Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- Controversial Documentary Examines Children's Church Camp
- Refugee Crisis in Darfur
- Ex-Homosexual Ministry Leader: 'My Heart Breaks for Mark Foley'
- Human Rights Activist Concerned over Christian Persecution
Controversial Documentary Examines Children's Church Camp
A new movie that looks at evangelical Christians in the Midwest is generating controversy in the secular media, AgapePress reports. Jesus Camp is a documentary that follows Christian children attending a charismatic summer camp. The movie focuses on camp founder Pastor Becky Fischer, who runs the "Kids on Fire" Bible camp in Devils Lake, North Dakota. Fischer, who works with Kids in Ministry International, reminds children throughout the movie that they are in a spiritual war. Because of that, Fischer has been accused of "brainwashing" children. Co-director Heidi Ewing says the movie reflects the current culture war and how some churches are preparing and educating young people. Ewing explains that the movie was not meant to portray believers in a negative light, but to convey that Christian activists often believe that politics and faith go together. The 84-minute documentary, which has been panned by Pastor Ted Haggard with the National Association of Evangelicals, is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for some discussions of mature subject matter. Since its release, Fischer claims to have received numerous hate messages via e-mail.
Refugee Crisis in Darfur
With millions of people displaced and impoverished in the Darfur region of western Sudan, the United Nations has termed the situation, the "world's worst humanitarian crisis." Operation Blessing is partnering with Humedica International, a humanitarian, non-governmental organization based in Germany, to expand their medical and educational operations to reach the 10,000-person Al Salaam refugee camp in Darfur, Sudan. The immediate goals of the project are to build a permanent medical clinic in Al Salaam, hire a medical staff, and obtain a mobile medical unit to reach those in surrounding areas with no access to medical care. In response to the camp’s poor sanitation, the medical clinic will include a waiting room where patients will be educated in hygiene issues while waiting to be seen by doctors. Operation Blessing’s involvement in the region is paving the way for future projects at the Al Salaam refugee camp, such as providing relief packages for families and establishing a school.
Ex-Homosexual Ministry Leader: 'My Heart Breaks for Mark Foley'
A former homosexual who now runs a Christian outreach to those who want to leave the homosexual lifestyle, says he is not surprised at the scandal surrounding former Florida Congressman Mark Foley, AgapePress reports. Foley resigned September 29 after allegations surfaced that he had sent sexually suggestive e-mails and instant messages to young boys who were serving as Congressional pages. On October 3, Foley's attorney told the press that the Congressman is, in fact, homosexual and that he had been sexually abused by a clergyman while between the ages of 13 and 15. Stephen Bennett, a former homosexual and founder of Stephen Bennett Ministries (SBM), says his ministry often deals with homosexuals who were abused as youngsters. In fact, he says there is a definite correlation between molestation and homosexuality. And it is time, Bennett urges, for people "to stop worrying about being 'politically correct' in the media regarding homosexuality and finally deal with the truth... that homosexual (and heterosexual) molestation of children can and [do] produce future homosexual men and women. "Foley's story is so tragically typical," Stephen Bennett says. But the good news, he adds, is that the former Congressman and others like him can find deliverance from the homosexual lifestyle through a relationship with Christ, because help and hope are available, and change is completely possible.
Human Rights Activist Concerned over Christian Persecution
Christians are being persecuted in some 44 countries of the world whereas Pakistan figures among those seven countries where Christians are relatively more vulnerable to persecution. This was stated by human rights activist and coordinator of Centre for Legal Aid and Assistance (CLASS) Joseph Francis on Sunday, October 1 in an exclusive interview to ASSIST News Service. Francis, who recently returned home after his 15 day long visit to the US, said he held meetings with staff members of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom. He said he also attended a protest demonstration against human rights violation held in New York which he said was attended by some 150 people. Condemning forced conversions, he said the incidence of forced conversion was on the increase in Egypt, Nigeria and Pakistan. During his stay in the US he said that Lebanese and Iraqi Christians proposed formation of an International Christian Forum with Lebanon, Iraq, Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan, Egypt and Syria as its member countries.