Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- Coptic Christians Call for Three Days of Prayer and Fasting for Egypt's Future
- Obama Calls Planned Parenthood, Thanks Abortion Provider for Support
- Beijing Church Takes Legal Action Against Police for Religious Persecution
- Uruguay Close to Legalizing Abortion
Coptic Christians Call for Three Days of Prayer and Fasting for Egypt's Future
Coptic Christian leaders in Egypt are calling for the church nationwide to unite in fasting and prayer from Oct. 1-3, Open Doors USA reports. On Wednesday, Oct. 3, Coptic Christians are being urged to gather in churches across Egypt to pray for the future of the country, for God's protection, and for the next pope of the Coptic Orthodox Church, who will be chosen soon. "The significance of the call to prayer comes from the desperate urgency we Egyptian Christians feel as we see the developments that are taking place in our country, and the many concerns we have about the future," says a Christian leader who has been blogging from Egypt. "The political, social, economic and religious situation in Egypt today does not indicate we are proceeding towards stability. Just to see the increased influence of Islamist groups has already scared away many Christians and has stolen peace from their hearts. It's indeed a time to cry out in the name of our Father. We need to fast and pray, seeking God's face to shine on our nation, renewing our strength and motivating us to reflect the bright shining face of Jesus to our fellow Egyptians."
Obama Calls Planned Parenthood, Thanks Abortion Provider for Support
Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards recently provided another indication of President Barack Obama's connection to the country's leading abortion provider, according to Baptist Press. In a Sept. 10 tweet, Richards said: "Yesterday @BarackObama called to thank PP for all we're doing. He knows how important this election is for @PPFAQ patients. Let's win this!" Richards was one of 25 speakers at this month's Democratic National Convention who spoke in support of abortion rights, and the Obama re-election campaign has referred to abortion in its TV ads more than any other major presidential candidate in history. Affiliates of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) reported performing 329,445 abortions in 2010, the most recent year for which statistics are available, and received $487.4 million in government grants, contracts and reimbursements in 2009-10.
Beijing Church Takes Legal Action Against Police for Religious Persecution
After more than a year of being barred from worshiping and having its members arrested and beaten, the Shouwang Church of Beijing is taking its case to the courts and seeking legal action against the police, International Christian Concern reports. Although the case probably has little chance of making headway, it hasn't deterred the leaders of Shouwang Church, many of whom have been under house arrest for months. Church members have been detained 1,600 times at 90 different police stations in the last 17 months for trying to meet outdoors after the church was forced from the building it had just purchased for more than $4 million U.S. dollars. Additionally, more than 60 people had been forced to move house and quit their jobs under government pressure. "This is obviously repression of citizens' religious freedom and the church's right to practice its faith," the church's pastor, Jin Tianming, wrote in his application for an "administrative review" -- a legal step that enables citizens to contest government actions -- with the Beijing municipal government.
Uruguay Close to Legalizing Abortion
Uruguay could soon become the second Latin American country to legalize abortion, CBN News reports. Legislators in the Chamber of Deputies decided just before midnight on Tuesday to narrowly approve an updated abortion bill by a 50-49 vote. The new legislation would give women the right to a legal abortion during the first trimester and would decriminalize late-term abortions if the mother's life was at risk or if the fetus would not survive after birth. The changes to the legislation include a requirement that women seeking abortions justify their request before a panel of at least three professionals: a gynecologist, psychologist and social worker. Women will also be required to get advice on abortion alternatives and wait five days to "reflect" on the consequences of the procedure. The Senate will now take up the issue, and President Jose Mujica says he will allow the measure to become law if the Senate approves the changes, which are expected to pass. Cuba is the only other country in the region to allow abortions during the first trimester.
Publication date: September 28, 2012