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Religion Today Summaries - Jan. 7, 2008

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Jan. 7, 2008

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

  • Honduran Pastor Says Robberies Target Ministries
  • Two Women Giving Out Gospel Tracts Arrested in Bangalore
  • Fact-Finding Mission Suggests India Violence Was Preplanned
  • Mission Aviation Fellowship Evacuates Several Amid Violence in Kenya

Honduran Pastor Says Robberies Target Ministries

The pastor of a large Honduran church who was beaten and robbed last month for the second time in three years says organized criminals opposed to his stand against violence are behind the attacks. Compass Direct News reports that highway robbers on December 8 stopped Misael Argeñal, beat him, held him for an hour and robbed him of electronic equipment and the clothes he was wearing. “It was an act of intimidation to stop my work,” the pastor said. A week before the attack, Argeñal told Spanish-language TV network Univision, two men dressed as policemen on a motorcycle followed him as he left his 25,000-member, La Cosecha (The Harvest) church. “They told me that if I didn’t stop (my ministry) they would kill me,” he said.

Two Women Giving Out Gospel Tracts Arrested in Bangalore

ASSIST News Service reports that two Christian women were arrested in Bangalore on January 3, for distributing gospel tracts. According to www.persecution.in, the women, Nirmala 38, and Narayanamma, 50, were together handing out tracts to passers by just outside a large medical facility called M. S. Ramaiah Medical College in Mathikere, Bangalore, at mid-morning on January 3, 2008. One of the doctors working in the hospital phoned the police and complained, following which the police arrived and took the women to the nearest Sanjay Nagar police station and detained them there. One among the women is the only believer of Christ in her family while the rest of her family continues in their traditional faith. The duo are the members of Grace Gospel Church, Yeshwantpur, Bangalore.

Fact-Finding Mission Suggests India Violence Was Preplanned

Emerging facts indicate that India’s largest spate of anti-Christian violence, which has rendered thousands homeless in Orissa’s Kandhamal district, was preplanned, Compass Direct News reports. Three months before the series of attacks began on Christmas Eve in the mountainous district of Kandhamal, a newspaper report had warned that tensions were brewing between the Christian and non-Christian tribal communities over governmental affirmative action. Anticipating attacks during Christmas week, local Christians had on December 22 urged district authorities to provide police protection. Their pleas went unheeded. “It is beyond doubt that the violence was premeditated, preplanned, and the work of a well-disciplined group to ensure simultaneous eruptions across the district within hours of the first incident, and to sustain it for five days despite the presence of the highest police officers in the region,” said Christian leader and human rights activist Dr. John Dayal after a fact-finding visit to Kandhamal.

Mission Aviation Fellowship Evacuates Several Amid Violence in Kenya

Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) continues to answer the emergency call for evacuations and humanitarian help in Kenya, Bernard Terlouw, the MAF country director there, said, ASSIST News Service reports. Kenya's continued struggle for democracy remains embroiled in violence. The opposition party called for a new presidential election. Many Kenyans have been forced to take refuge from the violent mobs, and police in Nairobi have set up barricades and halted traffic. Hundreds have died. MAF planes may be small, but their response hasn’t been, Terlouw said. MAF pilots have flown to various towns in the west to evacuate both Kenyans who have been threatened, as well as staff members from such organizations as Scripture Mission, International Red Cross, Navigators and Gospel Fire International, who were no longer safe in their homes. As time passed, the panic period eased, as relief teams got organized, Terlouw said.