Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- British Street Preacher Wins Wrongful Arrest Case
- Church's 'iBand' Performs Christmas Carols with iPhones
- House Converted into Mosque Overnight in Egypt to Stop Church
- Ground Zero Church Starts Legal Action in Bid to Rebuild
British Street Preacher Wins Wrongful Arrest Case
Christian Today reports that a street preacher in Britain who was arrested for saying homosexuality is morally wrong has won his case in court. A judge awarded Anthony Rollins more than US $6,700 in damages. Rollins was arrested when a gay bystander complained to police, who arrested Rollins without further inquiry. Police Constable Adrian Bill made the arrest "as a matter of routine without any thought being given to Mr. Rollins' Convention Rights," according to Birmingham County Court. All charges against Rollins were dropped before the case came to trial, but his complaint regarding his treatment was still rejected by Independent Police Complaints Commission. His claims of wrongful arrest, unlawful imprisonment, assault and battery, and the infringement of his human rights were upheld by the court on Dec. 8.
Church's 'iBand' Performs Christmas Carols with iPhones
Many churches present special music at services during the Christmas season, but most churches follow the "bigger is better" rule. North Point Community Church in Atlanta swung the opposite direction recently. As the Los Angeles Times technology blog reports, the church's so-called "iBand" dropped all the regular instruments -- keyboards, guitars, drums and more -- to perform a Christmas concert entirely with Apple products. The eight-member ensemble used the applications on their iPhones and iPads to play holiday favorites like "Carol of the Bells," "Rocking Around the Christmas Tree" and "Feliz Navidad," complete with AutoTuning. The iBand's Christmas performance can be found online at GodTube.com.
House Converted into Mosque Overnight in Egypt to Stop Church
Coptic Christians in Talbiya, Egypt, discovered that their church was effectively outlawed overnight on Dec. 3 when thousands of Muslims met at a hastily converted mosque across the street. According to ASSIST News Service, the law requires a minimum distance between a church and a mosque, and the church had not yet been able to acquire permits. "Of course the new mosque did not have to get a building license, local council or state security permission, as is the case with churches," said Coptic activist Mark Ebeid. He called the conversion of a house into a mosque -- despite the presence of another mosque down the street -- "a trick... to make the completion and use of St. mary's Church an impossibility." One local Copt said church members sacrificed more than US $1.2 million. "There comes the governor and state security, angry because we built a dome and destroy it, kill our children, leave others maimed and the rest in prison for a very long time," he said.
Ground Zero Church Starts Legal Action in Bid to Rebuild
A Greek Orthodox church destroyed on 9/11 has initiated legal action against several agencies and officials involved in the Ground Zero land dispute. Religion News Service reports that talks abruptly broke off in early 2008, when leaders from St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church and Ground Zero developers had reached a preliminary agreement to rebuild on a larger piece of property at 130 Liberty Street. The deal allowed the original 155 Cedar Street lot to be used for a vehicle security center. Under the deal -- either binding or tentative, depending on which side you ask -- the church would also get $20 million towards its rebuilding costs, which include enhanced security requirements for the Ground Zero area. Now both sites are under heavy construction -- neither with the church's permission, said the Rev. Mark Arey, spokesman for the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. "We've spent a year and a half trying to reach out to the Port Authority, but they still haven't spoken to us directly," he said.