Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- Navy Chaplain Faces Crucial Trial in His Fight for Religious Freedom
- Wife Accused of Killing Preacher Posts Bond
- Egyptian Copts Lose Homes, Freedom over Murder Charge
- Ex-homosexuals Protest APA's Position on Homosexuality
Navy Chaplain Faces Crucial Trial in His Fight for Religious Freedom
AgapePress reports a U.S. Navy chaplain says his attorney is asking a military judge to throw out a charge that he deliberately disobeyed an order by praying while in uniform at a press conference in front of the White House earlier this year. Lieutenant Gordon James Klingenschmitt, who has been fasting and lobbying for the right to pray in Jesus' name, was scheduled to appear in Norfolk, Virginia, for a court martial pre-trial hearing earlier this week. According to an AP report, Klingenschmitt requested a court martial rather than accept a reprimand for appearing in uniform at the March 30 press conference in Washington, DC. The press conference featured Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore and called on President Bush to issue an executive order affirming the right of chaplains to pray as they see fit. Klingenschmitt says all he did at this event while in uniform was to say a prayer for America's armed forces from the Book of Common Prayer, an invocation ending with the words "through Jesus Christ, our Lord, Amen." If found guilty, Klingenschmitt could be fined up to $35,000, or two-thirds of his annual salary. If the judge decides not to throw out the case, the court martial proceedings against the Navy chaplain will begin on September 11.
Wife Accused of Killing Preacher Posts Bond
Mary Winkler, 32, who was arrested March 23 for allegedly killing her preacher husband with a shotgun, walked out of a Tennessee jail Tuesday, CNN reports. Winkler's attorneys worked for five days to secure her release from the McNairy County jail in Selmer. She pleaded not guilty in July to a grand jury indictment charging her with first-degree murder of Matthew Winkler, 31. The judge set Winkler's bond at $750,000. In Tennessee, murder defendants can obtain bond if they are not charged with a capital crime. Matthew Winkler was minister of the Fourth Street Church of Christ in Selmer when he was shot in the back and killed. Tennessee Bureau of Investigation agent Brent Booth read from Mrs. Winkler's initial statement to police: "I heard the boom, and he rolled out of the bed on the floor, and I saw some blood on the floor and some bleeding around his mouth. I went over and wiped his mouth off with a sheet. I told him I was sorry and that I loved him. And then I went and ran. "He asked me, 'Why?' and I just said I was sorry." Winkler will be driven to McMinnville, TN, where she will live with an old friend and reportedly has a job lined up at a dry cleaner.
Egyptian Copts Lose Homes, Freedom over Murder Charge
Families of five jailed Christians have lost their homes northeast of Cairo after authorities persuaded them to turn over their property in exchange for what was supposed to be the release of relatives accused of murder. Compass Direct News reports Abdel Masih Awad Sayeed, 86, and four relatives in Sharkeya province have been in police custody since December 11. Officials detained the five after the death of a Muslim the previous day prompted rioting in the village of Kafr Salama Ibrahim. Medical examiners concluded that injuries to Mohammed Ahmad Abu Talib, received when he intervened on his son’s behalf in a fight with two of the Christian men, could not have caused his death, but the two Christians and three relatives are charged with “conspiracy to murder” Talib. The Christian brothers’ cousin, Milad Samy Zaki, told Compass that after the fight Talib suffered a stroke and died minutes later. Authorities proposed that the Christians pay Talib’s family 1 million Egyptian pounds (US$173,900) in compensation – half of which, the officials said, they had already paid with the destruction of their homes. The Christians subsequently signed over deeds for five of their properties on the understanding that this would fulfill their 500,000 Egyptian pound “debt” and secure their release.
Ex-homosexuals Protest APA's Position on Homosexuality
Approximately 50 people from various pro-family groups protested the American Psychological Association's convention Aug. 11, opposing the organization's position that says homosexuality cannot be changed. "The fact of the matter is that there are tens of thousands of men and women just like me who have overcome homosexuality... We're living proof," Alan Chambers, president of Exodus International, a ministry to homosexuals and ex-homosexuals, told Baptist Press. He took part in the protest in New Orleans. APA has been one of the leading organizations to back the claims of homosexual activists. A statement on its website says that homosexuality "does not require treatment and is not changeable." In addition, the statement says that "close scrutiny" of conversion therapies "cast doubt on their claims" that people have been freed from homosexuality. "I think the most harm that the APA is doing is they're using their position to steer the debate in the media and in the public to cast doubt on the tens of thousands of men and women who have changed," Chambers said.