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Religion Today Summaries - June 2, 2006

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - June 2, 2006

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

  • Pray For Germany During Soccer World Cup

  • New Charges Leveled Against EMI Leaders in India

  • State in India Secretly Surveys Churches, Missions

  • Indonesia Quake Toll Surpasses 6,000; Aid Yet to Reach Some

Pray For Germany During Soccer World Cup

As 32 soccer teams from around the globe are getting in gear for the world cup in Germany, ASSIST News Service reports that Christians are preparing to accompany the major sports event with prayer and evangelism. Although roughly two thirds of the 82 million inhabitants of Germany are registered church members, only a fraction confesses to a living faith in Jesus Christ. The number of evangelical Christians is estimated at 1.5 million – less than two percent of the population. The German Evangelical Alliance is among the supporters of an initiative to pray for Germany during the world cup, June 9 – July 9. The alliance will hold an international prayer camp at its center in Blankenburg, East Germany, and prayer rooms will be established at the twelve world cup venues. Ministries like Campus Crusade for Christ, Youth With A Mission, Operation Mobilization and the YMCA also support the initiative.

New Charges Leveled Against EMI Leaders in India

Compass Direct reports the administration of Rajasthan state’s Kota district has leveled fresh charges of “exciting... disaffection towards the government of India” against Emmanuel Mission International (EMI) founder Archbishop M.A. Thomas and his son, the Rev. Dr. Samuel Thomas, EMI president. EMI attorney Mohammad Akram said he feared that the additional charges could lead to the re-arrest of Samuel Thomas – released on bail under previous charges – and other workers, and the re-issue of an arrest warrant against the senior Thomas. The elder Thomas had been granted anticipatory bail on previous charges. The new accusation of “exciting... disaffection towards the government” was based on Kota police reportedly charging that the map of India shown on the website of Georgia-based Hopegivers International, which funds EMI, excluded Jammu and Kashmir states. An offense under this law can lead to imprisonment for life.

State in India Secretly Surveys Churches, Missions

Preparation of a “data bank of churches and missionary organizations” by police in Rajasthan state’s Udaipur district has heightened fears of renewed harassment among the state’s miniscule Christian community. The questionnaire asks the “ideology of the priest of the church or the head of the organization” and seeks detailed descriptions of Christian institution activities, sources of income, fixed assets, and information on residents of any hostels they may run. “The tone and tenor of the questionnaire is as if it were aimed at illegal immigrants,” Sajan George, national convener of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), told Compass Direct. “The survey’s content violates basic human rights and equality assured to all citizens by the constitution of India.”

Indonesia Quake Toll Surpasses 6,000; Aid Yet to Reach Some

Villagers pleaded for food and shelter Thursday in areas yet to be reached by foreign relief teams five days after Indonesia's devastating earthquake, according to a story in The Christian Post. Survivors searched for scraps of tin and other materials to rebuild destroyed homes, while others blocked traffic to plead for money. "We are forced to do this because the only aid we've received is a bit of food and some cooking oil," said Ribut Setyo Pambudi, 17, after stopping a bus. "We don't have any money to rebuild, to buy gasoline or even to go out to try to find work." Foreign aid workers have poured into the region, scrambling to provide shelter, food and health care to more than 600,000 people displaced by the quake. Officials in remote corners of hardest-hit Bantul district reported 388 additional deaths after phone lines were restored and roads and bridges were repaired. Despite the tragic circumstances, one U.S. Marine said the current relief effort could serve as a cultural bridge. "When you help people, you become friends," said 1st Lt. Eric Tausch, from a U.S. Marine division based in Okinawa, Japan.