Religion News Summaries - Dec. 30, 2008

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff | Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Religion News Summaries - Dec. 30, 2008

Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:

  • Israel Pounds Gaza Strip in Hunt for Hamas
  • Uganda Rebels Accused of Massacre at Church
  • Christian Refugees from Iraq Pack Pews in Lebanon
  • Parents Plus Church Equal Success for Children

Israel Pounds Gaza Strip in Hunt for Hamas

Fox News reports that at least 330 are dead after three days of Israeli attacks on Hamas in the Gaza Strip. "We have nothing against the people of Gaza," Ehud Barak said to a special session of parliament. "But this is an all-out war against Hamas and its branches. The restraint that we have demonstrated is the source of our strength when it is time to fight." A United Nations agency in Palestine reports that at least 62 civilians have been killed. In response, Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said, "We are trying to target Hamas, which hides among civilians." The terrorist organization Hamas has sent rockets into Israel for years, and is responsible for killing nearly 400 Israelis since 2000. Hamas officials say they will not participate in a new truce unless Israel stops all attacks on Gaza and reopens border crossings.

Uganda Rebels Accused of Massacre at Church

The Associated Press reports that at least 50 civilians are dead after alleged Ugandan rebels attacks churchgoers in a remote area of eastern Congo. Other reports say that as many as 150 may have died. Witnesses say they recognized the attackers as part of the Lord's Resistance Army, a brutal rebel group that the three official armies of Uganda, Sudan and the Congo recently banded together to eliminate. "I hid in bush near the church and heard people wailing as they were being cut with machetes," witness Abel Longi said. Aid workers report that hundreds of others fled south into a Congolese refugee camp and need basic supplies. The AP reports that this attack may be a response "against civilians for military attacks including a Dec. 14 air bombing on their main camp in Garamba National Park."

Christian Refugees from Iraq Pack Pews in Lebanon

The Chicago Tribune reports that Iraqi Christians with enough means are fleeing to Lebanon, preferring the longer journey for the greater freedom at the end. Lebanon's population is 40 percent Christian - much greater than Syria or Turkey, where many Iraqi refugees go. Rev. Joseph Malkoum in Beirut says the number of refugees is only increasing. "There was a period when we felt the numbers were going down, but after the recent troubles in Mosul the movement is picking up again," said Malkoum, who holds a special mass every Sunday for Iraqi Chaldeans. "Five years from now there won't be any Christians left in Iraq. It's happening quietly but also very quickly," said retired Gen. Michel Kasdano, a researcher and spokesman at the Chaldean Archbishopric.

Parents Plus Church Equal Success for Children

ASSIST News Service reports that children who live with their married biological mother and father and attend church once a week or once monthly have fewer problems in school, home and their personal lives, a new study says. The Family Research Council’s Mapping America Project found that children in these circumstances “are five times less likely to repeat a grade, less likely to have behavior problems and more likely to understand other’s feelings and be cooperative when necessary.” The FRC study mirrors findings about the benefits of marriage and church in multiple other studies.