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Religion Today Daily Headlines - June 11, 2012

Religion Today Daily Headlines - June 11, 2012

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

In today's edition:

  • Woman Five Months Pregnant Facing Imminent Forced Abortion in China
  • Plane Crash in Africa Kills Young Missionary Couple
  • Georgia Megachurch Pastor Creflo Dollar Arrested After Disturbance at Home
  • Final Ruling Awaited in Kuwait Death Sentence for Insulting Islam


Woman Five Months Pregnant Facing Imminent Forced Abortion in China

According to ChinaAid, a woman five months pregnant is facing an imminent forced abortion in a hospital in Changsha, capital of China's Hunan Province, ASSIST News Service reports. "Ms. Cao Ruyi, 37 years old and five months pregnant, was dragged by more than a dozen government family planning officials and security guards from her house at 9 a.m. on June 6, 2012, Beijing time," said a ChinaAid spokesperson. "They accused her of violating China's 'one-child' policy. She and her husband have a daughter who is almost six years old. Ms. Cao is now being held in the Maternal and Child Health Hospital of Hunan Province." According to Cao's husband, Li Fu, officials threatened to abort their baby by force within the next 24 to 36 hours if they refused to sign the consent form for voluntary abortion. Both husband and wife want to keep their baby, and Li said he was beaten by security officials on the way to the hospital as his wife was being dragged there. Bob Fu, president of ChinaAid, has been trying to persuade the family planning officials from performing the abortion. "Once again we are appalled by this kind of barbaric criminal act against women and children," he said. "The whole world should demand the Chinese authorities immediately halt this imminent atrocity and protect this innocent mother and baby from suffering a cruel forced abortion."

Plane Crash in Africa Kills Young Missionary Couple

A funeral was held Tuesday for a young missionary couple that died over the weekend in a tragic plane crash in Zambia, the Christian Post reports. Jay and Katrina Erickson were killed late Saturday afternoon when their plane crashed into the Zambezi River during a return trip to the Chitokoloki Mission Hospital after dropping off a nurse in another town. After the plane went down, the hospital was notified and several people rushed to the river, but it wasn't until the next day that they finally located the aircraft and recovered the couple's bodies. The trip was the first one Katrina had taken with her husband since they began serving at the station several months ago. Their two daughters -- ages 1 and 2 -- stayed behind at the hospital while their parents took the flight. Hanna said those serving at the hospital have relied on their faith to get them through. "[It's] hard to understand, but we have to put our faith into practice knowing fully that God knows why and is a loving God, and that, as it was His will, we must press on," said Gordon Hanna, a missionary and administrator of the hospital. The Ericksons had planned to work at the hospital until February 2013. Hanna says he still does not know what caused the plane to crash.

Georgia Megachurch Pastor Creflo Dollar Arrested After Disturbance at Home

Megachurch pastor Creflo Dollar was arrested in suburban Atlanta for an alleged assault on his 15-year-old daughter, police said Friday. CNN reports that deputies in Georgia's Fayette County responded to a call about a domestic disturbance around 1 a.m. Friday. Dollar's daughter said she was arguing with her father about attending a party, and then said the argument got physical. She told deputies her father charged her, put his hands around her throat and began to choke her, according to a police report. She said he then slammed her to the ground, punched her and beat her with his shoe before she was able to get away and call 911. Deputies saw a scratch on the girl's neck and arrested Dollar on charges of simple battery, family violence and child cruelty. Another daughter, 19, corroborated her sister's account of what happened. Dollar, a controversial figure for his preaching of the prosperity gospel, is a senior pastor of the 30,000-member World Changers Church International in suburban Atlanta.

Final Ruling Awaited in Kuwait Death Sentence for Insulting Islam

Kuwait's ruler has rejected a bill passed by parliament on June 6 that would approve the death penalty for Muslims who insult Islam, but the decision could be ultimately overridden by the elected assembly if they pass it again with a two-thirds majority vote, ASSIST News Service reports. The bill, initially passed by an overwhelming majority in parliament on May 3, also stipulates that Christians and other non-Muslims will be given a minimum prison sentence of 10 years for the same offense. According to International Christian Concern, such blasphemy laws, which are increasingly being enforced and expanded, are the greatest threat toward religious minorities, especially Christians, throughout the Middle East. "The so-called 'Arab Spring' ... is now giving rise to another form of tyranny -- Islamist-dominated governments that criminalize blasphemy to silence dissidents and stifle freedom of speech and worship," said Aidan Clay of ICC. "These laws will embolden radical Muslims to commit violent acts against perceived blasphemers, which, inevitably, will primarily target the Christian community and non-Sunni Muslim minorities whose beliefs are deemed unorthodox." Anna Mahjar-Barducci of the Gatestone Institute wrote: "The Kuwait parliament seems to be seriously intending to bring Kuwait back to the Middle Ages. As well as introducing the death penalty for blasphemy, the Kuwaiti MPs have suggested banning swimsuits and requiring women to wear headscarves in public."

Publication date: June 11, 2012