Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- Hundreds of Chinese Christians Wounded, Arrested As Large House Church Destroyed
- Hopegivers Sends First Ever Team to Haiti
- Pope Repeats Calls for Mideast Cease-fire, Cites Deaths of Children
- Gibson's Career Safe Despite Recent Incident, Says Christian Media Critic
Hundreds of Chinese Christians Wounded, Arrested As Large House Church Destroyed
According to ASSIST News Service, a large house church building was destroyed and many Christians were arrested and wounded during a confrontation on the afternoon of July 29 in the Chinese Provibce of Zhejiang. Eyewitness reports provided to China Aid Association (CAA) indicated the destruction of the church building started at 2:30 PM, July 29. CAA says several thousand anti-riot police, military police and government workers along with three hundred military vehicles arrived and surrounded the church building at 1:30 PM while 10,000 House Church Christians were praying in the church. The church has been under construction since July 17, 2006 and was almost complete when it was destroyed. Eyewitnesses reported that the police used electric shock batons and anti-riot shields to disperse thousands of Christians. Several hundred Christians were observed to be beaten and some were arrested and taken away by police while they attempted to protect their church building. Rev. Bob Fu, the President of China Aid, said, “The international community should hold the Zhejiang government accountable for their religious persecution record.”
Hopegivers Sends First Ever Team to Haiti
From August 6-11, a Hopegivers-sponsored mission team will visit Pastor Willio Joseph’s orphanage for abandoned, orphaned or at-risk children in Ouanaminthe, Haiti. ASSIST News Service reports their goal will be to survey the need in northeast Haiti and bring much needed aid and supplies to Pastor Willio’s 17 children. The team plans to bring medicine, shoes, sports equipment, books and toys for the children. “We are all very excited about this new project in Haiti. Pastor Willio is running a model Hope Home but is in great need; we look forward to helping in any way we can,” said Hopegivers Executive Director Michael Glenn. Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. According to USAID, it is home to at least 1.2 million orphans or abandoned children. AIDS has ravaged the country of eight million, and 5,000 new babies are born infected every year.
Pope Repeats Calls for Mideast Cease-fire, Cites Deaths of Children
Pope Benedict XVI renewed his appeal for an immediate cease-fire in the Middle East, saying nothing could justify the shedding of innocent blood, particularly the blood of so many children, Catholic News Service reports. Three days after an Israeli air raid in Qana, Lebanon, led to the deaths of 56 civilians, including at least 37 children, Pope Benedict asked people attending his Aug. 2 general audience at the Vatican to continue "to pray for the dear and martyred region of the Middle East. Our eyes are filled with the chilling images of people's bodies -- especially children's -- torn apart. I am thinking particularly of Qana in Lebanon. "I want to repeat that nothing can justify the spilling of innocent blood, no matter which side does it," the pope said. Pope Benedict again asked the international community "and those most directly involved in this tragedy" to move quickly to create the conditions needed for a "definite political solution of the crisis."
Gibson's Career Safe Despite Recent Incident, Says Christian Media Critic
AgapePress reports that a well-known media critic says Mel Gibson's recent arrest for drunk driving may not have a long-term impact on his influence on Hollywood. Last Friday, Gibson was arrested by Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputies for driving while intoxicated. Gibson reportedly made a number of anti-Semitic remarks, claiming that the Jews were responsible for all the wars in the world. The actor has since twice apologized publicly and entered a rehabilitation program to deal with alcohol abuse. Ted Baehr, founder of MovieGuide and chairman of the Christian Film and Television Commission, says while Gibson's actions are deplorable, they probably will not end his career or influence. Baehr believes that Gibson's success with The Passion will overshadow his arrest and controversial remarks.