Religion Today Summaries - July 27, 2005

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk News Staff

Religion Today Summaries - July 27, 2005

Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world. In today's edition:

  • Frist Returns Land To U.S. Panel On International Religious Liberty 

  • Chaos Reigns At Trial Of Three Indonesian Women Charged With Christianization

  • Sri Lanka: Native Christians Threatened 

  • Muslim Extremists Threaten to Kill Christian Family in Nigeria

Frist Returns Land To U.S. Panel On International Religious Liberty
Tom Strode, Baptist Press

Southern Baptist church-state specialist Richard Land is returning to the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, this time as a senatorial appointee. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist of Tennessee has named Land to the nine-member panel, the USCIRF announced July 26. Previously, President Bush had appointed Land to the commission for two terms totaling three years. Land completed his second term in September 2004. Land's new appointment to the panel is effective immediately. After being off the USCIRF for a year, the president of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission returns to the panel to replace Michael Young, who had served on the commission since it began in 1999. The USCIRF, which is a nonpartisan panel appointed by the president and members of Congress, researches the status of religious liberty in other countries and provides reports and recommendations to the White House and legislators. Land said he was "both humbled and honored" at the appointment by Frist. "There is no work our government is doing that is more important and of which Americans should be more proud than the work we are doing through the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom to stand up for the universal right of the individual's freedom of conscience in matters of faith," Land said.

Chaos Reigns At Trial Of Three Indonesian Women Charged With Christianization
Charisma News Service & Assist News Service

Three Christian women are on trial in Haurgeulis, Indramayu, Indonesia, for allegedly converting Muslim children to Christianity. Rebekka Zakaria, Eti Pangesti and Ratna Bangun were arrested on May 13. If convicted, they could each face a prison sentence of up to five years and a fine the equivalent of $103,600. The trial began in the Indramayu District Court on Thursday, June 30, and is only in session for two hours a week, continuing each Thursday until a verdict is reached. Observers say the trial has been marked by boisterous disturbances. A Jubilee Campaign report says: "The trial has been marred from the beginning by boisterous Muslim protestors calling for the conviction, even the execution, of the women. The women were denied bail and remain in prison as their court case proceeds. Zakaria is the pastor of the Christian Church of David's Camp in the small town of Harguelis, located in Indramayu District, West Java. The women of the church set up a "Happy Sunday" program, with Christian songs, games and Bible study for the children. Bangun and Pangesti ran the program under the direction of Zakaria. A guilty verdict in this case could have serious ramifications in a country that has already seen a great deal of inter-religious violence in recent years, Jubilee Campaign stated. ( & (

Sri Lanka: Native Christians Threatened
Christian Aid Mission

A native ministry leader in Sri Lanka recently wrote Christian Aid about a 55-year-old Christian widow who has been leading prayer meetings in her home: "She lives with her two children in an area that is 99 percent Buddhist. A local Buddhist organization has come to her house and warned that she can't have any prayers or meetings there, and has banned any outsiders from visiting, especially her pastor. "One day, a policeman took her to the station and threatened her, saying that he learned from the Buddhist monks that she was trying to convert Buddhist people of that area. He told her that, if she wants to survive, she must stop all Christian activities." Her situation remains precarious, as do those of many Christians in Sri Lanka. The island country has seen a sharp rise in persecution in recent years. Attacks on churches and individuals by mobs of angry citizens, often spurred on by radical Buddhist monks, are becoming increasingly common. Please pray for Christians in Sri Lanka, and particularly for the Christian widow under threat.

Muslim Extremists Threaten to Kill Christian Family in Nigeria
Compass Direct

A band of Muslim extremists has pronounced a death sentence on a Christian family and assaulted the father because his daughter allegedly sold pork, contrary to strict Islamic law. The militants came to the family patriarch's home in Ikorodu, Lagos state, looking for his 16-year-old daughter, Bridget Osagie, on July 15. Not finding her, they beat her 57-year-old father, Emma Osagie. The Osagie family denies that Bridget sold pork -- at the time of the original allegation in 1993, she was just 4 years old -- against Sharia  law. In any event, Sharia is not in effect in Lagos state. Osagie has reported the assault to police and petitioned the Nigerian government, but officials have done nothing. The extremists vowed to return.