Religion Today Summaries - Mar. 31, 2009

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Mar. 31, 2009

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

  • Critics Blast U.N. Panel Religious Vote
  • Fargo Spends Day in Church and Fighting off Floods
  • Muslim-Majority Morocco Expels 5 Missionaries
  • London City Employee Suspended for Mentioning God


Critics Blast U.N. Panel Religious Vote

Baptist Press reports that the United Nations Human Rights Council approved a resolution March 26 condemning the “defaming of religion.” Opponents argued that the resolution actually violates religious freedom. Only 23 members of the 47-member body supported the resolution, with 13 abstentions allowing it to pass. The resolution, which cites only Islam as a religion that has been defamed, calls for countries to protect "against acts of hatred, discrimination, intimidation and coercion resulting from defamation of religions and incitement to religious hatred in general." Pakistan introduced the measure on behalf of the 57-member Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC). "While the resolution is not binding on U.N. member nations, it provides cover for groups who want to silence criticism of their religion," said Barrett Duke, vice president for public policy of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC).

Fargo Spends Day in Church and Fighting off Floods

The Associated Press reports that efforts to save the town of Fargo took a different direction Sunday, as residents packed churches to pray. The Red River had dropped to 40 feet Sunday after cresting the day before, but snow storms and ice jams continue to complicate recovery and safety measures. "At a time like this, we need to call on God's providential assistance," said pastor Bob Ona of Fargo's First Assembly of God church. "All of you have been heroic in your efforts. All of you have been pushed past the wall of weariness, exhaustion and numerous frustrations in order to do the right thing — help people in the name of the Lord." Residents fear storm winds and fluctuating water levels may still breach the sandbag levees built by thousands of volunteers. North Dakota has more than 2,400 National Guard troops engaged in the flood fight across the state.

Muslim-Majority Morocco Expels 5 Missionaries

The Christian Post reports that Muslim country of Morocco has expelled five Christian missionaries for proselytizing Muslims. The Interior Ministry reported that the five women, four from Spain and one from Germany, were attempting to convert Muslims "illegally." They were deported Saturday after officials surprised them in a meeting with Moroccan Muslims. "Numerous pieces of evangelical propaganda material were also seized," including video cassettes in Arabic that encourage conversion to Christianity, a ministry statement said. Though the vast majority of Moroccans are Sunni Muslim, the country has typically allowed Christians and Jews to practice in their own churches and synagogues.

London City Employee Suspended for Mentioning God

ASSIST News Service reports that an employee of a London, England, borough council has been suspended from work for nearly two months for encouraging a homeless woman to turn to God. According to the Christian Legal Centre (CLC), Duke Amachree, (53) a Homelessness Prevention officer with Wandsworth Council, who has worked for the local authority for almost 18 years, was suspended on January 28 for discussing his faith with a client. He was told in an investigatory interview on March 17 that he should not raise the issue of religion at work. According to Michael Phillips of the CLC, Amachree was trying to encourage a client who was being forced to move from her home and also had an incurable illness, suggesting that she "put her trust in God." The woman filed the complaint leading to his suspension.