Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- Egypt Rebuffs U.S. Religious Freedom Report
- UK Christians Worry about Implications of New Equality Laws
- Catholic University's Hosting of 'Pro-Choice' Kerry Sparks Controversy
- Hindu Extremists Plan Assaults in Karnataka, India
Egypt Rebuffs U.S. Religious Freedom Report
Egypt has denounced a U.S. report on the African nation’s worsening condition of religious freedom, reports Compass Direct News. The State Department’s annual International Religious Freedom Report, released on September 14, says that within the past year the Egyptian government’s respect for religious freedom had “declined.” Harsh treatment of converts from Islam to Christianity, ongoing difficulties building churches and official discrimination against the country’s Baha’i minority topped the report’s list of violations. A spokesman for Egypt’s foreign ministry said he regretted “fallacies” in the report, according to semi-official daily al-Ahram on Monday (September 17). The official did not elaborate on any of the report’s purported mistakes.
UK Christians Worry about Implications of New Equality Laws
According to CNSNews.com, Christian groups in the United Kingdom are warning that proposed new equality laws could wreak havoc on British churches and lead to the further secularization of society. As part of its efforts to streamline decades' worth of anti-discrimination law, the British government is currently drawing up a new Single Equality Bill, which is expected to come before parliament soon. Having studied draft proposals released earlier this year, the (Anglican/Episcopalian) Church of England said in a formal response that the new laws could be twisted and turned against religious charities that operate in the public sector. Though the church approved of much about the new proposals, it expressed concern that they formed part of the trend of trying to achieve religious equality by eliminating belief in public institutions. Andrea Minichiello Williams, a spokeswoman for the Lawyers' Christian Fellowship, said Thursday the proposals could be dangerous. Anti-Christian activists could attend church services and then file harassment suits against pastors who preached sermons that offended them, she said. "What you're going to get is that a church is going to be targeted," she said. "Possibly a big one." In recent years, Williams said Christian groups in Britain had been singled out more, a trend which the new proposals would only exacerbate.
Catholic University's Hosting of 'Pro-Choice' Kerry Sparks Controversy
Former presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) has been approved to speak this year at the Catholic University of America, a decision that has sparked discontent among many conservative Catholics. Catholic University's College Democrats will host Kerry. Although his appearance has been accepted by the school's administration, the College Democrats are still negotiating with the senator's office about a specific date for his speech. "Senator Kerry is a remarkable lawmaker," Mark Arnone, president of the Catholic University of America (CUA) College Democrats, told Cybercast News Service. "His work spans many facets of politics and policy, and I believe him to be an upstanding individual who can speak to many of the issues that are affecting the national community." Kerry's speech will reportedly be limited to his anti-war and pro-environmental regulation views, which Arnone said are consistent with church views. But this hasn't placated some conservative Catholics. Patrick Reilly, president of the Cardinal Newman Society, which works to strengthen Catholic identity at universities, told Cybercast News Service that allowing Kerry to speak was a fundamental violation of CUA's educational mission. "The purpose of a college is to pursue and seek the truth," he said. "And at a Catholic institution there is a fundamental belief that Catholic teaching is the truth. So any activity that would violate that is, in fact, deliberately misleading students."
Hindu Extremists Plan Assaults in Karnataka, India
Christians held a rally in Karnataka’s capital, Bangalore (India), on September 22 to protest a growing number of Hindu extremists attacks in the state and planned assaults on church meetings in Mysore district and other areas. “The Global Council of Indian Christians [GCIC] is in possession of concrete evidence of a conspiracy of the Hindu extremists allegedly belonging to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh [RSS] and the Bajrang Dal, who plan to launch a serial attack against Christians in HD Kotte and different parts of Mysore,” organization president Dr. Sajan K. George told Compass Direct. He said that pastor Yeravasan Kalla Suresh of Ebenezer Full Gospel Church in HD Kotte is in “grave” danger. Two Bangalore-based extremists have been holding meetings in different parts of Mysore, George said, indoctrinating young people in hateful propaganda. “The anti-Christian attacks are alarmingly increasing day by day,” George said. “There have been 70 reported cases of attacks against Christians in the last 18 months.”