Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- Chinese Couple Gets Record Fine for Having a Second Child
- Christians March Down Fifth Avenue for Historic Stand in Support of Israel
- Program Pairs Mentor Fathers With Fatherless Boys
- Target Blocks Group's Emails Complaining About Gay Pride Shirts
Chinese Couple Gets Record Fine for Having a Second Child
A Chinese couple who managed to avoid authorities long enough to give birth to a second child were fined 1.3 million yuan ($204,000) after family-planning authorities deemed them "rich in assets," Townhall.com reports. The fine is the highest on record -- and the amount was compounded because the baby turned out to be a girl. According to the South China Morning Post, fines for violating China's one-child policy are equivalent to three to 10 times the average after-tax income of the city where the couple lives or the net income of rural residents, and parents with higher-than-average disposable incomes have to pay more. The high cost is meant to deter people from having more than one child, an official told a newspaper.
Christians March Down Fifth Avenue for Historic Stand in Support of Israel
On Sunday, June 3, hundreds of Christians from dozens of churches around the New York City metropolitan area joined with more than 35,000 participants in the Celebrate Israel Parade, marking the first time in the history of the parade that an evangelical Christian group joined the march down Manhattan's Fifth Avenue, the Christian Newswire reports. Christian participation was organized by the international ministry Eagles' Wings, with the theme of the Christian float as "Israel: God's 'Grape' Promise Fulfilled," taken from Amos 9:14: "I will bring back the captives of My people Israel. ... They shall plant vineyards and drink wine from them; they shall also make gardens and eat fruit from them." Eagles' Wings director Dr. Robert Stearns referenced Israel's current struggle to survive as he spoke of the parade. "We were blessed as Christians to be able to stand with our Jewish brothers and sisters and let them know they will never be alone," he said. Christian participant Anthony DeGuerre, when asked by a local Jewish TV station why he was marching, answered: "The Jewish faith is the foundation of my Christian faith. I stand with Israel because of God's enduring covenants with the people and the land."
Program Pairs Mentor Fathers With Fatherless Boys
As 37 percent of children in the U.S. are growing up in fatherless homes, an organization called Fathers in the Field aims to help fatherless boys ages 7 to 17 by pairing them with mentor fathers from local churches, WORLD News Service reports. Mentor fathers first need a pastor's reference, community reference and background check to participate in the three-year Fathers in the Field program, during which the pairs meet at least four times a month: twice to attend church, once for community service to widows and once for outdoor activities, including hunting, fishing, camping and fixing car motors. At the end of the year, mentor fathers bring their boys, called field buddies, on a three-day trip. John Smithbaker, founder of Fathers in the Field, says the major benefit is the relationship that develops through the activities. By gaining a boy's trust, he says, mentor fathers can tell them about the love of their heavenly Father and the need to forgive their earthly abandoner. Smithbaker mentors 7-year-old Brayden, who lives with his grandmother without a father figure in his life. Brayden's grandma says Brayden now helps around the house, reminds her to pray before meals, and has "learned that it's OK if his earthly dad left," because, in Brayden's own words, his Heavenly father "stays by my side all the time and never leaves me."
Target Blocks Group's Emails Complaining About Gay Pride Shirts
According to the Christian Post, Target has blocked emails from the conservative American Family Association (AFA) after its supporters began urging the retailer to pull its collection of gay pride T-shirts. Target has partnered with the Family Equality Council and is currently supporting the LGBT group with 100 percent of the profits it receives through the pro-gay T-shirts, which are on sale throughout the month of June in conjunction with LGBT Pride Month. Designed by musician Gwen Stefani, the shirts feature rainbows and slogans such as "Harmony," "Pride," and "Love is Love." Half of the 10 designs featured online are already out of stock. When Target began selling the shirts in late May, the AFA sent an alert to supports, asking them to let Target "know that a majority of Americans oppose same-sex marriage and are able to use their pocketbooks to voice their opposition to companies that support it." In a recent update, AFA stated that "Target is blocking emails from the AFA Action Alert system" and asked supporters to contact the retailer though other means: "I hope you will not let Target silence your voice. I encourage you to call their corporate office and share your personal thoughts."
Publication date: June 6, 2012