Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- U.S. Appeals Court Votes against Okla. Commandments Display
- Ky. Minister under Fire for Guns at Church Event
- Police Shut Down Tribal Church in Karnataka, India
- Hezbollah's Election Challenge Fails in Lebanon
U.S. Appeals Court Votes against Okla. Commandments Display
Christian Post reports that a Ten Commandments monument on county courthouse property violates the Constitution because of who put it there, an appeals court said. The U.S. 10th Circuit of Appeals ruled 3-0 that the monument on the courthouse lawn in Stigler, Okla., has the "primary effect of endorsing religion" to the "reasonable observer." Haskell County resident Mike Bush had raised $2,000 in private funds to pay for the eight-foot tall and three-foot wide monument, and most people would be aware of his "religious motivations," the court said. Haskell County officials have allowed citizens to erect monuments on the lawn for years, and gave Bush approval for the Ten Commandments monument.
Ky. Minister under Fire for Guns at Church Event
Religion News Service reports that Pastor Kenneth Pagano of New Bethel Church in Louisville, Ky., set off a firestorm of criticism after asking parishioners to bring unloaded firearms to church. Pagano's Pentecostal church will host an event, dubbed an "Open Carry Celebration," on June 27 to celebrate the Fourth of July and the First and Second Amendments; the latter upholds the right to bear arms. With handguns secured in holsters, attendees can expect picnic food, patriotic music and a gun safety presentation. Pagano, a certified concealed weapons instructor and former Marine, promises tight security to ensure safety. He envisioned the outreach event as a way to "touch our community and attract people who don't normally attend church."
Police Shut Down Tribal Church in Karnataka, India
ASSIST News Service reports that a newly built Indian Apostolic church was forcefully locked up by police in a village in Karnataka state on Sunday. According to the Global Council of Indian Christians, the police disrupted the Sunday service claiming the church was opened with an “illegal license.” The church's Web site said it had recently been built and was going to be dedicated on May 29 with permission from the Panchayat (Village Administration). After obtaining permission, however, the pastor and other believers were interrupted by the Panchayat president and Hindu radicals. The president refused to acknowledge the previous permissions, saying no churches were being allowed in the village since they engaged in “conversion activities.”
Hezbollah's Election Challenge Fails in Lebanon
Mission News Network reports that while Hezbollah still wields influence in Lebanon's government, a more friendly coalition has the reins of power. Christians are thankful for the unexpected defeat of Hezbollah in last week's elections. "That there is peace in the country and that the losing side seems to be accepting the results, is really a wonderful thing for that country that's been so divided," said David Harder with SAT-7, a Christian television satellite ministry to the Middle East and North Africa. The predominantly Sunni, Christian and Druze alliance won 71 seats in the 128-member parliament. "That coalition led by Prime Minister Hariri has a more Western outlook and has been supported by a majority of Christians within the country," Harder said.