Religion Today Summaries, July 6, 2004

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk News Staff

Religion Today Summaries, July 6, 2004

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

  • Chinese Woman Beaten To Death After Distributing Bibles
  • India: Pastor Brutally Attacked In Indian Village
  • Group Encourages Protest Against FMA in Churches
  • Taliban Claim to Have Cut the Throat of an Afghan Convert to Christianity

Chinese Woman Beaten To Death After Distributing Bibles
Stefan Bos, ASSIST News Service

A 34-year-old woman has been beaten to death by police after she was arrested for handing out Bibles in southwest China's Guizhou province. The French News Agency quoted China's state run Legal Daily newspaper as saying that police in Guizhou's Tongzi county arrested Jiang Zongxiu, a farmer, on June 18 on suspicion of "spreading rumors and inciting to disturb social order." They had planned to detain her for 15 days, the report said, alleging Jiang died in police custody the afternoon she was arrested. Her mother-in-law, Tan Dewei, who was arrested with Jiang but later released, told reporters police kicked Jiang repeatedly during interrogation. Police later informed Jiang's family she had died of a sudden illness and turned over her body to the family, but relatives saw she was covered with bruises and blood stains. It is at least the second published killing of a Christian by Chinese police in as many months, although human rights watchdogs believe torture of Christians and dissidents is wide spread in the Communist nation. Chinese police officials have refused to comment on the case. An operator manning the phones at the Guizhou police station said she was "not aware of the incident", AFP reported. The unprecedented report on the attack by state media is seen as a sign of public disgust with police tactics and China's continuing crackdown on religious practitioners.

India: Pastor Brutally Attacked In Indian Village
Compass Direct

An Indian pastor brutally beaten in a night-time attack in West Tripura is still recovering from serious knife wounds. Letthang Gangte, a missionary of the Evangelical Congregational Church of India, received cuts to the head and back, and a deep stab wound in the stomach. Witnesses say it was a miracle he survived the attack from as many as 10 assailants who broke through the walls of the family's mud hut around 3 a.m. on April 19. Mrs. Gangte sustained injuries to her head and one arm and the couple's daughter Bebem, 7, and son Bawilun, 10, suffered slashes on their calves and thighs. The family had lived in the village of Rajghat since 1995. Sources think the attack was inspired by the recent propaganda efforts of militant Hindu groups to discourage local tribal peoples to convert to Christianity. The family's sending church requested law enforcement authorities to investigate the crime, but the police refused, saying Gangte must first identify the men who attacked him.

Group Encourages Protest Against FMA in Churches
Jenni Parker, Agape Press

A pro-homosexual interfaith movement is encouraging people of faith all over the United States to protest their religious leaders' use of worship time to promote the proposed Federal Marriage Amendment (FMA). The group Soulforce, which works to end what it calls "spiritual violence" against homosexual, bisexual, and transgender people, is asking people in churches that take part in "Protect Marriage Sunday" on July 11 to stand silently in their pews in nonviolent protest, holding up a message that says, "I oppose the FMA." Members of Soulforce feel the FMA, a much-debated proposed amendment to the U.S. Constitution that seeks to define marriage as "between one man and one woman," would write discrimination into constitutional law. They say they can no longer sit quietly in the pews and do nothing "when the pulpit is used to oppress" homosexual, bi, and transgender individuals and families. The American Family Association (afa.net) is urging church leaders to use sermon and Sunday school class time on Protect Marriage Sunday to preach against equal marriage rights for same-sex couples and to distribute information on how to contact lawmakers and express support for the FMA.

Taliban Claim to Have Cut the Throat of an Afghan Convert to Christianity
Barnabas News Fund

A spokesman for Afghanistan's Taliban guerrillas told Reuters that they had slit the throat of Muslim cleric Maulawi Assadullah on 30 June because he was propagating Christianity in the remote Awdand district of Ghazni province. Speaking about the convert from Islam, Taliban spokesman Abdul Latif Hakimi said, "A group of Taliban dragged out Maulawi Assadullah and slit his throat with a knife because he was propagating Christianity." He said, "We have enough evidence and local accounts to prove that he was involved in the conversions of Muslims to Christianity." Hakimi also warned that any foreign aid workers found to be involved in spreading Christianity in Afghanistan would face a similar fate. At least 33 foreign aid workers have been killed by the Taliban since the beginning of last year. The number of Afghan Christians killed by the Taliban is not known.

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