Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- Australian State Braces for More Flooding
- Cleric Says Opponent of Blasphemy Laws 'Fit to Be Killed'
- 41 Percent of Pregnancies in New York City Aborted
- Police, Islamists Put Up Obstacles to Worship in Indonesia
Australian State Braces for More Flooding
Australia's Queensland state faced another day of flooding and uncertainty as local rivers threatened to flood more towns, CNN reports. Some places have been isolated by floodwaters for more than two weeks. Residents of Brisbane waited anxiously yesterday to see how much of the city would be underwater when the Brisbane River, which cuts through the city center, reached its peak this morning. "We are preparing for the worst natural disaster in our history," said Queensland Premier Anna Bligh. Nearly 20,000 are expected to go under in Brisbane. At least 10 people have died in the flooding and more than 90 are missing. Authorities have told the state to expect a rising death toll.
Cleric Says Opponent of Blasphemy Laws 'Fit to Be Killed'
Just a week after a Pakistani governor was assassinated for challenging the country's blasphemy laws, a cleric has called for the death of another government official for the same reason. Christian Today reports that the fatwa against former Pakistani Minister Sherry Rehman declares her an infidel for supporting reform of Pakistan's controversial laws. According Xavier Patras William, the acting CEO of human rights group Life for All, Rehman's accuser has ties to the Saudi Arabian government. Activists supporting her have filed a complaint against the imam responsible for the fatwa, but no action has been taken. Rehman has been targeted since she tabled a private bill in parliament to remove the mandatory death sentence for blasphemy.
41 Percent of Pregnancies in New York City Aborted
AOL News reports that the archbishop of New York joined other pro-life supporters Jan. 6 to publicize the Big Apple's shockingly high abortion rate. City health department statistics show that 41 percent of pregnancies in New York City are terminated, with 87,273 abortions in 2009. That's more than twice the national average of 19 percent. "We've got to do more than shiver over these chilling statistics," Archbishop Timothy Dolan said at a press conference. "I invite all to come together to make abortion rare." Black women had far more abortions than any other demographic, followed by Hispanics, white women and Asians. "For the first time in my happy 21 months as a New Yorker, I am embarrassed to be a member of a cherished community I now -- usually with a lot of pride -- call home," Dolan said.
Police, Islamists Put Up Obstacles to Worship in Indonesia
Government officials in West Java Province blocked one church from worshipping, and Islamic groups pressured authorities to seize the property of another during the Christmas season. Compass Direct News reports that the Bogor Regency Administrative Leadership Council tried unsuccessfully to forbid the Indonesian Christian Church from holding a Dec. 25 Christmas service, but authorities did block it from its regular Sunday service the next day. Meanwhile, Islamic protestors occupying a previously sealed church, Huria Kristan Batak Protestant, persuaded authorities to remove pews and other items.