Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- Iraqi Christians Mourn after Church Siege Kills 58
- Police Block Sex Abuse Survivors near Vatican
- Court to Decide If Christian Couple Can Foster Children
- Billy Graham Radio Program Turns 60
Iraqi Christians Mourn after Church Siege Kills 58
Few militants or church members escaped injury or death after a hostage situation in a Baghdad church ended with a raid by Iraqi security forces. Gunman took about 120 Christians hostage during Sunday evening mass, capitalizing on two afternoon attacks that drew attention away from the church, The Associated Press reports. At least 58 people were killed, including 12 policemen and five bystanders, and 78 people were wounded. The attack is the deadliest ever recorded against Iraq's dwindling Christian minority, many of whom have fled the country since 2003. "It was a massacre in there and now they are cleaning it up," said Raed Hadi, who carried his cousin's coffin on Monday morning. "We Christians don't have enough protection. ... What shall I do now? Leave and ask for asylum?"
Police Block Sex Abuse Survivors near Vatican
The Vatican did not veer from its usual practice of banning non-Vatican-sponsored events from St. Peter's Square this weekend, forcing victims of clergy abuse to stage their march elsewhere. About 100 survivors of clergy sex abuse joined the demonstration, which is the first of its kind held so close to the Vatican. Police allowed two protesters to leave letters from the abused at the Holy See's doorstep. The two also left a dozen stones near the obelisk in St. Peter's square to mark a symbolic path so other survivors might know they have company in their suffering, according to The Associated Press. Organizers say the candlelit protest will be repeated until the Holy See takes decisive action to ensure children are safe.
Court to Decide If Christian Couple Can Foster Children
A Christian couple in England may not get a second chance to be foster parents after the couple admitted they could not condone homosexuality. Christian Today reports that Eunice and Owen Johns, who have presented their case before the High Court, applied to be respite care givers for children between the ages of five and 10 in 2007. During a pre-approval visit from a social worker, however, Eunice was informed she would have to affirm a child's identity if the child announced he or she is gay. She responded, "As a Bible-believing Christian, I don't think I can do that." The Derby City Council then halted the application process, setting off a legal battle. "It may not be long before local authorities decide that Christians cannot look after some of the most vulnerable children in our society, simply because they disapprove of homosexuality," the Christian Legal Centre said.
Billy Graham Radio Program Turns 60
Christian Newswire reports that one of Christian radio's longest-running programs hit airwaves across the country 60 years ago this week. "The Hour of Decision" with evangelist Billy Graham, which began as a step of faith by a budding ministry, has grown into one of the most widely distributed radio broadcasts in the world. The program now airs in 55 countries in five languages. Cliff Barrows, who traveled the world with Billy Graham for more than 50 years directing Crusade choirs, has been the program's only host since 1950 and remains its host today. "The Hour of Decision" was birthed in part from a Crusade in Portland, Ore., in 1950, when Mr. Graham and the team raised $24,000 for radio in one evening. It was also through this occasion that the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association officially began in 1950.