Religion Today Summaries - December 7, 2011

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - December 7, 2011

Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.

In today's edition:

  • China Forced-Abortion Opponent Chen Guangcheng Reported Alive
  • Christians Minister to Earthquake Victims in Van, Turkey
  • Islamic Rioters Attack Christian Shops in Northern Iraq
  • N.J. Hospital Agrees Not to Force Nurses to Assist in Abortions

 

China Forced-Abortion Opponent Chen Guangcheng Reported Alive

Reports in October indicated that Chen Guangcheng, a blind human rights activist who led the fight against forced abortions under China's one-child policy, was killed while under house arrest, but a source who requested anonymity says Chen is still alive and being treated better by guards, LifeNews.com reports. Chen has been confined to house arrest since his release from prison after serving a four-year term for exposing a campaign of forced abortions and sterilizations by population control officials in the city of Linyi. "We are thrilled and relieved that Chen is alive and his health is improving," said Reggie Littlejohn, president of Women's Rights Without Frontiers. "[His] improved treatment demonstrates the power of the collaborative effort inside and outside China to raise the visibility of his case."

Christians Minister to Earthquake Victims in Van, Turkey

Iranian Christian organization Elam Ministries is providing relief to the victims of the devastating earthquake that hit the city of Van, Turkey, on Oct. 23, killing 600 and leaving thousands homeless, ASSIST News Service reports. Van is home to a large number of Iranian refugees, and an Iranian church that was founded by Elam -- the first Christian church in Van for 100 years. The Rev. Sam Yeghnazar, Elam's founder and director, said the church was being used to provide around 100 hot meals a day to earthquake survivors, as well as distributing hundreds of food parcels around the city and working to provide shelter and begin repairs on the city's water system. Amazingly, none of the church members were harmed during the quake, and they "are eager to do all they can to their neighbors who have suffered," Yeghnazar said.

Islamic Rioters Attack Christian Shops in Northern Iraq

Attacks against Christian Assyrian businesses in northern Iraq during the weekend, which local sources said were organized by a pro-Islamic political party, marked the first such destruction of Christian establishments in the Kurdish region, Compass Direct News reports. The attack, in which a group of young Muslim men attacked and burned shops in the town of Zakho, threatens the frail security of Iraq's dwindling Christian population. "[The Kurdish Regional Government] is, for the most part, safe and secure, and all inhabitants enjoy prosperity and security, until now at least," said archdeacon Emanuel Youkhana of the Assyrian Church of the East. "The future is, by all means, bleak for the Christians and other minorities living there."

N.J. Hospital Agrees Not to Force Nurses to Assist in Abortions

The University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey will hire additional staff to help perform abortions after a group of pro-life nurses said they were being forced to participate in the procedure despite religious objections, the Religion News Service reports. "We needed to find a solution that is in the best interest of the patients we serve," said UMDNJ spokesman Jeffrey Tolvin. The 12 nurses filed a lawsuit against UMDNJ in November after their objections to performing abortions were ignored by hospital officials; if upheld in court, the nurses' claims could mean the hospital violated federal law, which forbids institutions receiving federal dollars from forcing their staff members to assist in abortions.

Publication date: December 7, 2011

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