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Religion Today Summaries - Feb. 2, 2010

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Feb. 2, 2010

Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.

  • Church Group Arrested in Haiti with 33 Orphans
  • Air Force Builds Worship Space for Wiccans
  • Indian Church Planter Kidnapped and Imprisoned
  • Thousands of Bibles to Reach Vietnam

Church Group Arrested in Haiti with 33 Orphans

Baptist Press reports that a Haitian judge will hear the case of 10 Americans accused of unlawfully trying to remove 33 children from Haiti. All 10 are Southern Baptist Convention members in Idaho, including one pastor. "They went over to help," said Rob Lee, executive director of the Utah-Idaho Southern Baptist Convention. "I really don't believe they had anything less than perfect motives." Communication has made it difficult to get the full story. "They were at the border Friday night and were told they needed one more piece of paperwork," said Clint Henry, pastor of the 500-member Central Valley Baptist where five of the detained Christians go to church. "They returned to Port-Au-Prince to get that paperwork and that's when they were detained," he added to give emphasis that the group was not trying to flee with the children.

Air Force Builds Worship Space for Wiccans

Religion News Service reports that the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado will set aside a worship space for followers of "Earth-centered" religions such as Wicca and Druidism. A stone circle atop a hill on the base in Colorado Springs will likely be dedicated in a ceremony March 10. The site will be available to cadets and other service members who live in the area. The base already has worship spaces for Protestants, Catholics, Muslims and Buddhist. The Air Force has been accused of allowing evangelical officers to openly proselytize and pressure cadets of other faiths. In 2005, the Air Force issued new guidelines pledging to "accommodate free exercise of religion and other personal beliefs." Tech. Sgt. Brandon Longcrier, who worked with academy officials to create the space, said, "there really haven't been any obstacles for the new circle. The chaplain's office has been 100 percent supportive."

Indian Church Planter Kidnapped and Imprisoned

ASSIST News Service reports that a church planter in Orissa State, India, has been kidnapped and imprisoned by local authorities. Kusalia was on his way to a monthly training meeting on Jan. 29 when local police arrested him after finding out his name. The church planter showed them his Bible and explained his work teaching children to read, but officers repeatedly insisted that he was a terrorist. Once a person is accused of being a terrorist, they have very few legal privileges and often find that lawyers are unwilling to help them. Kusalia's team members soon learned that someone had filed a false report with the police, claiming that Kusulia was a member of an Indian Maoist group called Naxalite. He is still in custody.

Thousands of Bibles to Reach Vietnam

Christian Today reports that the scarcity of modern Vietnamese Bibles could soon change with the efforts of the Scottish Bible Society. "The church [in Vietnam] is growing rapidly yet lacks the basic tool, the Bible, in sufficient quantities to strengthen existing and new Christians in their faith. This is where we need help from Christians in Scotland," said Elaine Duncan, Chief Executive of the Scottish Bible Society. The modern translation of the New Testament has only been available since last year. The society hopes to raise enough funds to send 115,000 New Testaments to the country, where Christians often face government discrimination. "By making Scripture available to the Churches in Vietnam, we allow each Christian to own a copy of the Bible, and also give them the opportunity to reach out to others with the Word of God," she said.