Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- Virulent Cholera Outbreak Nears Port-au-Prince, Haiti
- Many Americans Say Churches Contribute to Gay Suicides
- Alleged 'Middleman' Arrested in Malatya, Turkey Murders
- ACLU Questions Sunday Morning Voting at Churches
Virulent Cholera Outbreak Nears Port-au-Prince, Haiti
Months after a massive earthquake destroyed the capital of Port-au-Prince, Haitians now face a particularly virulent cholera outbreak. The Haiti Epidemic Advisory System now says there are reports of additional cholera cases 25 kilometers outside of the capital. "This is extremely worrying. Early reports indicate that many of the casualties showed few symptoms and, in some cases, died within 24 to 48 hours," said Dr. Estrella Serrano, World Vision's emergency response health and nutrition manager. "If the epidemic makes its way to Port-au-Prince, where children and families are living in unsanitary, overcrowded camps, the results could be disastrous." World Vision has sent its water, sanitation and health teams to the region to do full assessments and alleviate problems at overwhelmed hospitals and clinics.
Many Americans Say Churches Contribute to Gay Suicides
CNN Belief Blog reports that two out of three Americans place at least partial blame for the suicide of gay people on churches and other places of worship. According to a survey released Thursday, four in 10 Americans blame churches for giving a "negative" message about people who are gay; and equal number say this contributes "a lot" to negative reactions and perceptions. The Public Religion Research Institute survey followed in the wake of a highly publicized rash of suicides by gay people. Jim Daly, the head of Focus on the Family, said that Christian churches are not to blame. "To violate the dignity of another person, in any form or fashion, is to contradict the very basis of Gospel-centered living," he said. He admitted, however, that "some self-described Christians do not act in Christ-like ways toward those who are different than they are."
Alleged 'Middleman' Arrested in Malatya, Turkey Murders
A court in southeast Turkey ordered the arrest of a suspected "middleman" linking the murder of three Christian men to alleged high-level masterminds. Compass Direct News reports the arrest order came after the testimonies of a former prison inmate and an incarcerated ex-gendarmerie intelligence worker on October 15. Five young men stabbed to death Turkish Christians Necati Aydin and Ugur Yuksel and German Christian Tilmann Geske at the Zirve Publishing Co. in Malatya on April 18, 2007. Journalist Varol Bulent Aral was re-arrested at the hearing. Aral also claimed that there was a higher figure behind him, retired Gen. Veli Kucuk. A second witness, Erhan Ozen, worked for the clandestine Gendarmerie Intelligence Organization (JITEM). He said that as early as 2004, JITEM personnel were planning the Malatya murders and the assassination of an editor.
ACLU Questions Sunday Morning Voting at Churches
Religion News Service reports that the American Civil Liberties Union is criticizing plans by two Iowa churches to host early voting during worship services. "Combining polling places with religious services is an invitation to the abuse of both religion and the civic act of voting," said Ben Stone, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa, reported The Des Moines Register. Satellite voting was held from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. yesterday at Cornerstone Church in Ames, which holds worship services at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. Another Ames congregation, Stonebrook Church, will host voting during the same six-hour period on Oct. 31. Tim Lubinus, global ministry director at Cornerstone Church, said his congregation did not request to hold the Sunday voting but was instead approached by a county official. Brad Barrett, a pastor at Stonebrook Church, defended the plans, saying, "I think the Founding Fathers were intending to keep government from meddling with church, not church from influencing government."