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Religion Today Summaries - Nov. 26, 2008

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Nov. 26, 2008

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

  • In Mosul, Questions Linger for Christians
  • Zimbabwe Crisis Worse than Imagined, Says Carter
  • Persecution of Christians Persists in Parts of Mexico
  • Zambians Thank AIDS Caregivers Nationwide

In Mosul, Questions Linger for Christians

ASSIST News Service reports that a month after thousands of Christians fled the northern Iraqi city in terror, many of the refugees have returned home, but church leaders say that some fear a new wave of sectarian violence. Although insurgents have lost round in the face of a large-scale offensive by U.S. and Iraqi security forces, the small Christian community in Mosul is divided between those who believe they still have a place in Iraq and those who fear their days there may be numbered as provincial elections approach. Many returning Christians are keeping a low profile." We normally have about 200 to 300 people attend mass,” Rev. Peter Gethea, a priest at the Seda al-Bashara Assyrian Catholic Church in Mosul, told the Chicago Tribune. “Last Sunday we only had about 20 people. People are still scared.”

Zimbabwe Crisis Worse than Imagined, Says Carter

The Christian Post reports that the humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe appears to be far worse than imagined, according to former U.S. president Jimmy Carter. Carter, former U.N. secretary general Kofi Annan and human rights activist Graca Machel were scheduled to visit Zimbabwe itself, but had to settle for meetings with donors, charity, and civil leaders in neighboring South Africa when Robert Mugabe's regime refused to grant them entrance visas. According to Carter, hyperinflation has left thousands without necessary supplies, and prevented hospitals from obtaining medicines to contain the cholera epidemic that has broken out. "We have a sense that either the leadership doesn’t have a clear picture of how deep the suffering is of their own people, or they don’t care," Machel said.

Persecution of Christians Persists in Parts of Mexico

Compass Direct News reports that as the number of evangelical Christians in southern Mexico has grown, hostilities from “traditionalist Catholics” have kept pace, according to published reports. Especially in indigenous communities in southern Mexico, the prevailing attitude is that only traditionalist Catholics, who blend native rituals with Roman Catholicism, have rights to religious practice, according to news reports. In Oaxaca state, four Christians in Santiago Teotlaxco, Ixtlan de Juarez district, were jailed on Nov. 16 for refusing to participate in a traditionalist Catholic festival and for not paying the high quotas they were assigned to help cover its costs, according to La Voz news agency. Their neighbors, now fewer than the town’s 180 Christian evangelicals, have been trying to force them to practice what the evangelicals regard as idolatrous adoration of saints and other rituals contrary to their faith.

Zambians Thank AIDS Caregivers Nationwide

According to a press release, 18,500 volunteer caregivers are being honored throughout Zambia this week, as thousands more celebrate their role in addressing the twin epidemics of HIV and malaria in this African nation. Many of the households helped by these caregivers include widows and orphans who otherwise would not have access to treatment and medications. The volunteers are part of a World-Vision led project funded by U.S. government and supported by the Zambian government, and provide material aid as well as prevention and health education. “The women and men who work as caregivers, many of whom struggle with the impact of AIDS in their own homes, are heroic. This celebration is a well-deserved moment to thank and honor them for their service,” said World Vision’s Bruce Wilkinson.