Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- Pentecostal Pastor Beheaded in Tanzania
- Libya Arrests Missionaries for Spreading Christianity
- Christian Homeschoolers Losing Deportation Fight
- Lawmakers Introduce Interstate Abortion Notification Bill
Pentecostal Pastor Beheaded in Tanzania
Mathayo Kachili, pastor of the Assemblies of God church in Buseresere, Tanzania, a church affiliated with the Pentecostal Assemblies of God of Canada, was beheaded when a group of religious extremists attacked Christians at the church on February 11, Christian Press reports. "Escalating hostility and violence toward Christians in various places in Africa causes us grave concern for our brothers and sisters, and especially our pastors," said Mike McClaflin, AG World Missions regional director for Africa. "Our prayers are with the family of Pastor Mathayo Kachili as well as the other pastors of the Pentecostal Assemblies of God in Tanzania and missionaries from the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada laboring in East Africa." Barnabas Mtokambali, the Tanzania AG general superintendent, encouraged Christians in Tanzania to remain Christlike in their faith. "Our response as a church is not one of violence and hatred, reflecting the attitude of those committing such crimes, but that of Christ and reflecting his image by loving and praying for those who humiliate and persecute us, and not holding such sins against them," he said.
Libya Arrests Missionaries for Spreading Christianity
Four foreign Christian workers in Libya have been arrested on suspicion of spreading Christianity and giving out Christian literature in Benghazi, CBN News reports. Police said one of the suspects is a Swedish-American, and the others are from South Africa, Egypt and South Korea. "We are still holding interrogations and will hand them over to the Libyan intelligence authorities in a couple of days," police spokesman Hussein bin Hamid said. The four workers were arrested Tuesday, and police confiscated some 45,000 books in their possession. Another 25,000 reportedly were distributed. Preaching the gospel is against the law in the Muslim-majority nation. Prior to the 2011 revolution that ousted Moammar Gadhafi, Libya was home to approximately 100,000 Christians, but now only a few thousand remain.
Christian Homeschoolers Losing Deportation Fight
A family homeschooling safely in rural Tennessee may be forced to return to their native Germany, where the parents likely face huge fines and criminal penalties, and could lose custody of their five school-age children, WORLD News Service reports. Uwe and Hannelore Romeike are looking to the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to give them permanent refugee status, but Attorney General Eric Holder is disputing their case, arguing Germany's ban on homeschooling fails to violate the family's fundamental rights. The Romeikes fled Germany in 2008 after authorities fined them thousands in euros and forcibly took their children because they homeschooled. In 2010, a U.S. immigration judge granted the Romeikes political asylum -- the first time this status was granted based on compulsory schooling laws. The judge found the family has legitimate fear of persecution in Germany, where a small group of Christian homeschooling families have already been jailed, fined and stripped of their children. But the Department of Homeland Security immediately disputed the judge's decision, and last May, the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) sided with the government. It may take up to a year for a circuit court ruling, according to the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), which is representing the Romeikes, and that gives the family another year to freely educate their children. The case has far-reaching implications, says HSLDA's Michael Farris: "Our own government is attempting to send [them] back. Something important is being said about our own liberties as American homeschoolers."
Lawmakers Introduce Interstate Abortion Notification Bill
Sens. Marco Rubio, Mitch McConnell and Orrin Hatch introduced a bill in mid-February that would give states the right to enforce parental notification laws across state lines, WORLD News Service reports. The Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act would make it illegal to transport a minor to another state for an abortion in an attempt to circumvent notification laws in the child's home state. It also would require abortionists to notify the parents of an out-of-state minor before performing an abortion. "With the rights of parents and the safety of our nation's daughters at risk, Congress must take action to prevent underage abortions by giving states the federal backing necessary to enforce their parental involvement laws," Rubio said in a statement. "These laws allow teenagers to receive the advice and guidance of a loved one before undergoing a procedure for which they may not be medically or emotionally prepared." The bill is co-sponsored by 16 Republican senators, and Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen sponsored a House version of the bill.
Publication date: February 20, 2013