Religion Today Summaries - Apr. 1, 2008

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Apr. 1, 2008

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

  • Yohannan Hopes New Democracy Will Embrace Religious Freedom
  • Still no Word from Missing Laotian Pastors
  • Donated Medicines Save Lives
  • 15th Anniversary Edition of Olasky’s The Tragedy of American Compassion Released

Yohannan Hopes New Democracy Will Embrace Religious Freedom

OneNewsNow reports that Gospel for Asia founder KP Yohannan is hopeful that recent elections in Bhutan will result in religious freedom. On March 25, Bhutan, the world's only Buddhist kingdom, held its first democratic election, opting for parliamentary representation. Yohannan says it remains to be seen if the democratic government will be less restrictive to mission work: "We have a significant amount of work going on in Bhutan, of course going on underground. This is going to be exciting to see what the Lord is going to do in Bhutan." Currently it is illegal to share the Gospel in Bhutan.

Still no Word from Missing Laotian Pastors

According to Mission Network News, Voice of the Martyrs reports eight Khmu pastors from Udom Sai Province in Laos were arrested two weeks ago as they tried to enter Thailand for leadership conferences. Everything the pastors had with them was confiscated, including a cell phone. The pastors were reportedly taken back to Laos, but there has been no contact with them. The Laotian government has been working to improve their human rights record, but clearly the church is not yet free from persecution. MNN seeks prayers for the speedy release of these pastors, and that their testimonies will draw their captors into fellowship with Jesus Christ.

Donated Medicines Save Lives

For thousands of children in Liberia, each day is a fight for survival. Medical Teams International and two major health care companies are changing that. In a country where a mild cold can carry a potential death sentence, this partnership is bringing critically needed medicines to families that have little hope. In recent weeks, MTI has shipped more than $5.5 million in donated medical supplies from Abbott Labs and Henry Schein, including basic but lifesaving antibiotics, syringes and sterilizing equipment. Henry Schein’s $550,000 in donated medical supplies will help children in Liberia and Gaza. Abbott Lab’s $5 million contribution of medicines is being used to help people in Lebanon, Jordan and Mexico. “These medical donations are the difference between life and death for so many children in impoverished countries,” says David Beltz, director of commodity support at Medical Teams International.  “It’s heart breaking for our staff and volunteers to know that children suffer needlessly or die because they don’t have a $10 treatment course of antibiotics.”

15th Anniversary Edition of Olasky’s The Tragedy of American Compassion Released

When Marvin Olasky wrote The Tragedy of American Compassion in 1992, phrases like “compassionate conservative” and “faith-based groups” were not yet a part of our vernacular. Olasky’s thesis — that the American way of doing charity actually impoverishes the impoverished — sparked a national dialogue that weathered several administrations. Fifteen years, some welfare reform, and a war on terror later, is American compassion still a “tragedy”? Now available in a fifteenth anniversary edition, The Tragedy of American Compassion argues that good charity is threatened by bad charity, and it defines its terms through careful historical and biblical analysis. Tragedy turns on its head both conventional history and rhetoric, showing that America’s volunteer poverty-fighters were often more effective than our recent professionalized corps. Olasky’s biblical and historical arguments speak to our socio-political situation in 2008 just as they did in 1992.