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Religion Today Summaries - Feb. 2, 2007

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Feb. 2, 2007

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

  • Free Medical Event Offers Health Care, Hope for Thousands of Katrina's Uninsured
  • Mystery Shrouds Death of Christian Convert in India
  • Turkish Police Clamp Strict Security on Christians’ Trial
  • Bellevue's Investigation into Molestation by Staff Member 17 Years Ago Concludes

Free Medical Event Offers Health Care, Hope for Thousands of Katrina's Uninsured

Operation Blessing is in the midst of "The 2nd Annual Greater New Orleans Medical Recovery Week," a week-long medical event offering free health care to New Orleans residents still facing an uphill battle since Hurricane Katrina. The event, held through Feb. 3, is a collaboration between OBI and Remote Area Medical (RAM), along with International Medical Alliance (IMA), New Orleans Health Department and the LA Department of Health and Hospitals. "Our healthcare infrastructure is very fragile right now," said Kevin Stephens, director of the New Orleans Health Department. "We are working to figure out a solution to the problem and this event is part of that solution." More than 400 doctors, dentists and nurses flew in from across the country to volunteer at the event, which saw about 600 patients on Jan. 28, the first day. Organizers project 10,000 people will be seen by the end of the week. In addition to the event, OBI will continue to offer free health care at their medical and dental clinics, having treated more than 15,000 residents since April 2006.

Mystery Shrouds Death of Christian Convert in India

An 18-year-old convert from Hinduism breathed his last on January 12, four days after he was found lying wounded near a railway track in the north-central state of Madhya Pradesh. Christians say he was pushed out of the train by Hindu extremists. Passersby noticed Bansi Lal, an independent Christian worker, lying with a severe head injury at a signal post near the Bolai railway station in Shajapur district on January 8. He was reportedly returning from a Christian meeting when the incident took place. Station master of the Bolai railway station, Chinmay Rai, told Compass Direct News, “The kind of injuries he had sustained and the way he was found lying do not suggest it was a suicide.”

Turkish Police Clamp Strict Security on Christians’ Trial

Strict security controls surrounded the second court hearing for two Turkish Christians facing criminal charges for insulting Turkish identity under the nation’s controversial Article 301. Police had thrown cordons around the Silivri courthouse and main streets into the town hours before Hakan Tastan and Turan Topal arrived from Istanbul with their lawyer for the trial on Monday (January 29). The heightened security was attributed to the shocking assassination 10 days earlier of another Turkish Christian, prominent Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, murdered in Istanbul by a teenage nationalist. Fatih Kose, 23, took the witness stand and contradicted himself several times as to where and when he had heard specific “illegal” statements, and from which of the two defendants. Defense lawyer Haydar Polat told Compass Direct News afterwards, “This was exactly a plot, a conspiracy. The youths asked for Bibles, for brochures, they go of their own accord to church – and then they come and complain!”

Bellevue's Investigation into Molestation by Staff Member 17 Years Ago Concludes

The investigation of a former pastor at one of the largest Southern Baptist churches in the nation has concluded, AgapePress reports. In the summer of 2006, administrators at Bellevue Baptist Church near Memphis learned that associate pastor Paul Williams had molested a family member 17 years ago. According to Bellevue's findings, Williams told his wife about the molestation three years after it stopped and was then counseled by a retired staff member. In 2006, other staff members, including senior pastor Steve Gaines, became aware of the molestation. Williams was recently fired, but Gaines came under fire for not taking action sooner. The church's investigative committee places the blame on Williams, saying his only consideration appears to have been to keep his job and to stay out of jail. The report does criticize Gaines for not seeking advice on how to best handle the matter. The investigation concluded that there is no indication that the former pastor, the late Dr. Adrian Rogers, was aware of William's actions.