Religion Today Summaries - Dec. 1, 2009

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Dec. 1, 2009

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

  • AIDS Groups Fight 'Great Lie' in Zimbabwe
  • Handwritten Bible Sells for $15,000
  • 'Spirit of Christmas' Tour Stops in Cambodia
  • South Asia Missionary Still in Jail Months Later

AIDS Groups Fight 'Great Lie' in Zimbabwe

Mission News Network reports that AIDS organizations are still fighting stigma and misinformation worldwide as they remember World AIDS Day 2009. In Zimbabwe, Mark Clark with The Evangelical Alliance Mission (TEAM) says one their primary challenges remains "the Great Lie." "Satan has propagated a lie not only in Zimbabwe, but it's spreading all through Africa: the way to cure yourself of AIDS is to have sexual relations with a virgin," he says. These virgins are often no more than young girls, who are raped and infected. The stigma facing anyone with HIV/AIDS then compounds the problem. "The tendency is to see someone in that situation and think, ‘Oh, they're getting what they deserve; they've sinned, therefore this is a result of sin'," Clark said. In Zimbabwe, over 4 million people live with AIDS.

Handwritten Bible Sells for $15,000

Religion News Service reports that the first handwritten copy of the New International Version Bible sold on eBay last weekend for more than $15,000. Zondervan's handwritten Bible Across America project marked the 30th anniversary of the popular New International Version translation. Zondervan went on a nine-month tour across the country to give people a chance to write one verse of the Bible for the edition. One of the two original manuscripts was sold on eBay for $15,407.53. Proceeds from the eBay sale will go to Biblica, the company that created from the merger between the International Bible Society and Christian distributor Send the Light, to support its global Bible translation and distribution efforts.

'Spirit of Christmas' Tour Stops in Cambodia

Christian Newswire reports that World Vision's "Spirit of Christmas" tour made its latest stop in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, this week. The month-long tour features interviews and stories with children and families in the United States, Ecuador, Cambodia, Zambia and Ethiopia. "So far, we've traveled from the neighborhoods of New York City to the mountains of Ecuador to see if we can find the 'true spirit of Christmas' around the world," said Devin Hermanson, campaign manager for World Vision's "Spirit of Christmas" tour. "What we've found so far is that people around the world are still helping their neighbor in need." World Vision's team will focus on Cambodia's sex-trafficking industry and meet girls rescued from slavery. About 2 million children -- most of them girls -- are enslaved in the global sex trade today.

South Asia Missionary Still in Jail Months Later

ASSIST News Service reports that months after police arrested him on June 9, Gospel for Asia-supported pastor Akash Rao remains in jail. He was one of 10 people arrested under suspicion of being connected with a Maoist extremist group that terrorizes the area where he serves. Because police have accused Akash of being involved with the Maoists, officials are in no hurry to release him. For five years, Akash has served in this place of political unrest, and he led a congregation of 25 believers before his arrest. Another GFA-supported pastor has been called in to serve the church, and it remains active. This area is now relatively peaceful since it is under police patrol and most of the suspected Maoists are in jail.