Korean Arrests, Canadian Court, Gay Communion & Mo. Baptists

Korean Arrests, Canadian Court, Gay Communion & Mo. Baptists

In Today's Edition:


Over 100 Korean Missionaries Detained in China ...The Korea Times reports that China has detained more than 100 South Korean missionaries on charges of supporting North Korean defectors and engaging in religious activities in China. Since June 2001, the Chinese government reportedly has been cracking down on missionaries and members of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) active in China. According to The Korea Times, the latest incident has been kept quiet by both South Korea and China in order to avoid possible diplomatic friction. But religious organizations with missionaries stationed in China have corroborated the claim. "It is true that this has been happening,'' said Rev. Shin Kwang-joon of the Methodist Korean World Mission.


The matter may evolve into a diplomatic incident between China and the United States, The Korea Times predicts, "as those involved include NGOs from the United States and one of the missionaries under arrest is a Korean-American identified as Joseph Choi."


Choi, a Korean-American missionary who supports North Korean defectors in China, has been detained by Chinese police together with 14 North Korean escapees since May 9. Officials of the U.S. Korea Human Rights Association for North Korean Refugees have met with U.S. House members to call for comprehensive and tangible measures regarding the North Korean defectors.


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Canadian Supreme Court To Hear Case On Patenting Of Higher Life Forms ... Two umbrella organizations that together represent most of Canada's churches, The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada (EFC) and the Canadian Council of Churches (CCC), have been granted a 15-minute oral submission before the Supreme Court of Canada in the Harvard Mouse case on May 21. The issue in the case is whether higher life forms can be the subject of a patent under the Patent Act.


According to a press release from the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, the case is between the Canadian Commissioner of Patents and the Fellows of Harvard University. Harvard University altered the genetic composition of a mouse so that it and its offspring will be reliably predisposed to developing cancer - hence its nickname "the oncomouse." The Fellows of the university applied for a patent not only on the process and the genetic anomalies of the oncomouse, but also on the mouse itself and all its offspring containing the "oncogene."


The EFC and the CCC are intervening in the Harvard Mouse case to bring their moral, ethical and philosophical perspective. On their behalf, Ottawa lawyer Bill Sammon will tell the Supreme Court Justices why the churches think it is problematic for a living animal to be claimed as a human invention, and patented as such, just because scientists have been able purposefully to modify a few of the genes in the animal's ancient and complex genetic structure.


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Catholic Bishops Differ on Giving Communion To Homosexual Activists ... CNS News reports that the Roman Catholic bishop of Australia refused to give communion to homosexual and lesbian activists gathered for Pentecost Sunday Mass in Sydney, saying, "God created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve." But in several U.S. cities - New York, Chicago, Minneapolis and Rochester - homosexual and lesbian members who are members of the Rainbow Sash Movement (RSM) report they did receive communion. RSM was formed in Australia, but now has chapters in a small number of U.S. cities.


According to CNS, 20 members of a group campaigning for the church to give full recognition to homosexual Catholics had gone forward for communion in Sydney, while another 12 did the same St. Patrick's Cathedral in Melbourne. In both churches they were denied communion, although in Melbourne, Archbishop Denis Hart offered the sash-wearers a blessing.


Because some priests had knowingly given communion to homosexuals, while others had refused to, RSM is now considering "an appeal to Rome." A spokesman said, "Refusal to give communion is the second most serious sanction in church life, after excommunication. So it's a very rare and very important sanction that's been imposed on us."


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Missouri Baptist Leaders Challenge Letter from Breakaway Institutions ... Missouri Baptist Convention leaders are challenging the veracity of an open letter from leaders of five Missouri Baptist institutions where trustee boards have voted to become self-perpetuating rather than seating trustees elected by MBC churches, reports Baptist Press News Service.


The open letter, printed in the May 2 Word & Way news journal and distributed to Baptists statewide, attempts to debunk the legal opinions of three law firms hired by the convention to determine if the trustee actions were in violation of Missouri corporate law. In separate opinions, the three firms reported that the five trustee boards acted illegally in amending their institutions' charters so the trustees could elect their own successors. The disputed trustee actions eliminated input from MBC churches that have given millions of dollars to the entities -- now said to be worth nearly $100 million combined.


According to Baptist Press, CBF Missouri is the state organization affiliated with the national CBF, a breakaway group unhappy with the conservative direction of the SBC. Conservatives in Missouri are concerned that the self-perpetuating trustee boards could be the first step toward the five entities affiliating with the CBF.


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