Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- Anglican Panel Urges Episcopalians to Reject Lesbian Bishop
- Burma's Christian Refugees Face Deportation from Thailand
- Official Chinese Newspaper Publishes Call to Change Religion Policy
- Christian TV Channel in Iran Tries to Reach Protestors
Anglican Panel Urges Episcopalians to Reject Lesbian Bishop
Religion News Service reports that an international Anglican commission has urged Episcopalians to exercise "gracious restraint" and not confirm the election of a lesbian ishop in Los Angeles. The Rev. Mary Glasspool was elected a suffragan (assistant) bishop by the Diocese of Los Angeles on Dec. 5. Glasspool, 55, has been with her partner since 1988, according to a biography she provided to the diocese. In the coming months, more than 100 bishops and standing committees from Episcopal dioceses across the country will vote on whether to give "consents," or confirmation, to Glasspool's election. If she receives confirmation, Glasspool will become the second openly gay bishop elected by the Episcopal Church. The global Anglican Communion, which has discouraged gay clergy for the time being, cannot prevent Glasspool's confirmation.
Burma's Christian Refugees Face Deportation from Thailand
ASSIST News Service reports that more than 70 Burmese children who fled to Thailand after being attacked by a Buddhist militia in June are being pressured to return to their country. Most of the children are Christians, according to International Christian Concern (ICC). On Friday morning, Thailand's border police stormed the Shekinah (Glory to God) orphanage in Mae Hong Son Province near the Burma border, put the names of all the residents on a register and asked them to prepare for deportation, said a worried caretaker. "If the children go back, they will be killed. This should never happen," she said, adding that she had informed the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) about the possible move by the Thai government. In Burma, the country's military junta has tried to stamp out the Karen minority, most of identify as Christians.
Official Chinese Newspaper Publishes Call to Change Religion Policy
Christianity Today reports that a Chinese religion expert has gone on the record in a Chinese newspaper as saying he supports more and better guaranteed religious freedom. Liu Peng called for "an institutional guarantee for the legality and quality of all religions" in China Daily, the official government English language newspaper. In it, Liu estimated that about 50 million people attend house churches, acknowledging the limitations of the state-sponsored church. According to religious freedom advocates, the public article may signal a shift in China. "It tells me that the government is willing to float seriously a major change in religious policy," Brent Fulton, president of China Source in Los Angeles said. "It really is on the agenda. They're seriously looking at a change."
Christian TV Channel in Iran Tries to Reach Protesters
Mission News Network reports that the SAT-7 television ministry in Iran has added new programming in hopes of reaching Iranians tired of government oppression. "Everything in Iran is difficult," SAT-7 PARS Executive Director Sara Afshari said. "Even before the election, many people in Iran had become disillusioned. Some have turned to drugs, immoral lifestyles, and even suicide. This factor has led to an unprecedented interest in finding out more about the Christian faith." As satellite TV, the channels have avoided traditional government censorship. The country has been wracked by protests ever since the controversial June election, which many Iranians believe was a fraud. The government has since cracked down on protestors and Christians alike.