Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- Iraq: Hundred More Christian Family Flee Mosul
- Va. Breakaway Parishes Score Another Court Win
- India Christians: We Were Made Sacrificial Lambs
- Kazakhstan Religion Law Stiffened, to Christians' Dismay
Iraq: Hundred More Christian Family Flee Mosul
CNN reports that the number of families fleeing the city of Mosul climbed to 1,350 Wednesday in spite of police reinforcements to contain the violence. According to Iraqi officials, families remain frightened by a series of 14 killings and numerous threats by Islamic extremists in the past two weeks. Authorities have ordered more checkpoints in several of the city's Christian neighborhoods to secure the area. For many, however, this added security isn't enough. "We are not sure if we will go back again," said one woman who worked as a nurse at a hospital. She and her husband fled to another town with their four children. "We are still waiting for the government to provide us safety." Some reports trace the violence as a response to recent Christian demonstrations for adequate representations on provincial councils. Elections will be held Jan. 31, 2009.
Va. Breakaway Parishes Score Another Court Win
Christian Post reports that a breakaway Anglican parish won its property battle in Fairfax County court on Tuesday, marking another victory for the 11 breakaway churches in Virginia engaged in property disputes with the national and state Episcopal Church. The $1.2 million property was given to Truro Church after it voted to leave the Episcopal Church in 2006 over questions of orthodoxy, and Circuit Judge Randy Bellows agreed that the land was properly deeded to Truro's trustees. "We are pleased with today’s ruling, which found that the intent of Christ the Redeemer Church, a former mission of Truro, was to give its property, a parcel of vacant land, to Truro Church. This ruling confirms that Truro Church owns the land, and that it is to be considered under the Virginia Division Statute, which our congregations have successfully invoked in our defense,” said Jim Oakes, vice chairman of the Anglican District of Virginia, a network of conservative churches. Truro and Christ the Redeemer are members of ADV.
India Christians: We Were Made Sacrificial Lambs
The Associated Press reports that at least 59 have been killed at 50,000 have been displaced after two months of violence against Christians perpetrated by Hindu militants. On Tuesday, India church leaders said Christians were targeted to give extremist groups an advantage in upcoming elections, calling those killed "sacrificial lambs." "A frenzied and well-armed band of political criminals has threatened our community as perhaps it has never been in its 2,000 year-old history in India," said John Dayal, secretary-general of the All India Christian Council. "The sole motive is to gain political advantage in coming national elections," said Dayal. "We have been made sacrificial lambs." The AP reported that only 2.5 percent of India's 1.1 billion people are Christians, while more than 80 percent are Hindu.
Kazakhstan Religion Law Stiffened, to Christians' Dismay
According to Mission News Network, Kazakhstan's Christians may face ever tighter controls under the country's religion law, thanks to amendments being debated this week. "It would, for the first time, explicitly ban unregistered religious activity. It would ban sharing beliefs by individuals not named by registered religious organizations, or without personal registration as missionaries. It would require all registration applications to be approved centrally, and it would pose a wider range of fines on individuals and communities," said Joel Griffith with Slavic Gospel Association. Under the current draft, repeat "offenses" would lead to a religious community being banned. As a result of these actions, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) is closely monitoring the country for violations of religious liberty, which the Kazakhstan's constitution offically guarantees.