Religion Today Daily Headlines - May 29, 2012

Religion Today Daily Headlines - May 29, 2012

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

In today's edition:

  • Burmese Troops Gang-Rape Woman in Church
  • 'Distinctly Christian' Lord's Prayer Banned in Delaware Council Meetings
  • Laos: Mother Expels Christian Children from Home
  • Ministry Leader Releases Latest Resource to Raise Awareness of Internet Porn


Burmese Troops Gang-Rape Woman in Church

Burmese troops gang-raped and tortured a grandmother in a church in the latest reported case of abuse by Burma's military against the predominantly Christian Kachin minority, BosNewsLife Asia Service reports. Christian Solidarity Worldwide, an advocacy group investigating the attacks in Burma, said the grandmother of 12 was taking shelter alone in a church on May 1 after other villagers had fled the country's northernmost Kachin State, near the Chinese border. "Burma Army troops entered the church, where they beat her with rifle butts, stabbed her with knives, stripped her naked and gang-raped her over a period of three days," CSW said. On May 4, she was taken to the hospital by villagers and reunited with her children, and is now suffering from mental health problems. CSW investigators who visited Kachin State this year said they had received other reports of the rape of women by Burmese troops. "Despite all the signs of change in other parts of the country, crimes against humanity continue to be perpetrated by the Burma Army against ethnic nationalities, particularly the Kachin," said Benedict Rogers, CSW's East Asia team leader.

'Distinctly Christian' Lord's Prayer Banned in Delaware Council Meetings

A U.S. district court judge in Delaware ruled that members of a local city council who had been reciting the Lord's Prayer at every meeting for six years must stop because it violated the Constitution, the Christian Post reports. Four Sussex County residents filed suit last year, claiming the prayer violated the First Amendment. The city council argued that the Lord's Prayer was not exclusive to Christianity since it did not make a specific reference to Jesus, but judge Leonard P. Stark said in his decision, "The fact that the Lord's Prayer has been the only prayer recited at the beginning of council meetings for over six years is likely to be found to demonstrate that the council gives Christianity an unconstitutionally preferred status." Judge Stark's injunction to stop the prayer takes effect June 15, meaning that any council meetings after that date that begin with the Lord's Prayer would be in violation of the order. "Whatever happened to freedom of speech?" asked councilman Sam Wilson. "I don't know how we're gonna get around it, but we're gonna have to find a way."

Laos: Mother Expels Christian Children from Home

An 18-year-old boy and 20-year-old girl in Laos were expelled from their home because of their Christian faith, Voice of the Martyrs reports. When their mother became ill, village elders claimed the spirits were displeased because the two Christian children were living in the house. An older son tried to persuade his brother and sister to recant their faith, but they refused. Their mother then accused them of hating their older brother and wishing him dead, and she threw their belongings out of the house and told them to leave immediately. The two young Christians sought refuge in the Christian village where they had originally heard the gospel, and were welcomed there with open arms.

Ministry Leader Releases Latest Resource to Raise Awareness of Internet Porn

Ministry leader and family advocate Josh McDowell reports that he has launched a new series of resources to raise awareness about the growing threat of online pornography. The website, video and articles from McDowell and other participating organizations offer solutions for families and people of all ages, though McDowell placed a warning label on the video because of its mature content. "The greatest threat to the cause of Christ is pervasive sexuality and pornography," McDowell said. "Today we have, by and large, lost control of the controls because an intrusive immorality is just one click away from our children. With just one keystroke on a smartphone, iPad or laptop, a child can open up some of the worst pornography and sexually graphic content you can imagine. There's never been such access in history." The video shares statistics about the destructive impact of porn on the Christian family; for example, the average age of first-time views of pornography is 9 years old; 80 percent of 15-to-17-year-olds have been exposed to hardcore porn; the adult porn industry reports that 20 to 30 percent of their traffic comes from children; and 30 percent of pastors have viewed pornography in the last 30 days.

Publication date: May 29, 2012