Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- Kenya Heads into Turmoil
- Archbishop Faces Church Synod over Shari'a Comments
- Spurned Suitor Triggers Violence in Nigeria
- Ed Young Disputes Clinton's 'New Covenant' Remarks
Kenya Heads into Turmoil
ASSIST News Service reports that as Kenyan churches are struggling to help prevent the country descending into genocide, they envision a long term healing effort that will require the sustained engagement of international ecumenical partners. This is the opinion expressed by the World Council of Churches in a media release, after violence disrupted the normally pacific country, following what is regarded as a rigged general election on December 27. Thousands of people have fled their homes and are sheltered in about 130 camps around the country. The Government estimate of numbers of displaced people (230,000) is dwarfed by the relief agency estimate of 500,000. “With the country on the verge of genocide, the churches are taking action at different levels,” said Canon Peter Karanja, general secretary for the National Council of Churches of Kenya. “No one [neither side] is innocent, and we are praying for the mediation process led by former United Nations secretary general Kofi Annan.”
Archbishop Faces Church Synod over Shari'a Comments
A report in the Jerusalem Post states that England's Dr. Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, has been severely criticized by fellow Anglicans and is facing growing calls for his resignation over his comments on Islamic Shari'a law. Williams last week said in a BBC Radio interview that the adoption of parts of Shari'a law was "unavoidable" in Britain. However, he has insisted he was not advocating a parallel set of laws. On Monday, Williams addressed the annual meeting of the Church of England's General Synod. He felt some of his remarks had been taken out of context, but took full responsibility for any resulting misunderstanding. The archbishop thanked those who had supported him and said it was part of his duty to "address issues around the perceived concerns of other religious communities and to try and bring them into better public focus." He said his comment posed the question of whether accommodating aspects of Islamic law would create situations in which the law of the land didn't apply.
Spurned Suitor Triggers Violence in Nigeria
A Muslim man’s frustrated desire to marry a young Christian woman resulted in him accusing her of “blasphemy,” triggering violence in Bauchi state on February 2 that left one person dead, seven Christians hospitalized and five churches destroyed. The Rev. Garba Gaius, pastor of the Evangelical Church of West Africa congregation to which the young woman belongs, told Compass Direct News that Paitence Yusuf was at home the night of February 1 when a young man asked her to meet him outside. There he told her he wanted to befriend and marry her. Yusuf sharply declined, Rev. Gaius said. As she walked back into her house, the man, whose identity has not be disclosed, told her, “I beg you in the name of God and his apostle, Muhammad, to please accept me as your boyfriend,” Rev. Gaius said. He said Yusuf looked the man in the face and replied, “You are pleading in the name of a person I do not know. Jesus I know, but Muhammad I do not know.” The Muslim man left, Rev. Gaius said, gathering friends and neighbors that night to tell them that Yusuf had blasphemed Muhammad.
Ed Young Disputes Clinton's 'New Covenant' Remarks
Baptist Press reports that Ed Young, pastor of Second Baptist Church in Houston, said former President Bill Clinton's remarks about him at the New Baptist Covenant Celebration in Atlanta earlier this month came "out of the fantasy file" and were "completely inaccurate." Clinton, during the closing session of the celebration Feb. 1, spent several minutes recounting a visit Young made to the White House in 1993 as president of the Southern Baptist Convention when Young supposedly asked Clinton, "Do you believe the Bible is literally true?" Young, in a letter to Clinton released to Baptist Press, said he was stunned to read the transcript of Clinton's remarks and wanted to set the record straight. "Your comments concerning our visit together were not just taken out of context; the conversation you described never took place," Young wrote to Clinton Feb. 8. Clinton, while talking about the Conservative Resurgence within the SBC, said in his speech that during breakfast on the Truman Balcony of the White House, Young, "looked at me and he said, 'I want to ask you a question, a simple question, and I just want a yes or no answer. I don't want one of those slick political answers. Just answer me yes or no. Do you believe the Bible is literally true? Yes or No?' "I said, 'Rev. Young, I think it is completely true, but I do not believe you or I or any other living person is wise enough to understand it completely,'" Clinton said at the New Baptist Covenant. "He said, 'That's a political answer.' I said, 'No it's not. You asked a political question.'" Young, in his letter, said the most important discrepancy he wanted to correct is that he did not ask whether Clinton believed the Bible is literally true. "I do not believe the Bible is literally, in the normal definition of the word, true," Young wrote. "Jesus said, 'I am the door.' No one takes that 'literally.'"