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Religion Today Summaries - June 3, 2010

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - June 3, 2010

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

In today's edition:

  • Gospel for Asia Mourns Murder of Missionary in India
  • Evangelical Group Condemns Uzbekistan Crackdown On Churches
  • Salvation Army Extends Ministry to 121 Countries
  • Judge Rules against Graduation in a Church

Gospel for Asia Mourns Murder of Missionary in India

Gospel For Asia has expressed its sorrow over the murder of one of its missionaries in India last month. Christian Today reports that Ajit Bansi was constructing a new church in Assam when he was killed by an extremist anti-Christian group on May 20. He had gone to a nearby town to purchase materials for the final phase of construction but never returned. GFA said he was ambushed together with three other people and that all four were shot dead by the extremist group. His murder came just days before the church building for his growing congregation was due to be completed. "Pastor Ajit was one of hundreds of missionaries risking their lives to share Jesus' love in this area," said GFA President K. P. Yohannan. "He was doing a great work, and his life brought hope to many people. It is extremely sad that this pastor never saw his dream fulfilled." Ajit leaves behind his wife and two young children.

Evangelical Group Condemns Uzbekistan Crackdown On Churches

Police continue to harass and raid church congregations in Uzbekistan, according to the Religious Liberty Commission (RLC) of the World Evangelical Alliance, which represents about 400 million Christians around the world. The RLC especially condemned a recent raid on one of the largest churches in the capital Tashkent. Worthy News reports that three church members from Church of Christ were detained without a warrant and imprisoned for 15 days, and five other members were heavily fined. Police and a host of government officials reportedly burst into the 500-person congregation on May 16 during a worship service. The officials, which included tax inspectorate, fire Inspectors and the sanitary-epidemiological service, searched the church for five hours before detaining the eight church members.

Salvation Army Extends Ministry to 121 Countries

The Salvation Army is extending its ministry further into the Muslim world as its leaders work with the United Arab Emirates to establish a base in that country, the Christian Post reports. The Christian development and social service organization is now present in 121 countries. According to an announcement Tuesday, "The Salvation Army is developing relationships with members of the government, diplomatic and legal communities in the U.A.E. Together with the formation of an advisory board, these steps will help ensure that The Salvation Army becomes part of daily life in the Middle East." The organization has also worked in Kuwait since 2008, and worked with the U.A.E. from that base. The group was also recognized in Sierra Leone this year.

Judge Rules against Graduation in a Church

Religion News Service reports that a federal judge ruled Monday (May 31) that a Connecticut school board's decision to hold graduation ceremonies inside a megachurch was unconstitutional. Commencements for two schools in Enfield, Conn. -- Enfield High School and Enrico Enfermi High School, were to be held at The First Cathedral in Bloomfield in late June. The American Civil Liberties Union joined Americans United for Separation of Church and State to represent two Enfield High School students and their parents who opposed the use of the religious venue. The school board said their decision was a matter of space and price. "We are pleased that the court has found that holding a public high school graduation ceremony in an overtly religious setting is inappropriate when comparable secular facilities are available," said Andrew Schneider, the executive director of the ACLU of Connecticut.