Religion Today Summaries - Feb. 1, 2010

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Feb. 1, 2010

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

  • Kansas Jury Finds Gunman Guilty of Abortionist's Murder
  • India Finally Allows EU to Visit Orissa - But No Fact-Finding
  • Cuba: Imprisoned Pastor's Appeal for Freedom Denied
  • Two Church Buildings Burned in Indonesia

Kansas Jury Finds Gunman Guilty of Abortionist's Murder

The Christian Post reports that Scott Roeder, 51, has been convicted of first-degree murder in the case of late-term abortion doctor George Tiller. The jury deliberated only 37 minutes before returning the verdict Friday. "If I didn't do it the babies were going to die the next day," Roeder said Thursday. He admitted to killing Tiller. Roeder fatally shot Tiller on May 31, 2009, when the doctor was handing out bulletins at Reform Lutheran Church in Wichita, Kan. Sedgwick County, Kan., District Judge Warren Wilbert did not give the jury the option of the lesser voluntary manslaughter conviction. Roeder's actions were universally condemned by pro-life speakers and groups, including Operation Rescue. Tiller's family called the jury's guilty verdict "just."

India Finally Allows EU to Visit Orissa - But No Fact-Finding

Compass Direct News reports that Orissa state officials have finally allowed delegates from the European Union (EU) to visit affected areas - as long as they do no fact-finding. On Thursday, the team of 13 delegates has their clearance refused and then reinstated before it was cleared to visit the area, which was wracked by anti-Christian violence in 2008. The team plans to visit the Kandhamal district early next month to assess the state government's efforts in rehabilitating victims and prosecuting attackers in the district. Anti-Christian violence in August-September 2008 killed over 100 people and burned 4,640 houses, 252 churches and 13 educational institutions. When the federal government recommended that Orissa state officials allow the delegation to visit the area, the state government agreed under the condition that the diplomats undertake no fact-finding.

Cuba: Imprisoned Pastor's Appeal for Freedom Denied

Christian Solidarity Worldwide reports that a Cuban evangelical pastor has been denied the right to appeal his six-year prison sentence by the Supreme Tribunal in Havana. Pastor Omar Gude Perez, a leader in a growing network of independent churches, was convicted of "falsification of documents" after false charges were made against him during a summary trial last July. Pastor Gude Perez's wife said the court's decision confirmed her belief that her husband's arrest and imprisonment in May 2008 was orchestrated at the highest levels of government. Pastor Gude Perez was initially charged with human trafficking, but a local court threw out the charges ten months later citing a total lack of evidence. The latest charge was brought against him a full year after his initial detention. The prosecution's petition also accused the pastor of "counter-revolutionary conduct and attitudes."

Two Church Buildings Burned in Indonesia

Compass Direct News reports that suspected Islamic extremists burned two church buildings under construction in a village in North Sumatra on Jan. 22. The attackers came from outside the area to burn the partially constructed buildings of the Huria Kristen Batak Protestan Church (HKBP) and the Pentecostal Church in Sibuhuan village, Padang Lawas Residency, during daylight hours, said the Rev. S. Lubis of the HKBP church. "Hundreds of people arrived on motorcycles and burned the empty church," he said. "After that, the mob moved 200 meters down the road and burned the empty Pentecostal church." No people were hurt in the fires. Lubis said that those who burned the church buildings were not from the area. He said that last year - after local officials had held up an application for a permit to erect a permanent building for five years - the church began construction.