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Pakistani Christian School Shooting, Church/State Wall, more

Pakistani Christian School Shooting, Church/State Wall, more

In Today's Edition:
  • Six Killed in Attack on Christian School in Pakistan
  • Separation of Church and State Not Jefferson’s Idea
  • Jerusalem Bomber Christian Educated
  • Sudan: All World Vision Hostages Free

Six Killed in Attack on Christian School in Pakistan ... Six people have been killed in an attack on Murree Christian School by unidentified gunmen on Monday, Aug. 5, reports Barnabas Fund News Service (BFS). Details were still emerging at press time, but it appears that two security guards, three school employees, including a cook and a carpenter, and a passer-by were killed. Two of the school employees were local Pakistani Christians, while the other four victims were Muslims. At least three others were wounded in the attack. Reports indicate that no
children or expatriate staff were injured. One mother who was visiting her children was wounded in the hand.

According to BFS, the attack took place around noon local time. Four gunmen entered the school complex and opened fire indiscriminately. After shooting the security guards, they went past the main school office. The headmaster heard the shooting and went to investigate, but was forced to retreat to the office and close the main door. However, one person was shot through the office window. The gunmen then crossed the main play area, which normally would have been full of children on a games morning, but as it was raining, the children were in their classrooms. After exchanging fire with local police, the attackers fled into nearby woods.

Murree Christian School is situated in the Himalayan foothills to the northeast of Islamabad. Founded in 1956, its main purpose is to provide education for the children of expatriate Christian workers in Pakistan and neighboring countries, according to BFS. It has American children among its pupils. As such the school would probably be seen as both a Western and a Christian target. This is the third fatal attack against Christian institutions in Pakistan since the government of President Musharraf supported the U.S. war on terrorism. Sixteen people were killed in October 2001 when gunmen opened fire on a church congregation in Bahawalpur. On March 17, 2002, five people were killed in a grenade attack on a church in Islamabad's diplomatic district.

Separation of Church and State Not Jefferson’s Idea ... The Washington Times reports that new research on Thomas Jefferson's "wall of separation" between church and state shows that Jefferson never intended it to be “the iron curtain of today, which instead was built on anti-Catholic legal views in the 1940s.” American University professor Daniel Dreisbach, whose new book explores how Jefferson coined the "wall" metaphor, said today’s argument is not really Jefferson’s but that of Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black, Another scholar, University of Chicago law professor Philip Hamburger, also says Justice Black's anti-Catholicism influenced his 1947 ruling that the First Amendment created a "high and impregnable" wall between religion and government.

According to the Washington Times, a 1947 Supreme Court decision stopped New Jersey from allocating state education funds for religious education. In that case, Justice Black cited the phrase "wall of separation between Church & State," from Jefferson's Jan. 1, 1802, letter to a group of Baptists in Massachusetts. "The Baptists advocated disestablishment of the Congregationalists in New England, but they were not for separation of religion from public life,” said Dreisbach, who has studied Jefferson's original draft, “the political advice and the electoral setting of the period” for the past five years, the Times reported.

Jerusalem Bomber Christian Educated ... ICEJ reports that the 17-year-old Bethlehem Arab who killed himself and injured seven others in a Jerusalem falafel store last week was a pupil at the Lutheran Talitha Kumi High School in Beit Jalla. Martin Goller, headmaster at the school expressed shock at the news. "We are a Christian school, a Palestinian-Christian school, and we want freedom for the Palestinians, but as Christians we cannot condone such an act." The terrorist was a Muslim boy who attended the school.

Officials suspect that the boy was heading toward the populated Zion Square when he was seen to be acting suspiciously. When approached he ran into the falafel store. The quick act of vigilance by police saved many lives. The phrase "Talitha kumi" ["young girl arise"] is taken from the words of Jesus as he raised a twelve-year old girl from the dead, as can be read in Mark 5:41.

Sudan: All World Vision Hostages Free ...  All three kidnapped aid workers of the Christian relief and development agency World Vision have been freed in Southern Sudan, according to idea news agency. After one German had been released August 1, another German and a Kenyan were flown out to Kenya two days later. They had been abducted July 29 by a rebel splinter group in the village of Waat. A Kenyan World Vision worker, Charles Kibbe (46), was killed when armed rebels first stormed a prison in the village of Waat, then ambushed the nearby World Vision camp and took the development workers hostage. Kibbe leaves his wife
and three children.

World Vision has been active in the war torn and impoverished region since 1972 to help relieve the effects of drought, floods and civil war. 30 per cent of all children under age five suffer from malnutrition. Because of the current crisis World Vision temporarily suspended all projects in the region.

According to idea, the kidnappers belong to the South Sudanese Liberation Movement under the leadership of Simon Gatwich (50), who has frequently changed sides in the conflict between the Christian and Animist minorities in Southern Sudan and the Islamic central government.