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Religion Today Daily Headlines - February 19, 2013

Religion Today Daily Headlines - February 19, 2013

Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.

In today's edition:

  • Bangladesh: 19 Children Rescued From Trafficker Intending to Sell Them to Radical Islamic Centers
  • Canadian Ministry Risks Losing Government Funding for Stance on Homosexuality
  • Joint Worship Prompts Church Reprimand
  • Russia to Outlaw 'Homosexual Propaganda'


Bangladesh: 19 Children Rescued From Trafficker Intending to Sell Them to Radical Islamic Centers

According to International Christian Concern, 19 children who were to be sold to fundamentalist Islamic boarding schools (madrassas) in Bangladesh have been rescued. Traffickers lied to the children's parents, saying they would take the children to Christian boarding schools in Dhaka, when in fact they were intending to sell the children to various madrassas. However, students from Dhaka University discovered the children -- ages 5 to 12 -- and rescued them from a trafficker named Binoy Tripura. Binoy confessed that he "collected the kids from their parents with lies and convinced them that [he] would admit all the kids to a missionary [Christian] school in Dhaka." He then collected 15,000 Taka (roughly $183 USD) from each of their parents and intended to receive payment from the madrassa upon delivery of the children. The children realized something was not right during their long bus journey to Dhaka, and 12 of the children ran away at a rest stop and called their parents to explain what was happening. The parents called local students attending Dhaka University for help, and the students met the bus in Bhaka, rescued the remaining six children and captured Binoy, who is now in police custody. It is not the first instance of traffickers targeting low-income Christian families due to their faith and vulnerability; this year alone, 55 children have been rescued from madrassas in Dhaka.

Canadian Ministry Risks Losing Government Funding for Stance on Homosexuality

An evangelical group that digs wells and provides clean water to 11,000 people in Uganda risks losing Canadian government money because it also teaches that homosexuality is a sin, WORLD Magazine reports. Thomas Mulcair, a leader in Canada's liberal New Democratic Party, said Crossroads Relief and Development, which received $389,000 from the Canadian government to help fund its relief work, was "completely against" Canadian values and law because of its stance on homosexuality. Crossroads' water project partner group in Africa, Victory Outreach Ministries, states on its website that while homosexuality is sinful, gays are "created in God's image, and we condemn the activities of those who are violent toward gays." Canada has frozen $156,000 in Crossroads funding until it can review the organization's work.

Joint Worship Prompts Church Reprimand

A Lutheran pastor in Newtown, Conn., apologized Feb. 7 for taking part in an interfaith vigil after December's mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, WORLD News Service reports. The Rev. Rob Morris' apology came after the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod reprimanded him for giving the closing benediction at the Dec. 16 service that included Christian, Jewish and Muslim leaders, among others. The church said Morris' participation inadvertently gave the impression he was involved in joint worship with clergy from other religions. The denomination bars joint worship because it doesn’t want to appear to mix its beliefs with those of other faiths.

Russia to Outlaw 'Homosexual Propaganda'

Last month, the Russian parliament approved by a vote of 388-1-1 a draft law outlawing the dissemination of "homosexual propaganda" to minors, prompting the Obama administration to pull out of "civil society" dialogue, WORLD News Service reports. The legislation, backed by the combined efforts of the Kremlin and the Russian Orthodox Church, would also ban public events promoting homosexual rights, charge fines of up to $16,000 for any public displays of "homosexual propaganda," and block web content inappropriate for younger audiences. After two more readings, it goes to Russian president Vladimir Putin for his signature. The bill, designed to protect minors from the influence of "sodomy, lesbianism, bisexuality and transgenderism," is part of a growing national trend towards promoting traditional Russian values over Western liberalism. 

Publication date: February 19, 2013