Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- Robinson Joins Lambeth as 'Friendly Reminder'
- Bush Vows to Push China to Honor Religious Freedom
- Guatemala: Christian Stations Forced off Air
- Catholic World Youth Day Launches in Sydney
Robinson Joins Lambeth as 'Friendly Reminder'
The Institute for Religion and Democracy reports that Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson, fresh from a recently-celebrated same-sex union in his home diocese of New Hampshire, has descended upon Britain for the upcoming Lambeth Conference, a once-in-ten-year meeting of the Anglican Communion. Due to the controversy over his consecration, Robinson was one of a handful of bishops not invited to the conference convened by Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams. Despite this, Robinson has decided to make appearances on the periphery of events and provide what he called a "constant and friendly" reminder of gays in the church. More than 200 conservative bishops are boycotting Lambeth because Episcopal leaders who consecrated Robinson will be there.
Bush Vows to Push China to Honor Religious Freedom
President Bush promised to continue pressuring China on religious freedom issues, he said in a speech Monday, the Christian Post reports. Monday marked the 10th anniversary of the International Religious Freedom Act, which China denies violating in spite of ample evidence. The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom urged Bush on Monday to use his time at the Beijing Olympics to meet with human rights activists and religious leaders to underscore the United States' position on China's buses. "We know President Bush has a strong, personal commitment to the issue of religious freedom in China. We hope he will convey his convictions in tangible ways, not only to China's leaders, but to its people," Commission Chair Felice D. Gaer said. Bush met with Chinese President Hu Jintao during a break in the Group of Eight summit in Japan last week.
Guatemala: Christian Stations Forced off Air
OneNewsNow reports that many Christian radio stations in Guatemala have been forced to go off the air thanks to secular radio's pressure on the government. "Over the past four years, the Congress has received a lot of pressure from the secular radio station owners that they're losing revenue to the Christian stations as Christian stations are becoming more and more popular," one station owner reported. Radio licenses in the country as so expensive that many missions and churches decide to operate on community frequencies, which are similar to the U.S. non-commercial FM band. Stations have recently come under fire from local police, and the Congress has taken no action.
World Youth Day Launches in Sydney
According to the Associated Press, this year's Catholic World Youth Day festival in Sydney wins the title of the largest Christian festival in the world. Almost 250,000 people registered for the event, more than half of whom were from overseas. Half a million people are expected to attend the closing mass on Sunday, which will be led by the Pope. So far the events - rites including Holy Communion, hymn singing and a sermon - have been administrated by Sydney's Archbishop Cardinal George Pell, and Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, a devoted Anglican, also welcomed the pilgrims to the Sydney Harbor. The event opened Tuesday as groups of 168 countries processed to Mass. The festival is a celebration of the Catholic faith aimed at revitalizing the church, and has been hosted by a different city around the world every couple of years since 1986.