Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- Some Methodist Clergy Defy Gay Marriage Ban
- Burma's Christian Refugees in India Demand Protection
- India Expels Three U.S. Christians for "Proselytizing"
- Moroccan Believers Find Strength in Radio
Some Methodist Clergy Defy Gay Marriage Ban
The Associated Press reports that the tide may be turning in the United Methodist Church on the issue of same-sex marriages. Hundreds of pastors from areas including Illinois, Minnesota, New York and New England have signed statements in recent weeks asserting their willingness to defy church rules that forbid officiating at such ceremonies. Many do so anyway, but have mostly kept silent on their conduct. However, church officials have taken several violators to task in church court. The Rev. Amy DeLong of Oscela in western Wisconsin faces a three-day trial starting yesterday on two charges: violating a church prohibition on the ordination of "self-avowed practicing homosexuals" and marrying a lesbian couple. She defends her actions by saying it is "incumbent on me not to perpetuate [the church's] unjust laws."
Burma's Christian Refugees in India Demand Protection
Thousands of refugees who fled religious and ethnic persecution in Burma protested in India on Monday, seeking the legal protection they still lack. The Christian Post reports that the procession in New Delhi reminded officials that most Chin people still have no travel documents or legal identity, making them easy victims for crime and violence. “Our supreme aspiration” is to “live in our own native place of Chin State with dignity and free practice of our Christian faith, culture and language,” President of Chin Refugee Committee Steven Ral Kap Tluang told Christian Post, as he walked underneath a white banner imprinted with a red colored cross leading over 3,000 Christian refugees. More than 80,000 Chin have fled Burma into India.
India Expels Three U.S. Christians for "Proselytizing"
Indian authorities asked three American Christian women, including a 15-year-old girl, to leave the country after Hindu organizations accused them of attempting to convert non-Christians. ASSIST News Service reports the women were accused of offering them incentives in Alappuzha district, Kerala State. Indian police admitted they do not have any evidence, but they still asked them to leave because the Christian women were getting ready to attend prayer sessions. ICC reported that Asok Kumar, a superintendent of police in Alappuzha District said, “Their tourist visa does not allow them to attend any meeting, including prayer sessions. We were not clear about their intentions. That is why we asked them to leave the country, and they agreed.”
Moroccan Believers Find Strength in Radio
Persecution ministry Open Doors uses many avenues to reach and encourage believers in restricted countries. In Morocco, radio is able to reach Christians who have difficulty finding face-to-face fellowship. “Sadiq, a new believer from Morocco, had requested a visit from our follow-up team after he listened to our program,” an Open Doors worker says. “Our team visited him and he said he had accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior when he was in Europe, but now coming back to his country it was not easy to be on his own. So the group encouraged him and prayed with him.” The program has also connected Christians to legal help when necessary. Morocco's people are overwhelmingly Sunni Muslim; only one percent identify as Christians.