Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- North Korea: 70,000 Christians 'Locked in Concentration Camps'
- Long-Disputed Tennessee Mosque Opens
- Black Bishop Encourages Christians to Leave Democratic Party
- Federal Court Upholds Hawaii Marriage Amendment
North Korea: 70,000 Christians 'Locked in Concentration Camps'
Though sources confirm North Korea has eased or lifted a number of restrictions -- such as bans on Western foods -- since Kim Jong Un succeeded his father, Kim Jong Il, there is no evidence of any improvement in the condition of the persecuted church there, WND.com reports. "We have not heard any reports of improvement for Christians in the country and have no reason to believe anything has changed," said Ryan Morgan, an analyst with International Christian Concern Asia. "The regime still has up to 70,000 Christians locked away in virtual concentration camps." Morgan added that a Christian believer and three generations of his or her family can still go to prison for life just for owning a Bible. "We're hoping and praying this changes soon, but we haven't seen any sign of it yet," he said. Believers in North Korea continue to tread softly because of the nation's history of persecution as well as the message from the new dictator that "he is in control" and "will do anything to keep hold of power," according to an Open Doors USA source. Open Doors lists North Korea No. 1 on its list of the worst persecutors of Christians in the world.
Long-Disputed Tennessee Mosque Opens
The Islamic Center of Murfreesboro, Tenn., opened Friday following a two-year legal battle to stop it -- with leaders holding midday prayers in the new building, CBN News reports. Members of the community have been upset about the mosque because they say they weren't given proper notice about its construction. Construction was nearly halted in May when a state court sided with the community, but in July, a federal judge granted an emergency order to open the mosque in time for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which is now underway.
Black Bishop Encourages Christians to Leave Democratic Party
A black Virginia bishop is calling for Christians to leave the Democratic party over what he describes as a "cult-like devotion" to abortion and "rejection" of the traditional family, the Christian Post reports. "Clearly, the Democratic party is the anti-Christian party in the nation," bishop E.W. Jackson said. "They reject the Bible, what Bible-believing Christians embrace, and they encourage the growth of what we call a 'non-traditional' family. That is morally wrong and a disgrace to our nation and our Lord." Jackson also cited the Democratic party's support of organizations such as Planned Parenthood, the ACLU, the Freedom From Religion Foundation and even the NAACP as examples of how far the party has moved away from Christians, particularly black Christians. "What was once an historic and honorable civil rights organization is now nothing other than a left-wing apparatus of the Democratic party," he said. "I will say that some of the local chapters still advance civil rights, but in my opinion the national chapter no longer cares for the average black person. That is a shame too."
Federal Court Upholds Hawaii Marriage Amendment
A federal court on Wednesday upheld a Hawaii law defining marriage as the union between one man and one woman, WORLD News Service reports. Hawaii passed a marriage amendment in 1998 with 69 percent of the vote, and Wednesday's ruling affirms that amendment, according to Alliance Defending Freedom legal counsel Dale Schowengerdt. "The people of Hawaii adopted a constitutional amendment to uphold marriage, and the court rightly concluded that the democratic process shouldn't be short-circuited by judicial decree," Schowengerdt said. However, the fight for marriage in Hawaii is not over -- in 2011, legislators passed a bill creating same-sex civil unions, part of a strategy by same-sex marriage advocates to challenge state marriage amendments and laws.
Publication date: August 13, 2012