Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- Obama Plans Proclamation, Not Event, for National Day of Prayer
- China: 18 Christians Arrested in Henan Province
- Christians Tweet to Donate Drinking Water
- U.S. Military Rejects Allegations of Trying to Convert Afghans
Obama Plans Proclamation, Not Event, for National Day of Prayer
Religion News Service reports that the Obama administration says it will issue a proclamation marking the National Day of Prayer on Thursday (May 7), but appears to be moving away from the White House ceremonies hosted by former President George W. Bush. "President Obama is a committed Christian and believes that we should be engaging Americans of faith in efforts to renew our country," a White House official said. During Bush's eight years in office, prominent evangelicals, including National Day of Prayer Task Force chairman Shirley Dobson, and her husband, Focus on the Family founder James Dobson, gathered each year for an East Room ceremony on the first Thursday in May. Obama returns to the traditional method Reagan, George H.W.
Bush and others followed by signing the proclamation.
China: 18 Christians Arrested in Henan Province
ASSIST News Service reports that a dozen Public security Bureau (PSB) officers raided a house in China's Henan Province on April 30 and took away 18 believers. Sixteen are still being held. According to ChinaAid (www.ChinaAid.org ) a group of house church Christians and leaders from the house church group China Gospel Fellowship (CGF) were gathered for a communion service at a house church in Xinye city, Henan province, when they were raided by PSB officers. All 18 were forced to pay a 1,000 yuan (about US $150) fine. Ten of those still in custody are pastors from Hubei province. China's unregistered house churches face frequent intervention from China's totalitarian authorities.
Christians Tweet to Donate Drinking Water
The Christian Post reports that humanitarian efforts going viral this May. Hundreds of people on social networking sites and blogs joined the "5 Days in May" initiative for a new kind of mission effort. "Simply put, 5 Days in May is an opportunity to drink nothing but water for the first five days in May and then, as a celebration, give what you would have spent on other drinks to give water to people who do not have clean drinking water," Shawn Wood, Experiences Pastor at Seacoast Church in South Carolina, told Collide magazine. He launched the initiative solely on social networks like Facebook and Twitter, and ending up with hundreds of followers across the Web. Participants began the effort on May 1, and concluded yesterday. "Here it is Cinco de Mayo and I'll be drinking water all day ... But it is so worth it," "scbubba" tweeted Tuesday.
U.S. Military Rejects Allegations of Trying to Convert Afghans
OneNewsNow reports that an American soldier's alleged efforts to evangelize locals around his base in Afghanistan have been stopped. The U.S. military said it has confiscated and destroyed the Bibles belonging to the soldier, who reportedly received the Bibles from his church in America. This follows a segment on Qatar-based Al Jazeer television that showed soldiers at a Bible class on base with a stack of Bibles translated into the native Pashto and Dari languages. The Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, told a Pentagon briefing Monday that the military's position is that it will never "push any specific religion."