Religion Today Summaries, December 17, 2002

Religion Today Summaries, December 17, 2002

In Today's Edition:

  • U.S Resumes Human Rights Dialogue with China
  • Kentucky Denies Scholarship Funds to Students Who Study Religion, Lawsuit Filed 
  • Boys Credit God for Icy River Rescue
  • Indonesia Plans to Close Refugee Camps for Christians

U.S Resumes Human Rights Dialogue with China

(ASSIST News) A U.S. delegation headed by U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, Mr. Lorne W. Craner is headed back to China to resume human rights discussions with the Chinese Government in Beijing.  Appeals have been made to Mr. Craner to raise the issue of religious freedom, particularly pastor Gong's case, with the Chinese authorities.  It is to be hoped that the subject of the status and treatment of North Korean defectors in China will also be discussed.  South Korean missionary, Choi Bong-il (54), and six other North Korean and Chinese citizens are presently on trial in China on charges of smuggling seventy North Korean refugees into China.  Joseph Choi (47), a Korean-American missionary, has been under detention in Yanbian since May on charges of assisting North Korean refugees.  Hopefully Mr. Craner can make a strong case for the absolute necessity of the fundamental right to religious freedom, because as Mr. Craner leaves Beijing, North Korean leader Kim Jong-ill will fly in to seek aid, and advice from China's leaders on how to improve relations with the international community.  www.assistnews.net

Kentucky Denies Scholarship Funds to Students Who Study Religion, Lawsuit Filed

The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) filed suit in federal court charging the state of Kentucky with religious discrimination by prohibiting state scholarship funds to be used by students who pursue a degree in religious studies.  State policy specifically states that Kentucky may not grant financial assistance to a student who is ‘enrolled in a program of study leading to a degree in theology, divinity, or religious education.’  “The state of Kentucky is systematically discriminating against students who want to pursue a degree in religious studies by denying them state scholarship funds,” said Francis J. Manion, Senior Counsel of the ACLJ.  “The state has in place a policy that discriminates against students who choose to pursue a degree in religious studies.  If a student meets the residency and academic requirements needed to receive scholarship funds, those funds cannot be withheld because a student decides to study religion.  Such a policy is not only unfair, it is unconstitutional as well.”  www.aclj.org

Boys Credit God for Icy River Rescue

(Charisma News) A boy who survived a plunge into an icy Massachusetts river as four friends drowned over the weekend said he prayed God would rescue him. "I was scared and cold, but I was hoping that God would get me out of this mess," 10-year-old Jaycob Morales said on NBC's "Today" show, the Associated Press (AP) reported. Jaycob was one of three boys who were saved Saturday after falling into the Merrimack River in Lawrence, a working class city of 72,000 about 25 miles north of Boston.  Another survivor, 9-year-old Francis Spraus, sobbed when asked on the "Today" show about the terrifying moments his friends slipped through the ice. "I thank God that God gave me another life," he said through tears. It was still unclear whether all seven boys had been playing on the ice or whether some walked onto the ice to try to save their friends, who were about 25 feet from shore in water up to 8 feet deep.  www.charismanews.com

Indonesia Plans to Close Refugee Camps for Christians
 
(Mission Insider) Thousands of Indonesia's Christians--displaced from their homes by Islamic terrorists the last three years--face a bleak future in view of the Indonesia government's plan to shut down existing displaced persons camps.  The Indonesian government is in the process of closing a number of the refugee camps, placing thousands of refugees in crisis again.  Their plan is to send most of them back to their home islands.  That is a worthy goal but many of the islands are still dangerous.  Over the last three years there have been two previous attempts by the Indonesian officials to close the refugee camps and send the Christian refugees back to their home islands.  In January of 2002, many families who went back to their homes found that their homes and lands had been possessed by some of the Muslim attackers who ran them off their islands the previous year.  They told of others who were attacked as they went back to their homes and tried to begin their lives again.  Still others were told they could come back to their homes only if they would convert to Islam.   www.christianaid.org


 

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