Religion Today Summaries - Nov. 5, 2009

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Nov. 5, 2009

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

  • Pakistani Christian Missionary School Set on Fire
  • Christian Prison Proposed in Tiny Oklahoma Town
  • North Korean Defectors Share Their Tale in Britain
  • Bishop Publishes Prayers for Burnt-Out Workers

Pakistani Christian Missionary School Set on Fire

ASSIST News Service reports that suspected Islamic militants set the fire that leveled a Christian school in Murree, Pakistan. Tuesday's fire reduced three buildings of the Christian residential school to ashes and causing an estimated financial loss to the tune of one billion Pakistani rupees (almost $1.2 million). Unidentified men set the St. Denys' Murree School's three buildings on fire at 4:45 pm on Tuesday by hurling some flammable chemical into the school premises from back side of the school's building. The incinerated buildings held dormitories, classrooms, a library and more. The school's records were also lost in the blaze. "There hasn't been any casualty as a result of this incident but the fire has gutted the entire building. Nothing of school has left behind. I pray that the school starts operating again after reconstruction," said Noreen Barkat, the school's principle.

Christian Prison Proposed in Small Ok. Town

Religion News Service reports that a tiny town in Oklahoma is pushing to build a privately run, faith-based prison that would employ only Christians and attempt to rehabilitate inmates using biblical concepts. Bill Robinson, founder of Corrections Concepts Inc., a Dallas-based nonprofit ministry, said he is living proof of how ex-criminals can become positive influences in society, with God's help. "God gave me this vision ... to go build a prison," said Robinson, who was released 38 years ago and has ministered to inmates since 1985. The town of Wakita, with 380 residents, hopes to welcome 600 more if the $42 million proposal is approved by the state Department of Corrections. A 150-acre site near the edge of town has been selected and the appropriate paperwork filed, Robinson said. Prisoners would have to apply and be accepted on the conditions they would work, help subsidize their incarceration, and accept the faith-based programs and environment.

North Korean Defectors Share Their Tale in Britain

TimesOnline reports that North Korean defectors are sharing their story in Britain, hoping to step up international human rights efforts towards their home country. Guang-il Jung, a businessman, and Lee Sung Ae, a Christian woman going by a pseudonym, both escaped North Korean prison camps. Both gave their testimony to British Parliament this month to bring attention to the human rights crisis. In December, the United Nations Human Rights Council will review North Korea's case, but it's unclear whether any UN action could effect change in the isolationist nation. Pyongyang has already submitted a 20-page self-analysis in which it declared that it had no human-rights problems except the "hostile policy" of the international community towards it. Human rights group Christian Solidarity Worldwide has leveled multiple accusations against Kim Jong-Il's regime, including the torture of political prisoners and persecution of Christians.

Bishop Publishes Prayers for Burnt-Out Workers

The Church of England is trying to get its new books of prayers into the hands of harried commuters. "It might have been dark, wet and miserable and then, once on the train, the carriage was packed. It's not exactly a stress-free or easy way to begin the day, is it?" writes the newly retired Bishop of St. Albans, the Rt. Rev Christopher Herbert. He encouraged believers to use the chaotic commute so that spiritual reflection is not "crowded out". "Put it another way - suppose that God himself is actually present with you, waiting to be discovered; that still, small voice hidden inside all the turbulence that you and your fellow-commuters face each day," he writes. The Bishop has authored the original Pocket Prayer book in 1993.