Religion Today Summaries - May 19, 2010

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - May 19, 2010

Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.

In today's edition:

  • Abducted Missionary Children in Yemen Released
  • Case against 'Homosexuality Is Sin' Preacher Dropped
  • U.S. Volunteer Released in Haiti after 15 Weeks
  • Young Christian Dies In Eritrea Prison Camp

Abducted Missionary Children in Yemen Released

ASSIST News Service reports that two children of a kidnapped German Christian family are free. The family had been abducted in North Yemen by Shiite rebels 11 months ago. German foreign minister Guido Westerwelle confirmed press reports Saudi Arabian security forces had managed to release the two children. The family, including 6-year-old Lydia and 4-year-old Anna, had been abducted in North Yemen by Shiite rebels 11 months ago. The fate of their parents Johannes and Sabine Hentschel, both 38, is uncertain. Their son Simon, 2, is believed to be dead. The family and a British engineer were kidnapped during an outing near Saada in North Yemen. They were with two German Bible school students and a South Korean teacher, who were found murdered on June 12, 2009. The nine Christians had been working at the Al Jumhuri hospital in Saada.

Case against 'Homosexuality Is Sin' Preacher Dropped

The Christian Post reports that a street preacher who was arrested for saying homosexuality is a sin will walk free in the U.K. Charges against Dale Mcalpine were dropped last week after crown prosecutors reviewed the evidence. "It was a ridiculous charge, I should never have been arrested," the 42-year-old preacher said. "I'm relieved that they have seen sense." Mcalpine was approached by a gay community support officer after he had been preaching. Three other officers backed his arrest. Mcalpine says he did not publicly preach on the issue of homosexuality, but did answer a question about it from a passerby. The Christian Institute, a religious freedom watchdog in the U.K., says they may still take legal action on Mcalpine's behalf to ensure similar incidents do not occur.

U.S. Volunteer Accused of Trafficking Released in Haiti

Baptist Press reports that U.S. volunteer Laura Silsby has been released by Haitian authorities after a court conviction May 17. Silsby was convicted May 17 of arranging to transport 33 children out of Haiti in late January, following the Jan. 12 earthquake that ravaged the Caribbean country. Silsby was leading a group of 10 Baptist volunteers who were detained by authorities for allegedly failing to obtain the needed documentation to transport the children to an orphanage that was being started in the Dominican Republic. Silsby, who had completed 15 full weeks in prison, was released for the time she had served and was free to leave the country. Eight others in the group were freed in mid-February and the ninth was released in early March. The other members of the trip still face similar charges.

Young Christian Dies In Eritrea Prison Camp

Worthy News reports that a young Christian woman has died in one of Eritrea's military prison camps after she was allegedly denied medical treatment for malaria and severe anemia. Senait Oqbazgi Habta, 28, died April 23 in the Sawa Military Training Centre in Eritrea. She had been detained there for two years for attending a Bible study group with 15 other university students, said persecution watchdog Open Doors. She and other students were imprisoned in large metal shipping containers where they suffered suffocating heat during the day and freezing temperatures at night. "Our local sources say that Habta was offered freedom and medical care in exchange for abandoning het Christian faith. She refused and paid the ultimate price as she died because of that decision," added Open Doors spokesman Jan Vermeer.

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