Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- Christian Woman Sentenced to Death in Pakistan for Blasphemy
- Episcopal Church's First Gay Bishop to Retire
- Missionary in Nepal Badly Beaten
- Right to Sue Taken Away from Chinese Church
Christian Woman Sentenced to Death in Pakistan for Blasphemy
Christian Today reports that the mother of two has become the first Christian woman in Pakistan to be sentenced to death for blasphemy. Asia Bibi was sentenced on Sunday evening for events that happened in June 2009, when she debated several Muslim women who pressured her to renounce her faith. Bibi reportedly spoke of how Jesus had died on the cross for the sins of mankind and asked the Muslim women what Muhammad had done for them. "Pakistan has crossed a line in passing the death sentence on a woman for blasphemy," said Andy Dipper, Release International's chief executive. "Although Asia has great courage, her dreams of release have vanished now. Please pray for her encouragement, strength and protection."
Episcopal Church's First Gay Bishop to Retire
Bishop V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire says he will retire in 2013, but conservative Anglicans say his retirement does not change the fact that the Church has chosen to "walk apart," Christian Today reports. Robinson, 63, was the first openly gay bishop elected in the Episcopal Church, tipping the scales in a brewing theological controversy in the Anglican Communion. Robinson cited death threats and continual stress as the reason for his resignation. "While I believe that these attitudes, mostly outside the diocese, have not distracted me from my service to you, I would be less than honest if I didn't say that they have certainly added a burden and certain anxiety to my episcopate," he said.
Missionary in Nepal Badly Beaten
Six men attacked and brutally beat a Gospel for Asia-supported missionary October 17 in Nepal. The men accused Indra Rai Waglan of blasphemy against their traditional gods, according to Gospel for Asia. They also accused him of forcing all the members of two families to convert to Christianity. Waglan and an elderly believer were traveling to a neighboring village to conduct a prayer meeting when the attack happened. His attackers left him unconscious beside the road with broken ribs and severe bruising. The police have identified and charged six men with the attack. Their case is now before the court.
Right to Sue Taken Away from Chinese Church
China Aid reports that Changchunli Church will not be allowed to defend itself in court as municipal government tries to take their property. The church formally submitted a statement of civil indictment at Shizhong District People's Court in Ji'nan, demanding the court invalidate an agreement allowing their church to be demolished. The court, however, quickly informed the church that it will not file a case on their indictment, saying the matter falls outside its jurisdiction. Lawyers consulted in the matter say that the two defendants in this case have already reached a demolition and removal agreement, but the agreement reached between them actually harms the interests of the third party. Therefore, they have the right to submit the lawsuit. Yet, the judge in the Case Filing Department said, "This lawyer does not have the final say here; the court has the final say."