Daily briefs of the top Christian news and persecution stories impacting believers around the world.
In today's edition:
- Catholic Church Warns Cell Scientists Not to Play God
- Replacement Memorial Cross Torn Down in Mojave Desert
- EU Calls for Religious Tolerance in Pakistan
- Police Arrest Two Pastors in Karnataka State, India
Catholic Church Warns Cell Scientists Not to Play God
The Associated Press reports that Catholic Church officials met the creation of the first synthetic cell with guarded optimism on Friday. "If it is used toward the good, to treat pathologies, we can only be positive" in our assessment, Monsignor Rino Fisichella, the Vatican's top bioethics official, told state-run TV. "If it turns out not to be ... useful to respect the dignity of the person, then our judgment would change." The Vatican hesitated to call the cell, powered by manmade DNA, "living." "We look at science with great interest. But we think above all about the meaning that must be given to life," said Fisichella, who heads Vatican's Pontifical Academy for Life. "We can only reach the conclusion that we need God, the origin of life."
Replacement Memorial Cross Torn Down in Mojave Desert
The Christian Post reports that a replacement for the stolen Mojave National Preserve cross has been removed after authorities decided it was illegal. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled last month that the original cross could stay at the veterans' memorial, but the cross was stolen shortly afterwards. The replica, which is six inches taller than the original, was removed after park officials said the replacement required government authorization. "This is absurd," ACLJ Chief Counsel Jay Sekulow said. "It's appalling that vandals would remove a cross which has survived a constitutional challenge at the nation's highest court. What's even more troubling is the fact that the federal government is opposed to permitting a replica cross to be put in place."
EU Calls for Religious Tolerance in Pakistan
Christian Solidarity Worldwide reports that the European Union has passed a resolution on religious freedom in Pakistan just as the country banned the popular site YouTube. The resolution comes two weeks before the next EU-Pakistan Summit in Brussels. While showing support for the Government of Pakistan's efforts to improve the situation for religious minorities, the resolution calls for the review and amendment of the controversial blasphemy laws, expressing concern that they "are often used to justify censorship, criminalization, persecution and ... the murder" of minorities. Meanwhile, Pakistan restricted access to a the popular Internet site YouTube because of what it considers sacrilegious content on the video-sharing website. The move came shortly after Pakistan banned Facebook because of a page that invited users to submit drawings of Prophet Muhammad, which is forbidden in traditional Islam.
Police Arrest Two Pastors in Karnataka State, India
ASSIST News Service reports that two pastors were arrested by Karnataka State Police on May 19, a group of Hindu radicals on accused them of forceful conversion in a children's program. Pastors Shanth Kumar, 27, and Nagesh Kumar, 35, had organized a Vacation Bible School (VBS) for the village children for three days and there were about 35-40 children who participated in the program. The arrests occurred after an estimated 30 people belonging to Hindu radical groups Bajrang Dal and Bharatiya Janatha Party forced their way inside the meeting hall to accuse the pastors. The pastors and two teenage students were taken to the Police Station. A court imprisoned the pastors overnight before releasing them on bail. Pastor Shanth Kumar works for Youth Mission Movement and Pastor Nagesh Kumar works for Campus Crusade for Christ.