Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- Iran: Christians Could Gain from Friday's Elections
- North Korea: Rights Group Worried about Sentenced U.S. Journalists
- Study Finds Religious More Liberal on Immigration Issues
- Chinese Officials Beat Pastor Because "God Tells Me To"
Iran: Christians Could Gain from Friday's Elections
Mission News Network reports that Christians stand to gain if tomorrow's elections in Iran manage to oust President Ahmadinejad. His opponent, Mir Hussein Mousavi, has won massive support among young adults who reject Ahmadinejad's hard-line Islamic conservatism. "In the future there is definitely the possibility of more openness in Iran. However, the latest indications are that Ahmadinejad will likely be re-elected," said Carl Moeller with Open Doors, a persecution watchdog. Under Ahmandinejad's watch, Christians have become increasingly persecuted, and those converting from Islam have faced severe consequences, as they are considered apostate. "Their hearts are yearning for more freedom. Certainly, Christians are at the forefront of that because they have been the most oppressed,” Moeller said.
North Korea: Rights Group Worried about Sentenced U.S. Journalists
The Christian Post reports that a human rights group continues work on behalf of two American journalists convicted of what North Korea calls “crimes against the state." Christian Solidarity Worldwide has expressed fear for Laura Ling and Euna Lee in the country's "macabre imprisonment system." The group says it has even found "indicators of genocide" against religious groups. Both women face 12 years of hard labor. They are just two of North Korea's estimated 200,000 political prisoners. The United States has continued to call for the women's release. North Korea maintains that Ling and Lee "were detained on March 17 while illegally intruding into the territory of the DPRK by crossing the DPRK-China border."
Study Finds Religious More Liberal on Immigration Issues
The Houston Chronicle reports that those who attend religious services at least once a week are more likely to support a more liberal immigration position. According to a new analysis of a 2006 Pew Hispanic Center survey on immigration views, regular churchgoers were more likely to support some kind of amnesty over immediate deportation. Support increased at much as 7 percent depending on the specific policy. Overall, the Pew survey found 53 percent of people surveyed said illegal immigrants should be required to go home, while 40 percent said they should be granted some kind of legal status that allows them to stay here. The new analysis will be published in the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion.
Chinese Officials Beat Pastor Because "God Tells Me To"
ASSIST News Network reports that a Chinese security official threatened to strangle a pastor and break his legs during a beating after arresting him. On the morning of June 5, Pastor Hua Huiqi was arrested and brutally beaten by police officers from Shaanxi and Fengtai, Beijing as he was transferring trains at Taiyuan Railroad Station. The official also said, "I'm beating you because God tells me to do so. I'll get all the materials ready in three months and arrest both you and your wife for sentencing. ... Our Domestic Security Protection Squad is specially set up here to suppress you Jesus believers." Pastor Hua Huiqi was released on June 7. He is recovering at home, but his activities are restricted by authorities.