Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- New Equality Laws Come into Force in UK
- Libya Releases S. Korean Pastor After Months-Long Detention
- Judge Rejects Suit against Religious Language at Capitol Visitor Center
- Hundreds of Youth Attack Registered Chinese Church
New Equality Laws Come into Force in UK
New labor laws that may affect religious groups and charities came into force on Oct. 1 in the United Kingdom, worrying some Christians. The Equality Act consolidates nine pieces of anti-discrimination legislation into one statute and covers areas like pay, gender, disability, and religion and belief, according to Christian Today. Neil Addison, Catholic barrister and director of the Thomas More Legal Centre, fears the law may create some difficulties for Christians. He said that the closure of Catholic adoption agencies showed that the concept of "proportionate" discrimination was "dangerously subjective" and that religious charities may end up having to choose between closure or acting against their will. Addison said religious organizations that do not regard marriage and civil partnership as equal may face "additional pressures."
Libya Releases S. Korean Pastor after Months-Long Detention
Two South Korean men detained since June on charges of proselytizing in Libya walked free yesterday. The two men - identified only by their surnames as Jeon and Koo, a pastor - allegedly violated the Muslim country's religious law by bringing in Christian books and other materials for missionary work inside the country. Libya prohibits evangelism to Muslims. The men's arrest followed the recent expulsion of a South Korean Embassy official who was suspected of collecting intelligence on sensitive matters in Libya. Libya temporarily suspended diplomatic relations after the incidents, forcing South Korean officials to undertake a "painful" negotiation process, The Christian Post reports. South Korea is the second largest missionary-sending country in the world.
Judge Rejects Suit against Religious Language at Capitol Visitor Center
A federal judge has dismissed a suit arguing that engravings of "In God We Trust" and the Pledge of Allegiance at the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center here are unconstitutional. According to Religion News Service, U.S. District Court Judge William Conley of Madison, Wis., dismissed the suit by the Freedom From Religion Foundation on Sept. 29 due to lack of standing. He said the Wisconsin-based organization did not make a sufficient link between their taxpayer status and the money spent on the engravings that included the national motto and the words "under God" in the pledge. "Any funds used by the government will necessarily result in the use of taxpayer money," Conley wrote.
Hundreds of Youth Attack Registered Chinese Church
ASSIST News Service reports that more than 200 young people claiming to be police officers disrupted a meeting of a registered church in China's Shandong province on Sept. 23. The church members were attacked by youths wearing uniforms and police helmets. Sixteen elderly people and women suffered serious injuries, including an elderly person left blind in one eye. ChinaAid said the believers immediately telephoned law enforcement, but officers responded slowly and did not take statements from any church members. Later that day about 300 Christians protested the government's response. Church members and officials previously clashed in July 2008. At that time authorities tried to force the church to sign an agreement forfeiting three-quarters of its land without compensation. That legal battle is still pending.