Religion Today Summaries - Aug. 25, 2006

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Aug. 25, 2006

Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
 
In today's edition:

  • U.S. Missionary Jailed, Deported for Helping North Koreans Defect

  • Demands for Troops, Aid Persist Amid 'Explosive' Situation

  • Phillies Blasted for Promoting Homosexuality, Barring Biblical Views From Ballpark

  • Town in India Plans Ban on Preaching Non-Hindu Faiths

U.S. Missionary Jailed, Deported for Helping North Koreans Defect

AgapePress reports a missionary who was imprisoned for 15 months in China for helping North Korean refugees has been welcomed home to the Seattle area by his family and his church. Rev. Phillip Jun Buck provided shelter and work for North Koreans who fled into China until he was caught and convicted of trying to sneak the refugees through China to South Korea. The 68-year-old missionary was sentenced to deportation and banned from returning to China, although his son says, "It doesn't look like he's going to quit." Buck's daughter says her father led his fellow prisoners to faith in Jesus, just like the apostle Paul. U.S. officials and religious rights activists had agitated for Buck's release.

Demands for Troops, Aid Persist Amid 'Explosive' Situation

Tension is escalating in Lebanon, The Christian Post reports, and it's threatening to undo the shaky cease-fire between Israel and Hezbollah. Meanwhile, the international community responds with calls for peacekeeping troops and humanitarian aid. The relative peace was tested Wednesday when Israeli troops fired into a disputed border region in response to what it said was an attack from inside Lebanon. The Council Parliament of the World’s Religions (CPWR) issued a statement last week proposing four steps toward lasting peace including “immediate humanitarian relief for civilian populations affected together with rebuilding of civilian infrastructure.” Among the active groups working to deliver desperately needed items in Lebanon is World Vision. WV will distribute water, food, hygiene kits and expand child-focused programs and protection, including psychosocial activities and Child Friendly Spaces. Israel and U.N. officials are still hammering out details of the U.N. Security Council resolution and the deployment policy.

Phillies Blasted for Promoting Homosexuality, Barring Biblical Views From Ballpark

A Christian ministry says the Philadelphia Phillies organization is helping to advance the homosexual agenda while discriminating against those who express biblical views on homosexuality, AgapePress reports. For the last four years, the Major League Baseball franchise in the City of Brotherly Love has been sponsoring "Gay Community Night" at the ballpark. In 2003 and 2004, the organization kicked out members of the Philadelphia-based Christian group Repent America for displaying a banner that read, "Homosexuality is sin, Christ can set you free." This year, Repent America representatives distributed gospel literature and engaged in open air preaching outside Citizen's Bank Park. However, the Christian group's volunteers were not allowed to share their message within the stadium. According to Repent America director Michael Marcavage, after pressure from homosexual activists last year, the Phillies changed their banner policy. According to the revised guidelines, the ballpark now prohibits all banners and signs that "bear a message that contains derogatory matter relating to... sexual orientation," and also took steps to bar Repent America representatives from entering the ballpark.

Town in India Plans Ban on Preaching Non-Hindu Faiths

Compass Direct News reports the Congress Party-led government of the southern state of Andhra Pradesh has decided to enact a law banning preaching of any religion other than Hinduism in Tirupati, a “temple town” in large measure under the administration of its shrine. National daily The Hindustan Times reported on Monday (August 21) that the state government had made the decision under pressure from Hindu groups that had “expressed resentment over missionaries preaching Christianity near the shrine.” The daily quoted Endowments Minister J.C. Diwakar Reddy as saying that a bill would be introduced in the state assembly calling for imprisonment and a fine of 2,000 rupees (US$43). The temple administration has jurisdiction over two of the township’s seven hills. The state government plans on bringing all seven hills under the purview of the temple administration.

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