Religion Today Summaries - March 11, 2011

Religion Today Summaries - March 11, 2011

Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.

In today's edition:

  • German Mother Jailed over Children Skipping Sex Ed Class
  • Following Quake, New Zealand Baptists Ask for Prayer
  • Ethiopia Sends Military to End Anti-Christian Violence
  • Indian Police Ransack Church, Arrest Pastors


German Mother Jailed over Children Skipping Sex Ed Class

Christian Today reports that a German mother of four is serving time in prison after she and her husband kept their children out of a mandatory sex education class and an interactive play concluding the class. Heinrich and Irene Wiens kept their children home from class in 2006 because they believed the content went against their Christian beliefs. School authorities, however, maintain that the play was intended to prevent sexual abuse. The couple was fined for their actions and refused to pay, resulting in a German court sentencing each of them to 43 days in jail. The religious liberty group Alliance Defense Fund is now asking the European Court of Human Rights to overturn the mother's sentence, although the father has already served his. Roger Kiska, ADF legal counsel, said, “Irene Wiens was well within her rights under the European Convention of Human Rights to opt to teach her children a view of sexuality that is in accord with her own religious beliefs, instead of sending them to four days of classes and an interactive play that she found to be objectionable.”

Following Quake, New Zealand Baptists Ask for Prayer

Two weeks after a 6.3-magnitude earthquake demolished much of Christchurch, New Zealand, emergency workers are still pulling bodies from the rubble. According to Baptist Press, residents are being told to keep boiling or treating drinking water. “This is a time of severe trauma and unchartered territory for all people,” Kelvyn Fairhall, national administrator of Baptist Churches of New Zealand, said in a statement sent to the Baptist Global Response relief and development organization. “There will be huge questions and issues that our pastors and their leaders have to grapple with over the next few days, weeks and months.” The Feb. 22 earthquake killed at least 166 people, according to news reports. While electricity has been restored to 98 percent of households in the city of more than 375,000, the central business district remains without power.

Ethiopia Sends Military to End Anti-Christian Violence

The Ethiopian government has sent military forces to put down the anti-Christian violence perpetrated by Muslims in Asendabo and the surrounding areas. ASSIST News Service reports that government officials have arrested several Muslims suspected of attacking Christians in the area. One Christian was killed and several others wounded when the attacks began on March 2. At least 55 church, 30 Christian homes, a Bible school, a Christian orphanage, and a church office have been burned, displacing more than 3,000 Christians. The violence allegedly started after Muslims falsely accused Christians of desecrating the Qur’an. The local police and government officials did nothing to stop the attackers. A Christian leader said that the attacks were organized by members of Kwarej, a radical Islamic group that fights to establish an Islamic state in Ethiopia. The Muslim attackers came from different parts of Ethiopia, including the Somali region.

Indian Police Ransack Church, Arrest Pastors

Two pastors in India were arrested Sunday by Karnataka state police after a radical Hindu leader accused them of engaging in "forceful conversion activity." ASSIST News Service reports that state police walked into the house church of Pastor Mathew and his guest, Pastor Jose, and told the group to stop their meeting before confiscating Bibles and other Christian literature. According to a police source, officers were acting on a complaint lodged by a leader of the Hindu radical group called Bajrang Dal. Both pastors were detained until 9 p.m. that evening and had official complaints registered against them. A magistrate eventually allowed the men to return home on temporary bail.