Religion Today Summaries - Aug. 27, 2009

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Aug. 27, 2009

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

  • China Gives Secret Order to Attack Major House Churches
  • Still Crippled, Haiti Faces New Hurricane Season
  • In Pakistan, Another Christian Accused of Blasphemy
  • Kyrgyzstan Suppresses Minority Religious Groups

China Gives Secret Order to Attack Major House Churches

The Christian Post reports that human rights groups fear Chinese officials will soon crack down on major house churches in Beijing. According to ChinaAid Association, the plans include ending rental agreements with a house church of more than 1,000 members, forcing the congregation to split apart. ChinaAid President Bob Fu says the crack down is connected with the 60th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). "The upcoming 60th anniversary of the CPC is not cause for trampling on rights of peaceful citizens gathering in accordance with their right to religious freedom," Fu said. "ChinaAid urges the Chinese government to revoke the secret directive, which is contrary to international covenants signed by the CPC, to acknowledge the positive societal influence of these house churches, and to allow these churches to meet freely throughout the anniversary period."

Still Crippled, Haiti Faces New Hurricane Season

Mission News Network reports that Haiti faces this year's hurricane season with its infrastructure still severely damaged from last year's storms. Almost 800 people were killed in last year's storms, which destroyed harvests and roadways. Red tape and corrupt bureaucracy has prevented tons of international aid from reaching Haiti's people. Co-founder of For Haiti with Love Eva DeHart says, "The port situation in Cap Haitien is almost impossible to deal with, so we need somebody reliable enough to bring it through customs, to know that it will get to us." She continued, "I can't reassure anybody that there is any food in the chain on its way down. So the food we currently have on hand is all we have to deal with now until we get these problems solved. When the food is gone, it's gone."

In Pakistan, Another Christian Accused of Blasphemy

ASSIST News Service reports that an 18-year-old Christian has been falsely accused of blasphemy, beaten, and imprisoned in Gujranwala, Pakistan. According to a spokesperson at International Christian Concern, "The young man, Safian Masih, lived in a mixed neighborhood of both Christians and Muslims. On August 8, the young daughter of one of his Muslim neighbors demanded that Safian bring her items from the grocery store. Safian refused, and she slapped him. Safian slapped her back, and the argument escalated to include both families." The girl's parents accused Safian of attempted rape, then changed the accusation to blasphemy. "Safian is currently in police custody, but his family has fled their home because they fear for their safety. The mob also threatened to kill anyone who helped Safian or his family," added the ICC spokesperson.

Kyrgyzstan Suppresses Minority Religious Groups

Baptist Press reports that Christians in the central Asian country of Kyrgyzstan face a lose-lose dilemma. They have been told not to meet for worship without registration, but government officials are making it nearly impossible for churches to receive approval. The country's 5.4 million people are 75 percent Muslim and 20 percent Russian Orthodox. In January a new religion law was enacted, and since then officials have checked up on or raided many minority religious communities, telling them they have no right to gather. "They're purposely wanting to make it very difficult for new places of worship to be registered," said Joel Griffith of the Slavic Gospel Association. "So if they institute an impossible requirement like that, then they effectively have been able to put their thumb down on any new group of believers that would want to come together and form a church."