Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- Japan Relief Effort Still Faces Major Obstacles
- Poll: Majority in Britain Still Christian
- Prospects Dim for Religious Freedom in Nepal
- Concern Over Whereabouts of Iranian Christians
Japan Relief Effort Still Faces Major Obstacles
Progress continues in developing partnerships and training church members for disaster response in Japan, but major obstacles stand in the way of the disaster relief effort, the executive director of Baptist Global Response said March 28. Jeff Palmer, who leads the international relief and development organization, told Baptist Press, "We face... significant challenges in the area of basic logistics: purchasing fuel, acquiring relief supplies in bulk quantities, and things like that." Apart from logistical problems like acquiring relief supplies in bulk quantities, the team also faces challenges of gaining access to the disaster zone, Melancon said. Government permits to access the area via main roads are hard to come by, and navigating back roads is complicated by fuel shortages.
Poll: Majority in Britain Still Christian
Despite Britain's increasingly secular culture, a new survey shows that many Brits still identify themselves as Christians. The Christian Post reports that 57 percent of people called themselves Christians, compared to 35 percent that said they have no faith. Eight percent identified as a faith other than Christian. The poll was conducted by ComRes on behalf of Premier Media Group to coincide with the Government Census this month. “Over half of the UK consider themselves to be a Christian – whether practicing as such, or by having a close affiliation with Christian values and beliefs,” said Peter Kerridge, chief executive of Premier Christian Media. The British Humanist Association has urged people not to check the religious box on Britain's census if they are only nominal believers.
Prospects Dim for Religious Freedom in Nepal
Compass Direct News reports that Nepal's new constitution, scheduled to go into effect before May 28, may not include the right to propagate one’s faith. The draft constitution, aimed at completing the country’s transition from a Hindu monarchy to a secular democracy, contains provisions in its “religious freedom” section that prohibit anyone from converting others from one religion to another. Most political leaders in the Himalayan country seemed unaware of how this prohibition would curb religious freedom. “Nepal will be a secular state – there is no other way,” said Sushil Koirala, president of the Nepali Congress. “Forcible conversions cannot be allowed, but the members of the Constituent Assembly should be made aware of [the evangelism ban’s] implications,” Koirala told Compass.
Concern Over Whereabouts of Iranian Christians
Worthy News reports that three Iranian Christians are still missing after they were detained on March 17. Iranian security forces raided their worship service in the western city of Kermanshah and arrested 10 people. Seven were later released after they signed a paper to never participate in a house church even again. Families of those still detained tried to contact judicial authorities but did apparently not receive any response regarding the Christians' whereabouts yesterday. Iranian Christians said Agents of Iran's Intelligence Ministry used "extremely excessive force to arrest them" and also confiscated Christian paintings, Bibles, DVDs, a computer case and identity documents.