Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- Uganda Pastors Chide Rick Warren, Defend Anti-Gay Bill
- Sudan on Brink of New War, Diplomat Warns
- New Zealand Church Stands by Controversial Billboard
- 24 Girls Rescued from Mumbai Brothel
Uganda Pastors Chide Rick Warren, Defend Anti-Gay Bill
The Christian Post reports that a proposed anti-homosexuality law in Uganda has split Ugandan and American pastors. Ugandan pastors late last week demanded an apology from California megachurch pastor Rick Warren after he appealed to Uganda's pastors to oppose the bill. The pastors accused Warren of "very inappropriate (sic) bully use of your church and purpose driven pulpits to coerce us into the 'evil' of Sodomy and Gaymorrah (sic)," the pastors, which include Martin Ssempa, state in a letter emailed to Warren. Ssempa and supporters say the bill is misunderstood, and only extends current rape statutes to same-gender incidents. Warren and others note that they bill would force pastors to report gays instead of counseling them, while inflicting life imprisonment on those found guilty.
Sudan on Brink of New War, Diplomat Warns
Baptist Press reports that Sudan may again face war between northern Muslims and southern Christians and animists unless the international community pressures the government of President Omar al-Bashir. According to South Sudan's top diplomat in the United States, Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth, an estimated 400,000 civilians have died in the ongoing genocide in Darfur and more are threatened by a scheduled referendum in April. That referendum on secession could derail the Comprehensive Peace Agreement that ended a war in which about 2.5 million southern Sudanese people died. International Christian Concern's regional manager for Africa, Jonathan Racho, said, "We are very concerned about the possibility of another jihad against Christians and animists in South Sudan as well as the ongoing genocide in Darfur."
New Zealand Church Stands by Controversial Billboard
Christian Today reports that a "progressive" Anglican church is New Zealand has again posted a billboard that "lampoons literalism," say St. Matthew-in-the-city church leaders in Auckland. The billboard pictures Jesus' parents, Joseph and Mary, in bed and not touching with the headline, "Poor Joseph. God is a hard act to follow." Church leaders say the billboard "invites people to again about what a miracle is." The church, which has labeled Christian conservatives as fundamentalists while supporting openly gay clergy, says it wants to question traditional understanding of Advent. "For fundamentalist Christians, the incarnation is about the miraculous arrival of a baby soon to die and by his blood save us," said Cary in a sermon last Sunday. "For progressive Christians, the incarnation is about the miracle of this planet earth and all life that exists here."
24 Girls Rescued from Mumbai Brothel
ASSIST News Service reports that a joint force of the Indian Rescue Mission (IRM), Mumbai Police and a social activist has rescued 24 girls from a posh brothel in Mumbai, India. Police raided the building on Dec. 17 and a manager and a brothel keeper, while releasing the 24 girls, many of whom are minors. This brothel keeper had been arrested twice for keeping minor girls in the sex trade, but was released, allegedly thanks to her influence and money. The social activist on the case, Anson Thomas, called on the city's Congress House to step up their efforts against trafficking. The girls, who were forced into prostitution, will be sent to government protective homes, after which groups like IRM may apply to bring them into rehabilitation programs.