Religion Today Summaries - Jan. 6, 2010

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Jan. 6, 2010

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

  • Car Bomb Explodes Near Iraqi Church; Dozen People Injured
  • UN Suspends Food Aid to Southern Somalia
  • ChinaAid Challenges 'Misleading' WEA Report
  • Christian Woman Fails to Give up Child to Ex-Partner

Car Bomb Explodes Near Iraqi Church; Dozen People Injured

The Christian Post reports that a car bomb set near a church in a mostly Christian Iraqi town injured a dozen people on Tuesday. Five people were hospitalized after the blast went off near St. George Church in the northern town of Bartilla. The bombing is the second act of violence against Bartilla's Christians in two weeks; a minority mob attacked another church on Christmas morning. The town has checkpoints set up as a precaution against such violence, but the Christmas day mob overcame those guards. They were stopped at St. Mary Church by church guards. According to the Post, more than 200 Christians have been killed in Iraq since 2003, and more than 65 churches have been targeted since 2004.

UN Suspends Food Aid to Southern Somalia

Reuters reports that the threat of violence has finally forced the United Nations to suspend food aid to almost 1 million people in southern Somalia. The region has been plagued by al Shabaab rebels who have repeatedly threatened UN World Food Programme (WFP) staff despite the famine in the area. "Unacceptable conditions and demands from armed groups have disrupted WFP's ability to reach many of the most vulnerable people in southern Somalia," spokesman Peter Smerdon told Reuters. "Despite this suspension, WFP remains active in much of central and northern Somalia, including the capital Mogadishu." About three-quarters of the country's at-risk people live in the central and southern regions. Al Shabaab Islamists control 95 percent of the territory from where WFP is withdrawing.

ChinaAid Challenges 'Misleading' WEA Report

Baptist Press reports that the human rights organization ChinaAid is challenging a "misleading assessment about the true situation of the church in China" released by the World Evangelical Alliance. The report praised the Chinese government and state-sanctioned churches for their cooperation in spreading Christianity in the communist nation, ignoring the concerns of Chinese house church leaders, according to ChinaAid. "In this overtly positive assessment, there was no acknowledgement of the existence and current deteriorating condition of the more than 80 million believers in China who have chosen, often with dangerous and uncertain consequences, to worship outside the state-sanctioned religious system," ChinaAid said of the two-part WEA report.

Christian Woman Fails to Give up Child to Ex-Partner

The Associated Press reports that a Christian woman has disappeared after a Vermont judge gave custody of her 7-year-old daughter to her former lesbian partner. Lisa Miller underwent artificial insemination to conceive her daughter, Isabella, with then-partner Janet Jenkins. "She's very disappointed, obviously," said Sarah Star, Jenkins' lawyer. "She's very concerned about Isabella and asks that if anybody sees Isabella, that they please contact the authorities." Miller and Jenkins were joined in a civil union in Vermont in 2000, but Miller dissolved the union in 2003. She then moved to Virginia, gave up the gay lifestyle, and became an evangelical Christian. Miller previously had custody of Isabella, but refused to honor visits with Jenkins because she believed Jenkins' lifestyle would badly affect her daughter.