Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- Iran: Pastor Nadarkhani May Face New Charges in September
- North Carolina Legislature De-Funds Planned Parenthood
- India: Evangelist Attacked, Seriously Wounded by Hindu Extremists
- College President's Prostitution Site is Legal
Iran: Pastor Nadarkhani May Face New Charges in September
Christian Solidarity Worldwide has received reports that imprisoned Iranian pastor Youcef Nadarkhani may face fresh charges in September, pertaining to crimes against national security and possibly blasphemy. According to CSW's sources, judges have reportedly received instructions to try Nadarkhani on new, trumped-up charges in order to make his sentence appear more acceptable. A date for the new trial may have been set for September 8, 2012. Nadarkhani is currently facing the death sentence for apostasy, which was upheld following an appeal at Iran's Supreme Court. He was arrested in his home city of Rasht in 2009, soon after questioning the Muslim monopoly of religious instruction for children, which he felt was unconstitutional. His case has twice been referred to the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has yet to issue a final ruling. Nadarkhani has been offered freedom in exchange for renouncing his faith on at least four occasions, but has consistently refused to do so. Without the intervention of Khamenei or Sadegh Larijani, the head of the Iranian judiciary, who have the authority to halt an execution, authorities are obliged to carry out the Supreme Court ruling, which stated that Nadarkhani could be executed if he refused to recant. Sunday, July 8 will mark 1,000 days since Nadarkhani was imprisoned.
North Carolina Legislature De-Funds Planned Parenthood
North Carolina will no longer fund Planned Parenthood, America's largest abortion provider, CBN News reports. Republican lawmakers voted to end all state contracts with private providers of family planning services, overriding Gov. Bev Perdue's veto of de-funding the group for the second time. The move redirects more than $343,000 from Planned Parenthood to county health departments. "Planned Parenthood is an abortion-centered, profit-driven business, not the caring health provider for women and girls they purport to be," said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List. "They neither need nor deserve taxpayer dollars. This budget amendment does not cut a dime of family planning funding. It does protect the consciences of pro-life taxpayers by sending funds to county health departments which do not perform abortions."
India: Evangelist Attacked, Seriously Wounded by Hindu Extremists
Armed Hindu extremists attacked an evangelist who goes by the single name of Baidhar on June 15 in Orissa, India, seriously wounding him, Compass Direct News reports. According to the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), the extremists attacked Baidhar while he was returning home from a prayer meeting at a Christian's home in the village of Mitrapur. Baidhar was bleeding heavily when rescued by Christians and taken to a nearby hospital. When the radicals learned that the evangelist had been rescued, about 50 Hindu extremists mounted an attack on 12 Christian families at 8:30 p.m., seriously injuring about 20 of them. They also ransacked their houses and tore the clothes of some of the young women. The Christians approached officials for help, the GCIC reported.
College President's Prostitution Site is Legal
A New Mexico state judge has ruled that a prostitution website run by two elderly professors is legal, WORLD News Service reports. Former University of New Mexico president F. Chris Garcia, 71, is accused of helping David C. Flory, 68, a retired physics professor from Fairleigh Dickinson University in Madison, N.J., run the prostitution website "Southwest Companions." According to investigators, the website promotes prostitution, but judge Stan Whitaker ruled that the site, an online message board and an online user account owned by Garcia did not comprise a "house of prostitution" as defined by state law. Whitaker also ruled the website could not be considered a place where "prostitution is practiced, encouraged or allowed." Investigators said the website had 14,000 members, including 200 prostitutes. Members could pay as little as $200 for a sexual act and up to $1,000 for a full hour with a prostitute. All transactions were completed with cash, not through the website itself, police said. Garcia and Flory were arrested in June 2011 on charges of promoting prostitution, and Flory is accused of purchasing the website in 2009.
Publication date: July 6, 2012