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Religion Today Summaries - Nov. 29, 2006

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Nov. 29, 2006

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

  • Christians Targeted By Mobs As Violence Escalates In Sri Lanka
  • Policeman Summoned in Severe Beating of Christians in India
  • Christians in South India Endure Arson, Attacks, Accusation
  • Survey: Major Christian Leaders Largely Unknown in America

Christians Targeted By Mobs As Violence Escalates In Sri Lanka

As fighting between the Sri Lankan army and Tamil rebels continues, Sri Lankan Christians have faced a recent trend of mob violence against Churches and individuals, ASSIST News Service reports. According to a news release from Christianity Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), the Lighthouse Church, Mawatura, Gompola in Kandy District was attacked on November 22, 2006, while the Pastor and a Church worker were inside. Rocks were thrown at the building, shattering the front window, and the Church worker was seriously injured when a rock hit him on the head. “Ten days earlier, on November 12, 2006, members of the congregation of the Assemblies of God Church in Yakkala, Gampaha District, were prevented from attending a church service by a mob of over 100 people, some of whom were armed with clubs,” continued the CSW release. “Four Buddhist monks accompanied the crowd of attackers and anti-Christian posters had appeared on the walls. Only two policemen were sent to the scene initially, but they were unable to control the crowd.”

Policeman Summoned in Severe Beating of Christians in India

Compass Direct News reports that a district court in Punjab state has summoned a police official for severely beating four Christians. The court of Malout Taluka in Punjab’s Muktsar district has summoned Assistant Sub-Inspector Hukam Chand Sharma of the Malout police station to appear next February 8 in a hearing related to the beating of four Christians last year. On September 25, 2005, a mob of Hindu extremists stormed the Christians’ Sunday worship service and accused them of unethical conversions. When the Christians called the police, several officers arrived and took church members Gurudev Singh, Jaswant Singh and Balkaran Singh to the police station, where they beat them. Later they brought Pastor Sukhdev Pana and beat him. In Gujarat state, authorities at a Catholic school alleging harassment filed a civil suit today in the Gujarat High Court against the state government. The high court on November 7 had issued warning notices to the state government and officials of Bhavnagar district, in response to a complaint filed by Shri Sachhidanand Gurukul Vidyalaya Catholic school.

Christians in South India Endure Arson, Attacks, Accusation

Four Hindu extremist moves against Christians, including the burning of a church, recently took place in Andhra Pradesh while neighboring Kerala state saw an attack on four pastors, reports Compass Direct News. Organizers of a prayer meeting in Vishakhapatnam city in Andhra Pradesh called it off after a Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP or World Hindu Council) leader lodged a police complaint against them on Thursday (November 23) for evangelizing. On November 17, Hindu extremists set fire to a church in Dubbaka village in Nizamabad district, and a similar band attacked a Catholic school in the same district on November 16. On November 3, Hindu extremists attacked an independent pastor in Nachupally village, again in the same district. The same day, Hindu extremists beat four pastors of an Assembly of God church in Kerala state’s Alapuzha district. The four were admitted to the government hospital in Harripad.

Survey: Major Christian Leaders Largely Unknown in America

The Christian Post reports that a new Barna report has revealed most Americans are unfamiliar with some of the nation's leading Christian ministers. The survey released Monday, however, found that 72 percent of adults have never even heard of best-selling author and megachurch pastor Rick Warren. Warren is also unknown among born again Christians with 63 percent saying they have never heard of him. Americans are a little more familiar with Christian psychologist James Dobson, although 57 percent say they had never heard of him and nearly half of all born again Christians say they did not know who he was. Likewise for pastor T.D. Jakes (68 percent of American adults have never heard of him and 55 percent of all born again Christians said the same), author Tim LaHaye (73 percent/63 percent), and Joel Osteen, host of the most widely watched religious teaching program in the nation (67 percent/57 percent). The Barna report further measured an average favorable-to-unfavorable ratio of each figure. Warren had a ratio of 12 percent to 5 percent; Dobson, 27 to 8; Jakes, 22 to 4; LaHaye, 13 to 5; and Osteen, 18 to 6. George Barna commented: "In our society, even clergy compete for people’s attention and acceptance. One of the reasons that the Christian faith is struggling to retain a toehold in people’s lives is because even the highest-profile leaders of the faith community have limited resonance with the population.”