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Religion Today Summaries, March 24, 2004

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk News Staff

Religion Today Summaries, March 24, 2004

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

  • USCIRF Pleased with Decision to Introduce Resolution on China at UN Commission on Human Right
  • Machete Wielding Motorcyclists Kill Woman with Baby
  • Contractual Clause Leads to Removal of Porn from Texas 7-Eleven Store
  • Christian Homes Invaded and Entire Families Arrested For Worshipping God

USCIRF Pleased with Decision to Introduce Resolution on China at UN Commission on Human Right
Voice of the Martyrs

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) welcomes the news that the United States will introduce a resolution on China at the 2004 United Nations Commission on Human Rights in Geneva this month. The USCIRF also deplores China's decision in response to suspend all discussions with the United States on human rights issues. "The Chinese government must encourage and protect the human rights affirmed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights if it seeks a credible voice in world affairs. There are outstanding issues of concern that must be addressed openly and with candor," said Young. In announcing its decision to offer the resolution, State Department Spokesman Richard Boucher cited the need to encourage China to protect the "human rights and fundamental freedoms of the Chinese people." The State Department announcement follows the recent overwhelming passage by the U.S. House of Representatives of Resolution 530 urging the U.S. government to take the lead in introducing and organizing multilateral support for a resolution at the 60th Session of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights calling on China to end its human rights violations and meet international standards for human rights.

Machete Wielding Motorcyclists Kill Woman with Baby
Barnabas News Fund

Motorcyclists wielding machetes have attacked Christians in Donggala Regency, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia, leaving one dead and five injured. On Thursday evening, 11 March, four men riding on two motorcycles sped through the village of Maranatha, 18 miles leaving death and bloodshed in their wake. Nuci, a 40 year old mother of two, died two hours after receiving fatal injuries to her head, neck and back. A witness to the incident described how she heard the roar of the motorbikes, followed almost immediately by a baby’s screams. She ran towards the cries and found Nuci, bleeding to death. The attackers wounded five others. Hundreds of villagers are now standing on guard with machetes, spears and hand-made guns. The dead woman’s relatives have called on the police to respond decisively as they fear that this is the start of another round of anti-Christian attacks. While the district court in Palu has upheld justice, the same cannot be said concerning a recent decision in Indonesia’s Supreme Court. The court upheld an August 2002 decision to acquit five army officers of their suspected role in the massacre of 200 Christians in a church. The attack, in which three church ministers were also killed, took place in East Timor on 6 September 1999. Human Rights Watch has called on the UN to investigate the failure of the courts to reach a conviction.

Contractual Clause Leads to Removal of Porn from Texas 7-Eleven Store
Allie Martin, Agape Press

A 7-Eleven convenience store in Texas has agreed to pull pornographic magazines from its shelves after being contacted by a legal firm that seeks to protect individuals' religious freedoms. It was back in 1982 when a Christian businessman sold property to 7-Eleven, Inc., for a store in Fort Worth.  The contract included a restrictive covenant which stated that the property could never be used for the sale or display of any obscene material.
Recently, the Christian businessman discovered that pornographic magazines were being sold at the store.  Attorneys with Liberty Legal Institute intervened and, as attorney Hiram Sasser says, the offensive material was soon removed from the store's shelves.
The attorney encourages others who may find themselves in a similar situation to review their legal documents. "One of the lessons that everybody can learn is that if somebody sold some property to any store that might be selling pornography now, they ought to take a look at their deed," Sasser says. Sasser says Christian businessmen can include restrictive covenants against the sale of porn, alcohol, or other activities whenever property is sold to convenience stores or other businesses.

Christian Homes Invaded and Entire Families Arrested For Worshipping God
Voice of the Martyrs

Eritrean authorities began raiding the private homes of evangelical Christians last week, arresting and jailing entire families caught praying and reading the Bible together. In two separate arrests on March 17 and March 18, families (including children) from the Rema Charismatic Church in the capital of Asmara were arrested and sent to prison. In another arrest on February 23, ten believers from the Full Gospel Church in Asmara were taken to jail. Of the 51 evangelicals from Asmara’s Hallelujah Church who were arrested in mid February, 46 remain in military prison. For the first time, criminal charges and punishing fines were being ordered against these “outlawed” Christians. All of Eritrea’s independent Protestant denominations were closed by government order in May 2002 and their congregations forbidden to worship, even in their homes. At present, at least 373 Protestant Christians are confirmed jailed and subjected to severe torture.