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Religion Today Summaries - June 3, 2009

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - June 3, 2009

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

  • Pastor Wants County Apology over Bible Study Citation
  • Obama Asked to Mention Persecution in Address to Islamic World
  • China Aid President Remembers Tiananmen Square
  • Malaysia Christians Still Banned from Using 'Allah'

Pastor Wants County Apology over Bible Study Citation

KGTV San Diego reports that Pastor David Jones no longer faces high fines or expensive permits to allow a Bible study in his home. San Diego country officials reversed the decision Friday, but have yet to provide assurance, Jones says. "We don't have anything in writing. We want something very clearly that states people can pray in homes and have friends over and read Bible together and study a bit," he said from the pulpit on Sunday, the first time he addressed the matter in church. Jones says he also wants an apology. The pastor and his wife were notified Good Friday that their weekly Bible studies constituted a religious assembly, prompting the county to tell them they must purchase an expensive meeting permit or pay fines. The Joneses' attorneys say such action in unconstitutional.

Obama Asked to Mention Persecution in Address to Islamic World

The Christian Post reports that a persecution watchdog is petitioning President Obama to remember religious freedom as he addresses the Muslim world from Cairo University Thursday. “Those who convert from Islam to Christianity likely face isolation, interrogation, arrest, torture, kidnapping and even death for their faith in Jesus Christ,” said Open Doors USA president/CEO Carl Moeller, pointing to countries like Iran, Saudi Arabia and Somalia. “However, it is legal for a Christian to convert to Islam." Although North Korea tops the group's watch list, seven out of the top 10 countries are nations where Islam is the dominant religion. Even Egypt, where Obama will speak, relegates Christians to lower levels of society and imposes harsh penalties for Muslims who convert.

China Aid President Remembers Tiananmen Square

Mission News Network reports that, as Bob Fu of China Aid remembers the Tiananmen Square massacre, the event sparked disillusionment that spread the Gospel further into China. "I was a junior in my college years in 1989," he said. "And of course I was very, very disappointed -- shocked -- when we learned that the Chinese People's Army shot its own people... But during that time I came to the Lord and was born again. So that's the direct result of that bloody massacre." China officially acknowledges 200-300 deaths in the June 4, 1989, massacre. Outside sources, however, estimate that 2,000-3,000 peaceful demonstrators were killed outright, and more than 10,000 people were eventually executed for their involvement. Fu says that persecution ultimately brought thousands of Chinese intellectuals to the knowledge of Christ.

Malaysia Christians Still Banned from Using 'Allah'

Christian Today reports that a Catholic newspaper in Malaysia has lost its latest appeal to use "Allah" as a translation for "God." The Herald had previous permission revoked on February 26 because the newspaper could be picked up by Muslims, leading to potential confusion, the court then said. The Herald may not use the word until court renders its decision July 7. “We had asked them to lift the ban so that we can use the word until the court decides. We are innocent until proven guilty, so why shouldn’t we use it,” said the Rev Father Lawrence Andrew, who edits the Catholic weekly. “The court is going to hear our case on July 7 so that’s an opening in the dark tunnel.” Under one religion law in Malaysia, it is an offense for non-Muslims to use the word "Allah" to refer to another God.