Religion Today Summaries - March 5, 2007

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - March 5, 2007

Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:

  • Escaped Persecuted Church Leader from China Denied Refugee Status in Thailand by UN
  • Billy Graham Television Special Offers Hope in Times of Trial
  • Poll: How Americans View Mormonism
  • Kurdish Christian Child Convicted of Murder in Iraq

Escaped Persecuted Church Leader from China Denied Refugee Status in Thailand by UN

A "severely persecuted" house church leader from Xi’an, Shangxi province in China has been denied protection by the United Nations High Commissioner Office in Thailand, ASSIST News Service reports. According to China Aid Association (CAA), Elder Lei Wensen and his family members were severely persecuted by the Chinese security apparatus for their leadership in the house church movement in China. CAA president Bob Fu said that he received a letter from Elder Lei Wensen asking for help on January 26, 2007. In it, Elder Lei wrote: “Dear Pastor Bob Fu... We are Christians from... China. I want to briefly tell you of the cruel persecution we faced at the hands of the government because of our faith in God... the persecution did not cease. We lost our business, our flat, and had to wander here and there like nomads." A CAA spokesperson said, “After a thorough investigation, CAA have verified elder Lei’s claim that he and his family indeed had been persecuted for their independent Christian faith as House Church leaders in China. We believe Elder Lei Wensen, and his family members, will face harsh persecution from the Chinese government if they are forced to return to China from Thailand under current situation.

Billy Graham Television Special Offers Hope in Times of Trial

As disease, anxiety, and abuse abound, it often seems like there is no hope, and no chance for freedom from the storms that life inevitably brings. The next Billy Graham Television Special, airing March 3-11 in the U.S., offers uplifting testimonies from people who were caught in seemingly hopeless situations and held in bondage to their fear and anger, but who overcame their situations and are now being used by God to encourage others. Jennifer Rothschild tells of how a disease robbed her of her sight and left her completely blind. Larry San Pedro discusses the terrible physical abuse he suffered at the hands of his own father. Eact tells of how their faith in Jesus Christ lifted them out of their circumstances and into a newfound peace. The special also includes hit songs from three of Christian music’s biggest stars. “Religion isn’t going to save you,” says Franklin Graham in his message of hope. “You’ve got to come to God through faith in His son Jesus Christ, and you have to make that choice. God will set you free.”

Poll: How Americans View Mormonism

The Christian Post reports that a new Gallup poll found that Americans' favorable and unfavorable views of the Mormon religion are almost evenly split. 46 percent say they have an unfavorable opinion of the Mormon religion in general while 42 percent have a favorable opinion. Those who attend church regularly tend to have highly negative views of Mormons. Americans who seldom or never attend church are more likely to have a favorable view. When asked what comes to mind first when they think about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, the most listed term was "polygamy" among both parties who have favorable and unfavorable opinions. Those holding favorable views of the Mormon religion also listed "good people/kind/caring/strong morals" while those with unfavorable views listed "dislike their beliefs/don't agree with their doctrine/false teachings." The poll comes on the heels of questions about Mormon presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who has also been invited as the commencement speaker at Regent University.

Kurdish Christian Child Convicted of Murder in Iraq

A Christian child has been sentenced to five years in juvenile detention in Northern Iraq for fatally stabbing her Muslim uncle while he beat her for converting to Christianity, her lawyer said. Judge Satar Sofe convicted 14-year-old Asya Ahmad Muhammad of murder at the trial’s first hearing on February 7 in Dohuk’s juvenile court. Muhammad’s defense lawyer appealed the ruling on February 17, questioning Sofe’s conclusion that the killing had been intentional. “The court should consider Maria’s [Muhammad’s Christian name] case unintentional killing because she didn’t intend to kill her uncle,” Akram Mikhael Al-Najar told Compass Direct News.