Religion Today Summaries - July 22, 2010

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - July 22, 2010

Daily briefs of the top Christian news and persecution stories impacting believers around the world.

In today's edition:

  • Christians Murdered over Blasphemy Laid to Rest in Pakistan
  • Young Salvationists Hear Call to Tackle Human Trafficking
  • Vatican Rules for Bishops in Church-Closure Cases
  • Christians Help Stem Cholera Outbreak in Cambodia

Christians Murdered over Blasphemy Laid to Rest in Pakistan

ASSIST News Service reports that two Christian brothers who were gunned down outside district courts Faisalabad on Monday have been laid to rest. A large number of Christians paid tribute to Rashid Emmanuel, 30, and his brother Sajid, 27, at the memorial service on Tuesday, at St. Mary's Catholic Church, in Faisalabad, and later at their burial on Tuesday. The brothers had been accused of distributing pamphlet containing derogatory remarks against Prophet Muhammad, a charge they both denied. According to Babar Sahotra of Christian Strategic Institute (CSI) Pakistan, the situation remained tense late on Monday night as rioters from both sides maintained their presence on the roads. He said the Catholic Church seemed to be acting at the behest of government "who wanted to ensure burial of Rashid and Sajid Emmanuel as quickly as possible."

Young Salvationists Hear Call to Tackle Human Trafficking

Christian Today reports that The Salvation Army is calling on women within its ranks to join the fight against human trafficking. Commissioner Helen Clifton delivered a "wake up call" to the youths at The Salvation Army's World Youth Convention in Stockholm, Sweden, on Saturday. "We need to be wiser and better trained, but without losing the deep passion for those who have lost their innocence and succumbed to what is a sad and lonely life," said Clifton. "The work involves prevention, prosecution, protection and prayer." Clifton spoke to about 1,000 young women at the event. Commissioner Christine MacMillan, the director of The Salvation Army's International Social Justice Commission (ISJC), addressed the convention via DVD. "Our journey of faith needs to be disturbed by all these injustices in the world. If it isn't then our hearts are either numb or hardened and we need God to renew our sensitivity," she said.

Vatican Rules for Bishops in Church-Closure Cases

The Vatican's highest court has decided that Catholic bishops make the final decision on which parishes in his diocese must close their doors. According to Religion News Service, as long as the bishop is acting on what he believes to be good for his entire diocese, he can close any parish, even if the parish is financially stable and has vibrant membership. The decision does not bode well for a string of Cleveland churches that have already been closed by Bishop Richard Lennon, but have appeals pending in a Vatican court. "This is very significant," said Peter Borre, a Catholic activist in Boston who represents 10 churches in that city in their appeals to Rome. "The message is: 'No parish is safe.'" The ruling, made public late last week when it was translated from the original Latin, came on the heels of the Vatican denying the appeals of all 10 Boston churches, which began that process six years ago.

Christians Help Stem Cholera Outbreak in Cambodia

The Christian Post reports that Christian groups in Cambodia played a vital role in stemming a recent cholera outbreak in the North-eastern Ratanakiri province. At least 36 people have died since April, and the Taveng district's health center was overwhelmed with cases by early July. Two churches in Ban Lung district and Ta Aung responded with volunteers to help educate the community on the disease and prevent its spread. Volunteers moved away from larger towns into rural villages and helped transport ill villagers back to the health center. Christian organization ICC partnered with the churches to help spread information and bring the outbreak under control. According to official statistics, there were 96 cases and four deaths reported in Taveng during the one-week period of outbreak.