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Religion Today Summaries - May 22, 2006

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - May 22, 2006

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

  • New Believer Beaten for His Faith
  • Chinese House Church Leaders Arrested; Korean Missionary Expelled
  • Christian Fraternity's Suit Moves UNC to Revise Nondiscrimination Policy
  • World Council of Churches Calls on Iran to Recognize Israel

New Believer Beaten for His Faith

Gospel for Asia reports that a new Indian Christian is in the hospital with a serious head injury after being attacked for his faith. Mangal, his wife, and three children recently received Christ through the witness of GFA native missionary Ruben, and news spread quickly. Members of a radical anti-Christian group were very angry and tried to dissuade Mangal from attending church, but he stood strong in his faith. Then, on May 8, some of these radicals surrounded Mangal and beat him with bamboo rods. He was rushed to the local hospital, then referred to another facility for treatment of a severe head injury. Mangal is still in the hospital, where his condition is being closely monitored. GFA leaders are asking that Christians pray for Mangal's healing and for his wife and small children.

Chinese House Church Leaders Arrested; Korean Missionary Expelled

Chinese authorities have arrested several "underground" church leaders and deported a South Korean missionary in a recent rash of crackdowns directed at house churches, according to a report released by a religious freedom advocacy group. The Christian Post reports the China Aid Association reported the April 26 arrest of Liu Yuhua at the northeast province of Shandong, and the deportation of South Korean missionary Cui Rongbu, who was arrested along with ten others in the eastern province of Jiangsu last week. This new wave of arrests is certainly a contradiction to the Chinese government’s commitment to religious freedom," said CAA president Bob Fu, concerning the recent report. Liu was arrested on "charges of illegal business practices" for secretly printing Bibles and Christian literature. The exact number of Christians remains unknown in China, though the Chinese official churches claim a membership of roughly 11 million believers. Some sources have speculated that the number may stand between 40-100 million of China’s population of over 1.4 billion. Fu said that he hopes China will release the pastors, and that he encourages "the Chinese government to take concrete actions to demonstrate the true spirit of rule of law."

Christian Fraternity's Suit Moves UNC to Revise Nondiscrimination Policy

An AgapePress story reports that a Christian legal alliance says a federal lawsuit has prompted the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill to drop its ban on a religious fraternity. UNC officials have reversed course after initially denying recognition to Alpha Iota Omega because the fraternal organization required that its members be Christians. The university originally refused to recognize Alpha Iota Omega because the administration said the Christian fraternity's religious requirement violated UNC's nondiscrimination policy. But after the student group filed a lawsuit against the university, UNC revised its policy to allow political and religious groups to exclude members on the basis of beliefs. David French is an attorney with the Alliance Defense Fund, the legal group that represented Alpha Iota Omega in court. He says religious student organizations obviously should have the right to make faith-based decisions, just as other groups make decisions based on their beliefs and values or philosophies.

World Council of Churches Calls on Iran to Recognize Israel

The World Council of Churches called on Iran Thursday to halt its uranium enrichment program and recognize the state of Israel, the Christian Post reports. The Geneva-based WCC, which groups more than 350 Protestant, Orthodox and related churches, urged Iran's government to ''fully comply and cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency and Security Council directives and requests'' on its nuclear program. A resolution should also include commitments to address Iran's security needs and normalize its relations with the U.S. and its neighbors, the WCC said in a statement. Iran must also accept and recognize the state of Israel within its 1967 borders and support international efforts against terrorism, it added.