Religion Today Summaries - Jan. 26, 2010

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Jan. 26, 2010

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

  • 2,000 Karen Villagers Forced to Flee Burmese Army
  • Haitian Orphanage Refuses to Turn People Away
  • Human Rights Group Releases Persecution Shame List
  • Christians Most Hit by Religious Freedom Violations in Indonesia

2,000 Karen Villagers Forced to Flee Burmese Army

Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) reports that more than 2,000 Karen villagers have been forced to flee their homes in the past week following attacks by the Burma Army. At least four villagers have been shot and one body has been found decapitated, according to the Free Burma Rangers (FBR), a relief organization working in the conflict zones. FBR reports say these recent attacks began when two villagers were shot in Keh Der village on Jan. 17 in Ler Doh Township. Ten houses were burned down causing many villagers to flee for their lives. ""These latest attacks are yet another example of the military regime's war crimes and crimes against humanity," said Mervyn Thomas, CSW's Chief Executive. "[I]t is now more vital than ever to highlight the plight of the Burmese people, especially the oppressed ethnic nationalities. A majority of Karen and Chin minorities in Burma are also Christians. 

Haitian Orphanage Refuses to Turn People Away

Baptist Press reports that one orphanage in Haiti has found itself caring for the wider community after last week's earthquake. Cabaret Children's Home, located 30 miles north of Port-au-Prince, has welcomed hundreds of people who have lost their homes in the Jan. 12 earthquake. "When people come to us, we cannot cross our arms, meaning, we cannot turn them away," Haitian worker Pierre Prinvil said through translator David Garret. "Obviously feeding is going on for displaced folks [at the compound]," said Garrett, a church and community director with the Southern Baptist Convention. "They are sharing their food with people who have nowhere else to be." The orphanage's older students have helped feed younger children outside the compound, and the orphanage has used its own supplies to feed famished the famished Haitians who keep arriving. "They are such a resilient people," Garrett said. If you'd like to support earthquake relief efforts in Haiti, consider joining some of's partners in their work: Global Aid Network (GAiN) USA, Food for the Hungry, Samaritan's Purse, and World Vision.

Human Rights Group Releases Persecution Shame List

Christian Today reports that International Christian Concern lists India along with North Korea in this year's list of worst persecutors worldwide. The human rights group's list included Eritrea, Pakistan, Iran, North Korea, Somalia, Saudi Arabia and China. According to the report, India remains on the top ten worst persecutors list "due to constant violent attacks against Christians." It continues, "Sources indicate that in 2009, there was an average of three attacks per week against Christians. Although attacks are not comparable in intensity with other top ten countries, the scope of persecution in India is widespread and affects millions of believers." The list found that persecution in Communist and totalitarian countries have slackened in persecution measures, with the exception of North Korea. Many Islamic countries, however, have experienced spikes in the persecution of Christians.

Christians Most Hit by Religious Freedom Violations in Indonesia

A moderate Muslim research institute in Indonesia found that 28 of all 35 cases of government violations of religious freedom were against Christians. According to Compass Direct News, the Wahid Institute also reported 93 instances of community intolerance of churches in 2009. The group issued a year-end report of violations that included the revocation of the building permit for the HKBP Cinere Church that was later overturned in court, opposition to a Catholic Church in Purwakarta and an order forbidding worship by the Filadelfia Huria Kristen Batak Protestan Church (HKBP) in Bekasi, West Java. The combined 2009 figure represents a drop from the 2008 figure of 234 cases. In West Java, mob efforts to shut down the HKBP in Bekasi succeeded on Dec. 31 when the district officer issued a decree ordering a stop to all worship activities at the site of the church building under construction.