policies of Prospects,” the tribunal ruled the charity’s statement of faith illegal because of its use of public funding.

The suit against the charity organization was brought after two former employees, Mark Sheridan and Louise Hender, protested the group’s alleged practice of preferential hiring and promotions towards Christian employees.

In a statement, The British Humanist Association (BHA), which helped finance the lawsuit, praised the ruling as a “landmark” decision.

“A clear message has been sent out by this decision: that blanket discrimination in employment policies and practices on grounds of religion or belief is simply unacceptable, and that an instruction to discriminate against someone on the basis of that person’s religion or belief will be unlawful,” said BHA Chief Executive Hanne Stinson.

Obviously, BHA doesn’t get it. The effect of this ruling will be to essentially shut down any charities who are religiously-based and receive government funding. Okay, maybe BHA does get it. This effect is exactly what they are aiming for–get any evidence of religion in society to disappear and make the government’s role even greater in everyone’s lives. The ironic thing is that Humanism is a religion. It meets pretty much anyone’s definition of a religion.

Christians in Gaza Targeted

Posted in Gaza with tags , , , on May 26, 2008 by Mike

One News Now is reporting that Christians in Gaza are trapped in a time when persecution of Christians is increasing.

A building in Gaza with an Internet café owned by a Christian was bombed. However, no one was hurt; but windows were shattered. The café had been the target of another failed bombing earlier in the week. Carl Moeller of Open Doors USA says it is the latest in a string of attacks against Christians.

Moeller says it is obvious that the Christian community is being targeted, and that many Christians are faced with the difficult choice to “… [f]lee or to try and stay in their homes.”

“The unfortunate thing for most Christians in Gaza is that they are not able to flee,” notes Moeller. “There’s no possibility of immigration from Gaza for the vast majority of the Christian population there,” he maintains.

More on Graham’s Remarks

Posted in China with tags , , , , , on May 20, 2008 by Mike

More on the controversy surrounding Franklin Graham’s comments discouraging “illegal” evangelism in China during the Olympics. From CNS News:

John Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute, a conservative civil liberties organization, had strong words for Graham, saying his comments “compromise the Christian faith.”

“The activities of Christ were considered illegal, but that didn’t stop Him,” he said. “Jesus could have avoided the cross, but God’s Word was too important to compromise. The activities of Paul were considered illegal, but he refused to be put off. He suffered beatings and spent much time in jail because he saw the Gospel of Christ as too important to be silenced. And the Apostle Peter was very clear that we should obey God, rather than men.”

Whitehead said that any law restricting the Gospel is void and of no effect. He expressed concern that statements like Graham’s may “actually give the Chinese government the impetus to continue its persecution of Chinese Christians.”

“Until evangelical Christians decide that the faith should be proclaimed loudly and boldly with compassion, no matter where they may be, the moral morass of the world will only get worse,” he said.

Franklin Graham Opposes Evangelism During Olympics

Posted in China with tags , , , , on May 16, 2008 by Mike

According to the Christian Post, Franklin Graham is facing criticism because of recent comments he made while visiting China.

The eldest son of renowned evangelist Billy Graham said he opposed missionary work during the Games because it is prohibited under Chinese law, and he does not encourage anything illegal.

In response, a respected religious freedom activist defended Chinese house church Christians as “law-abiding, patriotic citizens” who are not doing anything wrong except following their faith which teaches them to share the Good News of Jesus Christ.

“[Christians] cannot and will not [concede] to a ‘faith moratorium’ in order to please an atheistic government during the Olympic Games, even if that means enduring imprisonment and torture,” said Bob Fu, president of China Aid Association, in a statement on Wednesday.

Turkmenistan Church Tense After Police Raid

Posted in Turkmenistan with tags , , on May 11, 2008 by Mike

Back in April, 10 officials from various Turmenistan government agencies raided a Bible study being held in a private home.

“Some ten officials from the local Religious Affairs Department, the police, secret police, Justice Ministry and Tax Ministry” raided the Bible class from the Greater Grace Protestant church on April 11, said Forum 18, a Norway-based human rights group.

Murad Aksakov of the local administration reportedly defended the raid saying they wanted to find out how many people attended the classes, who those people were, and “whether everything was in order” with the church’s documents. “We went there as guests, and I don’t see anything wrong with that since we have the right to check up on religious organizations,” he said in published remarks.

Pastor Vladimir Tolmachev reportedly said he was warned that the church was not allowed to teach its own members without permission from the government’s Religious Affairs Committee. Officials allegedly told Tolmachev he would receive an official warning.