Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- Archbishop Urges Redoubled Peace Efforts in N. Ireland
- After Shooting, Ark. Lawmaker Wants Concealed Weapons in Churches
- Graham: U.S. Must Lead in Solving Sudan Crisis
- Christians Still Being Attacked in Orissa, Says Archbishop
Archbishop Urges Redoubled Peace Efforts in N. Ireland
ASSIST News Service reports that the Archbishop of Ireland Monday called for a redoubling of efforts for peace. The Archbishop made his comments after the latest incident of violence happened near Lismore High School at Brownlow when police came under attack while investigating suspicious activity near the school. The attack followed the weekend murder of two soldiers outside an Army base in Antrim. The 'Real IRA' said they were responsible. "The lethal attack on Massereene Barracks leaving two people dead and four injured is deeply distressing and deplorable" Alan Harper, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland said in a statement. "I send my heartfelt sympathy to those who have been bereaved or injured... efforts must be redoubled to create a respectful and inclusive society that ensures that there is no place in our midst for agents of terror."
After Shooting, Ark. Lawmaker Wants Concealed Weapons in Churches
Religion News Service reports that just days after a fatal shooting at an Illinois megachurch, an Arkansas lawmaker said she plans to make a second try to pass a bill allowing concealed weapons in churches. "I have received numerous e-mails and phone calls concerning this wanting me to bring this back, none against it," said State Rep. Beverly Pyle, a Republican. The bill, which Pyle originally introduced on Jan. 29, would remove churches from a list of locations where people licensed to carry concealed weapons can't bring guns. The bill died on a voice vote in committee. State Sen. Hank Wilkins, a Democrat, told KTHV he may change his vote from no to yes. "In light of the shooting yesterday I think there will be a number of legislators who will want to reconsider this," Wilkins said. Pyle says she plans to make some changes to the measure before reintroducing it.
Graham: U.S. Must Lead in Solving Sudan Crisis
Evangelist and humanitarian group leader Franklin Graham urged increased diplomatic relations with Sudan's government last week while urging that government to reconsider its expulsion of 16 aid groups, the Christian Post reports Graham has a long-standing relationship with Sudanese president Omar Hassan al-Bashir, and visited him last week. Graham urged President Barack Obama to appoint a special envoy to Sudan, saying that the U.S. "must take the lead" in ending the humanitarian crisis in Darfur. “I urge President al-Bashir and the government authorities to stop NGO (non-government organization) expulsions and allow those expelled to return,” Graham said. “The displaced people of the Darfur conflict are in a vulnerable position and urgently need the assistance of those organizations.” Sudan's civil war ended in 2005, but the peace agreement between North and South is increasingly fragile.
Christians Still Being Attacked in Orissa, Says Archbishop
The Christian Post reports that Orissa's government has yet to enact adequate protections for Christians in the state, says the Archbishop of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar. Returning Catholic priests "are still not free to move about and the police themselves have recommended they request police escorts ahead of time [when traveling]," Archbishop Raphael Cheenath said. In addition to attacks, he reported multiple instances of discrimination by Hindu extremists. He said extremists have refused to let Christians use public restrooms, and forced women to wear "degrading outfits," the Post reported. Despite government promises of compensation for lost property, the amount offered so far has been far below the actual value of destroyed buildings. Only about half of the 8,000 Christians who fled last year's violence have returned, as many still feel vulnerable.