In today's edition:
- Sri Lanka: Asian Evangelical Head Applauds End of Heavy Combat
- Chinese Pastor Released after International Attention
- Study: Many of Non-Religious Adults Still Searching
- Swine Flu Empties Mexico's Churches, Stress
Sri Lanka: Asian Evangelical Head Applauds End of Heavy Combat
The Christian Post reports that civilians trapped in Sri Lanka's war zone can rest from government airstrikes and military action on the region. The head of Asian Evangelical Alliance (AEA) welcomed the government's decision to end combat operations against the Tamil Tigers and focus on evacuating the estimated 50,000 civilians in the region. "Pray that the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) and the government of Sri Lanka will cease hostilities, respect international humanitarian norms, safeguard passage for the evacuation of civilians, and take every effort to minimize civilian casualties by making safety zones and Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps," said Rev. Dr. Richard Howell, general secretary of AEA.
Chinese Pastor Released after International Attention
ASSIST News Service reports that Christian House Church leader Lou Yanqi has been freed by government authorities as the result of international pressure. ChinaAid says that on April 24, Pastor Lou Yuanqi of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region was released from prison under the provision of "bailed out waiting for trial." The provision allows the future possibility of arrest and prosecution, but allows Pastor to return home for now. Xinjiang authorities could not find evidence sufficient to continue his prosecution and indictment. According to family members, Pastor Lou looked fragile, because of the horrible conditions he suffered in prison. He suffers from hepatitis B, and is in great need of medical attention. Pastor Lou was first detained on May 17, 2008 at 1 p.m. in Qingshuihe town, Huocheng county of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.
Study: Many of Non-Religious Adults Still Searching
A new study shows that many adults who were raised in an unaffiliated home later became Christian, mainly because they found themselves searching, Baptist Press reports. The finding is part of a study by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life that examined why Americans change their religious affiliation. According to Pew's 2007 U.S. Religious Landscape Survey, unaffiliated adults make up 16 percent of the population. That same survey also found that, among those who were raised unaffiliated -- a category which includes agnostics and atheists -- only 46 percent remain unaffiliated. That retention rate is far lower than Protestants (80 percent of whom remain Protestants) and Catholics (68 percent of whom remain Catholic). "It does suggest that many people who are unaffiliated and who are raised unaffiliated are open to religion," said Gregory A. Smith, research fellow at the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life.
Swine Flu Empties Mexico's Churches, Stress
The Associated Press reports that the outbreak of swine flu in Mexico City has led the heavily Catholic city to cancel hundreds of public events, including church services. The virus has infected more than 1,300 people since April 13, and has killed 81 of those infected. Public health workers and soldiers have been on the lookout for more cases, walking the subway to watch for potential cases. The city's Metropolitan Cathedral has canceled services indefinitely, hoping to avoid large crowds that might transmit the disease. "We are all Catholic so this is a big step, closing the cathedral," said Johana Chavez, 22. Chavez had planned to be confirmed in the church Sunday. "I guess I'll have to come back later."