Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- Christians in India Faced Three Attacks per Week in 2009
- Recession Triggers Rise in Demand for Foodbanks
- India: Police Interrupt Church over 'Forced Conversions'
- Federal Court Slams Chicago for Zoning Abuse against Church
Christians in India Faced Three Attacks per Week in 2009
Compass Direct News reports that 2009 brought hardly any respite for minority faiths in India. Christians faced an average of more than three violent attacks a week, continuing two years of unprecedented attacks. There were at least 152 attacks on Christians in 2009, according to the "Partial List of Major Incidents of Anti-Christian Violence in India" released by the Evangelical Fellowship of India. The of Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Orissa, Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh all have anti-conversion laws, which Hindu hardliners routinely use to arrest Christians on spurious accusations of "forcible conversion." Southern India, which had long been considered a haven for Christians, recorded the highest incidence of anti-Christian violence. Of the total 152 incidents, 86 were reported from southern states, mainly Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. The morale of Christians in Orissa remained low as few assailants in the 2008 rampage were brought to justice.
Recession Triggers Rise in Demand for Foodbanks
Christian Today reports that foodbanks in the United Kingdom have seen huge rises in demand this year--but have never run out of food. "Churches are looking to their communities, seeing the need and wanting to do something about it," said Adrian Curtis of Festival Church in Wales. The church opened up Ebbw Vale Foodbank last year in Blaenau Gwent, an area hard hit by the downturn in manufacturing. Another foodbank in Inverness, Highland Foodbank, fed 3,400 people in 2009. "It can be people from very low incomes or people who have lost their jobs. We are seeing more and more people coming from situations where they just can't make ends meet and these are people who have come from very reasonable salaries and gone to nothing," said coordinator Lorna Dempster. Remarkably, neither bank has ever run out of food.
India: Police Interrupt Church over 'Forced Conversions'
ASSIST News Service reports that Karnataka state police barged into a church on Dec. 27, disrupting its prayer meeting and accusing the church members of forcefully converting locals. According to the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), police forced the pastor of India People Ministry Church in Karnataka state to stop the church's prayer service immediately. They allegedly threatened Pastor D.M. Kumar of his arrest if he continued to conduct worship or prayer service in this same location. They also accused the pastor and congregation of "forceful conversion" and verbally abused the pastor for conducting a worship and prayer service "without government permission."
Federal Court Slams Chicago for Zoning Abuse against Church
Christian Newswire reports that a federal appeals court rebuked the City of Chicago for clout-laden practices against a small Christian church. On Dec. 30, the three-judge panel of the Seventh Circuit Court of appeals delivered the decision in favor of the World Outreach Conference Center (WOCC). The church claimed Chicago officials violated its constitutional rights by preventing it from continuing to use a 168 single-room occupancy units in a former YMCA building to house Hurricane Katrina victims and other needy people. Ninth Ward Alderman Anthony Beale caused the city council to rezone the property to "Manufacturing" in an attempt to halt the church's mission and make room for his real estate developer friend. The church's attorney, John Mauck, said Chicago officials are "finally getting the exposure their conduct has deserved."