Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- Suicide Bomber Attacks Packed Indonesian Church
- Iranian Pastor Refuses to Recant During Trial
- Christian Student Suspended for Saying Homosexuality is Wrong
- Laos Officials Seize Church Building, Convert It into School
Suicide Bomber Attacks Packed Indonesian Church
A suicide bomber attacked a packed Indonesian church Sunday in the city of Solo, wounding at least 27, Fox News reports. It is the latest in a series of attacks on minority religious groups in the world's most populous Muslim-majority nation. The bomber, who was inside the church when he got up and detonated the bomb on his way out, was part of a terrorist network in Cirebon, 185 miles east of Jakarta. Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said he had called for a thorough investigation to find out more about the group, including who funded and led it. "On behalf of the country and my government, I strongly condemn terrorist acts as an extraordinary evil," he said.
Iranian Pastor Refuses to Recant During Trial
According to Christian Solidarity Worldwide, Iranian pastor Yousef Nadarkhani has twice refused to recant his Christian faith during two court hearings this week and will be again demanded to recant at a third trial today or tomorrow; if he continues to refuse, he will be executed. Pastor Nadarkhani was found guilty of apostasy (abandoning Islam) last year and was sentenced to the death penalty by the Supreme Court. The death sentence for apostasy is not codified in the Iranian Penal Code but judges used a loophole in Iran's constitution. Nadarkhani was not a practicing Muslim adult before becoming a Christian, but a court of appeals decided he remained guilty of apostasy because of his Muslim ancestry. Nadarkhani's lawyer made it clear that the repeated demand for recanting is against both Iranian law and the constitution, but the court of appeals insisted the Supreme Court's verdict be applied regardless of its illegality.
Christian Student Suspended for Saying Homosexuality is Wrong
Dakota Ary, a 14-year-old honors student at a Fort Worth, Texas, high school was recently suspended for a day for mentioning to a classmate that he thought homosexuality was wrong, OneNewsNow.com reports. Ary said his comment was only directed at his friend, who was sitting behind him, but his teacher overheard, "started yelling," and sent him to the principal's office. Hiram Sasser of the Liberty Institute said Ary's First Amendment rights were violated and that such attempts of schools to regulate students' thoughts needed to be challenged or they would get worse. Ary's school agreed to revoke the suspension so he could play in a football game, but his mother is fighting for the suspension to be completely eliminated from his record. So far, the school has made no comment.
Laos Officials Seize Church Building, Convert It into School
Authorities in Laos forcibly confiscated a church building because the church had not applied for a building permit, Compass Direct News reports. Christians in Laos often do not risk applying for building permits because it can draw unwanted attention and preempt any chance of building a simple structure, and the country routinely denies such applications. Officials have turned the 212-member congregation's building into a government school and have posted soldiers on guard to keep Christians off the property. The church was just built in April, and its seizure puts at risk about 20 other churches without permits in the same province.
Publication date: September 27, 2011