Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- Uzbekistan Police Raid Church Feeding Homeless
- Britain's Christians Alarmed over Street Preacher's Arrest
- Fla. School District Sued over Prayer Constraint
- Poll: U.S. Catholics Unsatisfied with Abuse Response
Uzbekistan Police Raid Church Feeding Homeless
Worthy News reports that police detained dozens of Christians in Uzbekistan on April 21. Officials also broke up a Protestant youth conference and raided a church center feeding the homeless. Police said all events were alleged violations of local regulations. According to religious rights group Forum 18, 43 people were taken to a police station and recorded, and two church leaders may be charged with "violation of the procedure for holding mass events" and "violation of the law on religious organizations." Police reportedly said that the NSS secret police had led the raid following information from an alleged "anti-terror" raid on a birthday party where ten Pentecostals - eight of them pensioners - were apparently fined 100 times the minimum monthly salary in Tashkent's Sergeli District on March 12.
Britain's Christians Alarmed over Street Preacher's Arrest
Christian Today reports that Christians in Britain are worried that the arrest of a street preacher in Cumbria may lead to more restrictions on religious freedom in the UK. A part-time police officer arrested Dale McAlpine in his home town of Workington, in Cumbria, last month for publicly saying that homosexuality is a sin. McAlpine says he included homosexuality in a larger list of sins listed in the Bible in a conversation with a passerby, and did not publicly preach on the subject. Former Catholic Herald editor Cristina Odone condemned the event in the UK Telegraph, calling McAlpine's arrest part of a "new inquisition." "Fuelling the inquisitors is a vicious secularism that allows no tolerance for views based on Christian values," she said. "A civilized, tolerant society requires negotiation between... a preacher's right to proclaim his beliefs and a gay's freedom to live out her sexuality."
Fla. School District Sued over Prayer Constraint
The Christian Post reports that a Christian legal defense group is suing a Florida school district for "persistent and widespread" restrictions on religious expression. The Santa Rosa County School District agreed to a Consent Degree drafted by the ACLU that restricted religious expression by students last year. This followed a lawsuit by the ACLU against Pace High School, when two students claimed religion was promoted too much at the school. "Students can no longer say ‘God Bless,' teachers must hide in closets to pray, parents cannot communicate frankly with teachers, volunteers cannot answer any questions regarding religion, Christian groups cannot rent school facilities for private religious function benefiting students, and pastors are dictated how they can and cannot seat their audience at private, religious baccalaureate services held inside their own houses or worship," Liberty Counsel said in a statement.
Poll: U.S. Catholics Unsatisfied with Abuse Response
Religion News Service reports that nearly three-quarters of U.S. Catholics believe the Vatican tried to cover up clergy sex abuse, according to a new poll. A majority says Pope Benedict XVI has handled recent reports of past abuse poorly, but less than 10 percent have considered leaving the Catholic Church over the issue. The Vatican has been besieged by criticism in recent months that top officials, including the future pope, mishandled cases of clergy sex abuse, allowing abusers to work in parishes with children, or stalling for years before defrocking serial molesters. A New York Times/CBS News poll published on May 4 shows that less than one in three U.S. Catholics gave the Vatican good marks on the scandal, and 74 percent said the Vatican tried to cover up the problem in the past. As for the scandal's causes, less than one in three said mandatory celibacy for priests was a major factor - 28 percent said it was a minor factor, and 35 percent say it was not a factor at all.