Religion Today Summaries - Dec. 5, 2006

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Dec. 5, 2006

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

  • Operation Blessing Responds to Typhoon in Philippines
  • Hindu Extremists Assault Staff at Catholic School in India
  • Islamic Extremists in Bangladesh Face Death for Killing Christian
  • AIDS Orphan Crisis Offers Opportunity for U.S. Christians, Ministry Leader Says

Operation Blessing Responds to Typhoon in Philippines

Operation Blessing Philippines, is requesting emergency funds to support their disaster relief efforts following last week’s devastating typhoon. Typhoon Durian slammed the Philippines, causing flash floods and sending walls of muddy volcanic ash and red-hot boulders crashing down on several villages. The death toll has risen to 388 and hundreds are missing. Right now, Operation Blessing disaster relief teams are on stand-by to bring food and medical relief to the hardest-hit areas in Albay province. Extensive damage however was preventing military personnel and aid workers from reaching the devastated areas. OBI relief teams have now boarded the Filipino Air Force’s C-130 cargo plane to fly food and relief supplies into the disaster zones. As one of the first aid agencies on the ground, OBI will be bringing five days’ worth of food to thousands left stranded by the storm as well as medical supplies and other aid. Visit for the latest relief updates.

Hindu Extremists Assault Staff at Catholic School in India

Members of a youth wing of a Hindu extremist group entered the Avila Convent Catholic Girls’ High School at Mysore in Karnataka state on Thursday (November 30) and assaulted several staff members, Compass Direct News reports. The members of the Bajrang Dal, youth wing of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), accused the school of attempting to convert Hindu children. Four men from the Bajrang Dal and VHP entered the office of the school headmistress, who goes by the single name of Sister Francina, and asked her why Christian literature was being distributed at nearby Hindu Sadvidya School. After the extremists beat a man whom they accused of distributing Christian literature for Sister Francina, about 50 people entered the school premises and began verbally abusing the staff members, accusing them of unethical conversion. When the staff members tried to rescue Sister Francina, the extremists severely beat them.

Islamic Extremists in Bangladesh Face Death for Killing Christian

A court in Bangladesh has sentenced two Islamic extremists to death for murdering Dr. Abdul Gani Gomes, a Christian convert from Islam, in September 2004. Compass Direct News reports Gomes, 48, was returning from work in the northern town of Duyanipur in Jamalpur district when four militants, including the two convicted men, jumped him and, in their words, “hacked him to death.” Hafez Mahmud and Mohammad Salauddin are leading figures in the banned Islamic militant group Jamaatul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), according to a BBC report. Both men confessed to killing Gomes on the orders of JMB leader Shaikh Abdur Rahman. JMB members said they resented Gomes because he had encouraged other Muslims to convert to Christianity. “I am happy that I killed him,” Salauddin reportedly said as he emerged from the courtroom. The verdict was given on November 9. Mahmud and Salauddin have until December 9 to appeal it.

AIDS Orphan Crisis Offers Opportunity for U.S. Christians, Ministry Leader Says

One of the featured speakers at Pastor Rick Warren's second annual "Global Summit on AIDS and the Church" says God commands Christians to speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves. AgapePress reports the two-day summit, held last week at Saddleback Community Church in Lake Forest, California, brought together more than 65 leading authorities from health and relief organizations; government and international agencies; and Christian ministries to address ways of working together to fight the epidemic. One of the participating Christian speakers, FamilyLife founder Dennis Rainey, pointed out that the global AIDS crisis has left many orphans in its wake. He noted that God shows His heart for orphans numerous times throughout scripture and that believers need to follow that example. "The American church is in need of pure and undefiled religion," Rainey asserted. "It is our time, I believe, to step forward into this crisis. Like our children, orphans are image bearers. They bear the image and reflect the glory of God." The FamilyLife spokesman also observed that the worldwide orphan crisis caused by AIDS represents "one of the greatest opportunities for the church that we could ever imagine," if the church will only act upon it. America is "the world's wealthiest nation, with more than 400,000 churches," Rainey added; yet, as a nation, he suggests, the church in the U.S. is only doing a fraction of what it could be doing to help AIDS orphans.