Daily briefs of the top Christian news and persecution stories impacting believers around the world.
In today's edition:
- Religion More Important in Poor Countries than Rich, Surveys Finds
- Cuban Church Leader Arrested on Questionable Charges
- Samaritan's Purse Sends Relief Supplies to Flood-Hit N. Korea
- German Catholic Bishops Release New Sex Abuse Guidelines
Religion More Important in Poor Countries than Rich, Surveys Finds
Recently released data by Gallup reveals that religion plays a greater role in the daily lives of people in poor countries than those living in wealthy countries. Christian Today reports that 84 percent of adults in 114 countries say religion is an important part of their daily lives. In countries where per-capita income hovers under $2,000, that figure jumps to 95 percent of people. The percentage plummets in more wealthy nations. In countries where average per-capita income is above $25,000, just 47 percent of people say religion is important to their daily lives. In the United States, 65 percent of people said religion is important to their daily lives. In Estonia, only 16 percent of those surveyed agreed. Gallup said the survey results could indicate that religions plays a "more functional role" in poor countries by "helping many residents cope with a daily struggle to provide for themselves and their families."
Cuban Church Leader Arrested on Questionable Charges
A respected church leader in Cuba was unexpectedly arrested on Monday and taken to a town in Central Cuba where he is expected to stand trial. Christian Solidarity Worldwide believes the charges of "offensive behavior" and "threats" against Reverend Roberto Rodriguez to be false. Those close to Reverend Rodriguez, who is in his late 60s and in poor health, say he became a government target after the organization he led publicly withdrew from a government sanctioned religious umbrella group in the second half of 2008. His arrest was so sudden that Reverend Rodriguez was unable to take important medication with him. It is feared that without it, his health will continue to deteriorate. State security officials arrived at the home without warning on Aug. 30 and forced Reverend Rodriguez to go with them. His family understands that he will be taken to the town of Placetas where he will be put on trial sometime over the next few days.
Samaritan's Purse Sends Relief Supplies to Flood-Hit N. Korea
While the world's eyes are on Pakistan, one relief group is working double-time to reach flood victims in that country as well as North Korea. More than a quarter of a million people in northeastern China and North Korea have been forced from their homes due to massive flooding. U.S.-based relief organization Samaritan's Purse is one of the few groups to achieve a relationship with officials in Pyongyang, providing the group special access. A Boeing 747 filled with medicine, shelter materials, water purification kits and more from the group will arrive today in Pyongyang. "While much of the world's attention is on Pakistan, and rightfully so, the suffering of the people in North Korea cannot be overlooked," said Samaritan's Purse President Franklin Graham, who has visited the country three times. Since 1997, Samaritan's Purse has provided some $12 million in emergency assistance to the people of North Korea, focusing primarily on medical and dental relief.
German Catholic Bishops Release New Sex Abuse Guidelines
Officials and employees of Germany's Roman Catholic Church will now be required to immediately report suspicions of child abuse to the police. According to Religion News Service, the new guidelines from the German Bishops Conference went into effect yesterday. The new guidelines are in response to a wave of scandal that washed over the church in the winter, as dozens of decades-old accusations of physical and sexual abuse of children came to light. "The horrible revelations and experiences of the recent months have shown us that our guidelines of 2002 were not precise enough in all points," said Trier Bishop Stephan Ackermann, who was appointed by the conference to lead a team creating the new guidelines. The previous guidelines had only required officials to report suspected abuse "as soon as possible."