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Religion Today Summaries - Dec. 12, 2006

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Dec. 12, 2006

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

  • Two Virginia Episcopal Churches Consider Quitting ECUSA
  • Hindu Extremist Arrested for Assaulting Evangelist in India
  • Turkish Authorities ‘Harass’ Orthodox Patriarchate Staff
  • Christians Fast over Threat to Radio Station in Kenya

Two Virginia Episcopal Churches Consider Quitting ECUSA

Two of the biggest Episcopal congregations in Virginia, with roots stretching back to Colonial times, were scheduled to start voting Sunday on whether to leave the denomination, AgapePress reports. Members of the Falls Church and Truro Church in the Washington suburbs say they can no longer abide what they see as moral backsliding by the Episcopal Church, marked most starkly by the 2003 consecration of the first openly homosexual bishop, V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire. The two Virginia churches hope to align themselves with the Anglican archbishop of Nigeria, who is seeking to create a U.S. alliance of disaffected parishes as a rival to the Episcopal Church. Virginia's Episcopal bishop has warned Truro and the Falls Church that he will sue to seize their property if they vote to leave the denomination.

Hindu Extremist Arrested for Assaulting Evangelist in India

Police in Honavar, a coastal town in Karnataka state, on Tuesday (December 5) arrested a member of Hindu extremist group Bajrang Dal for assaulting a Christian evangelist, Compass Direct News reports. Later that day, Bajrang Dal members seized two other Christians in the town, marched them to the police station and accused them of attempted forcible conversion. The first victim, Mayaeshak Baila, had gone to nearby Gersoppa village for a prayer meeting. Bajrang Dal member Chandrashekar Naik came up to him as he waited for a bus after the prayer meeting and asked him extensively about his activities in the village. “When he realized I was a Christian, he slapped and hit me with his fists on my face and head,” Baila said. “Then he threw me down on the road and continuously kicked me on my ribs and stomach and back.” Later that day, two other Bajrang Dal members assaulted Joseph Lopes and Agnel Dias, who were visiting Christian homes in Honavar village.

Turkish Authorities ‘Harass’ Orthodox Patriarchate Staff

According to Compass Direct News, Orthodox Christian volunteer workers say that beneath the surface of last week’s four-day visit by Pope Benedict XVI was a hard struggle with Turkish authorities. The Turkish Press Ministry, they said, tried to shut down the Holy See Ecumenical Patriarchate press office at least four times, once succeding in temporarily closing it. Church officials were forced to give up their identification papers at security checkpoints, and local Christians were shut out from the historic meeting between Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and Benedict. “My personal outrage from this is because I believe in freedom of religion and the press,” said Father Alex Karloutsos, communications assistant for Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew during Benedict’s trip. An official from the Turkish Press Ministry who declined to give her name denied that the Patriarchate’s press office was ever shut down.

Christians Fast over Threat to Radio Station in Kenya

Christians at Nairobi Pentecostal Church (NPC) began a three-day fast Sunday after a letter written to their bishop warned of an imminent attack on Christian radio station Hope FM. Compass Direct News reports the threat comes seven months after a raid on the station on church property left one person dead. NPC Bishop Boniface Adoyo called for the fast in a letter read to church members on Sunday, saying the threatening letter also mentioned other churches targeted for attack. On May 12, unidentified gunmen stormed the station, killed a guard, injured three others and torched part of the building after a regular broadcast comparing teachings of the Bible with those of the Quran aired.