Religion Today Summaries - Apr. 23, 2008

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Apr. 23, 2008

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

  • Chinese Man Re-Arrested for Publishing Bibles, Literature
  • Zimbabwe Church Leaders Say People are being Tortured
  • Evangelicals Give Mixed Reactions to Pope's Visit
  • Situation Deteriorating for Iraqi Christians

Chinese Man Re-Arrested for Publishing Bibles, Literature

Baptist Press reports that Shi Weihan, a Chinese bookstore owner in Beijing, has been rearrested for publishing Bibles and Christian literature during a time when a shortage of such materials has been reported in China. Shi, a 37-year-old father of two daughters, was taken into custody for a second time March 19 and has been held without family visits, China Aid Association said in a news release April 22. "His wife said she received no word on her husband's condition, and she has been prevented from bringing any food or change of clothing since his rearrest," Daniel Burton, a spokesman for China Aid, told Baptist Press. "She is very concerned about his health due to his diabetes and the deprivation and torture that's often used by Public Security Bureau officials on the arrested." Burton said Shi's second arrest was unexpected. "It comes as a big surprise to us because he was released on insufficient evidence back in January," Burton said.

Zimbabwe Church Leaders Say People are being Tortured

According to the Associated Press, on Tuesday, church leaders in Zimbabwe said people were being tortured, abducted and murdered in a campaign of retribution against opposition supporters following the March 29 election, and urged international intervention. The U.S. State Department has asked the Chinese government not to make further weapons shipments to Zimbabwe until the postelection crisis is resolved.

Evangelicals Give Mixed Reactions to Pope's Visit

The Christian Post reports that evangelical leaders expressed mixed reactions to Pope Benedict XVI’s first U.S. visit, which ranged from underscoring similar values to highlighting the divide between Catholics and Protestants. The Rev. Richard Cizik, vice president for governmental affairs of the National Association of Evangelicals, drew attention to similarities between the pope’s view on environmentalism and embryonic stem cell research and the view of some within the evangelical community. On the other hand, prominent theologian Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr., president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, reminded people that the pope is a staunch defender of the doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church, and that it is not likely that evangelical Christians and the Catholic Church will bridge differences.

Situation Deteriorating for Iraqi Christians

OneNewsNow reports that Christian Solidarity International is calling on government leaders to address ever-increasing religious persecution in Iraq. During the recent Caucus on Religious Minorities in the Middle East, members examined ways the war in Iraq has affected religious minorities. CSI's Dr. Keith Roderick says since the war in Iraq began, more than 40 percent of Christians have fled the country as they have been targeted by militants: "Just last week, an Orthodox priest was murdered. At least 40 churches have been bombed, and there have been dozens of clergy and nuns who have been either kidnapped or murdered; they've been targeted. It's not a matter of being a result of random criminality, but in fact they're targeted for their faith." Roderick hopes the caucus will lead to plans to ease Christian persecution in Iraq.