Daily briefs of the top Christian news and persecution stories impacting believers around the world.
In today's edition:
- Head of Turkish Bishops Conference Stabbed to Death
- Opponents of Jesus Cartoon Take Protest to Advertisers
- At Least 1 Million Take Part in Brazil's Evangelical March
- Haitian Customs Holds Up Buckets of Hope
Head of Turkish Bishops Conference Stabbed to Death
Religion News Service reports that the Italian-born president of the Catholic bishops' conference in Turkey, Bishop Luigi Padovese, was found stabbed to death in the southern Turkish city of Iskenderun on Thursday. "This is horrible news that left us deeply shocked," Vatican spokesman Rev. Federico Lombardi said Thursday, one day before Pope Benedict XVI is scheduled to depart on a three-day trip to neighboring Cyprus. Lombardi said "political motivations" and "other motivations linked to socio-political tensions are to be excluded" in determining why Padovese was killed, according to Vatican Radio. Christians have often complained of discrimination in Turkey, where about 99 percent of the country's 77 million people are Muslim. The Catholic Church there has just 32,000 members. Vatican Radio said Turkish officials confirmed that police were holding a man of Kurdish origins, named only as "Murat A.", as a suspect in the killing of the bishop.
Opponents of Jesus Cartoon Take Protest to Advertisers
The Christian Post reports that Comedy Central is again the center of a religious controversy, this time earning the ire of Christian leaders. The network is developing a new cartoon about Jesus Christ called "JC." "Why does Comedy Central give such deference to Islam while mocking Christianity," asked Tony Perkins, president of Family Research Council, in a teleconference Thursday. "Is it because they confuse the civility of Christianity with weakness?" A new coalition, the Citizens Against Religious Bigotry, plans to write previous Comedy Central advertisers to urge them not to buy spots during "JC." "I believe that as the word spreads advertisers will be concerned," Perkins said. Comedy Central has aired mocking clips of Jesus Christ and God in its other shows, and has also incorporated mocking portrayals of Islam and Mohammed.
At Least 1 Million Take Part in Brazil's Evangelical March
The Associated Press reports that more than 1 million evangelical Christians gathered on Thursday for Brazil's annual "March for Jesus." The event in Sao Paulo draws from hundreds of Protestant churches and is now in its 18th year. The evangelical presence has grown significantly in the Roman Catholic country in the last 15 years. In 1995, evangelicals accounted for just nine percent of the population, while Catholics made up 84 percent. Five years later, evangelicals had climbed to 15 percent, while Catholic affiliation dropped nine percent. The march is organized by the Reborn in Christ Church, whose leaders returned to Brazil last year after being imprisoned in the United States for not declaring $56,000 in cash they carried on a flight from Sao Paulo to Miami.
Haitian Customs Holds Up Buckets of Hope
After languishing in the Port-au-Prince port for more than a month, the first shipping container filled with Buckets of Hope was released by the Haitian government Wednesday, Baptist Press reports. The container, owned by the Florida Baptist Convention, carried buckets of various necessities donated by Southern Baptists across the country. A second container owned by the Florida convention and filled with 41,200 pounds of rice also was released June 2 from the port in Saint Marc, located north of the capital city. Dennis Wilbanks of the Florida convention's partnership missions department reported that the two containers were delivered to their location Thursday. "I shouted for joy," said Wilbanks, who is serving on-site in Haiti.