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Religion Today Summaries, November 15, 2002

Religion Today Summaries, November 15, 2002

In Today's Edition:

  • Christians Not Tolerated in India: Extreme Persecution Continues
  • D.C. Fights to Limit First Amend. Free Speech in Ten Commandments Case
  • Nine Churches Planted in Burundi Despite Seemingly Insurmountable Odds
  • Iranian Christians Finally Granted Asylum in Canada

Christians Not Tolerated in India: Extreme Persecution Continues

(Voice of the Martyrs) Acts of violence against Christians in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu have increased in light of recent legislation forbidding religious conversions.  The legislation is similar to that which was earlier passed by the state government in the northern state of Orissa.  On October 28, we received the following message from one of our sources in Tamil Nadu.  We cannot identify the source for security reasons.  "At the moment there is a lot going on between Hindus and Muslims in this area.  There are protest rallies by Hindus.  Churches are being burned, including the church of our pastor.  Other Christian buildings and schools are closed.  The Hindus are very radical and won't tolerate Christians in their area.  They want to convert everyone.  When a Hindu converts to Christianity, the whole community casts him out.  Please remember the situation here in your prayers."  VOM also learned this week how four Christian families were recently beaten in the streets and the young girls raped when they refused to take part in a Hindu festival in the state of Orissa.  When the police were told, they did nothing.

D.C. Fights to Limit First Amend. Free Speech in Ten Commandments Case

(AgapePress) When justices of the Supreme Court look out their office windows, they face a three-story-tall banner of the Ten Commandments that has hung there for ten months across the street from the Supreme Court Building.  Rob Schenck of the group Faith and Action says the banner of the Ten Commandments is still up on the front of his group's Ministry Center on Capitol Hill -- even though the District of Columbia legal department is trying to find a way to have it removed.  "We have asserted our First Amendment rights," Schenck says.  Even though he is a bit pessimistic about the outcome of that legal challenge, Schenck thinks, in the end, they will likely claim there is a violation of something by having the Ten Commandments displayed.  Schenck says his cadre of attorneys is getting ready to fight any effort to get the huge banner removed.  Meanwhile, the Decalogue is hanging before the eyes of the Supreme Court justices every day.

Nine Churches Planted in Burundi Despite Seemingly Insurmountable Odds
(Missions Insider) A mission work in Burundi is making steady progress despite lack of transportation and facilities.  Andrew Nzaniye, director of Evangelical Ministries of Central Africa, said that showing the "Jesus" film is bringing the gospel to people who are rejoicing in the good news.  "Our film teams are climbing mountains and carrying generators and projectors on their heads," Nzaniye said.  "They reach places where people have never seen a car or a motorcycle.  The people they witness to are so much excited by the new life they find in Jesus Christ," he said.  So far, nine churches have been planted. Walls of the meeting halls have been constructed and now await funds to provide the roofing. Nzaniye was pleased with the progress, considering that the teams lack means of transportation. Each team, he said, needs two bicycles.

Iranian Christians Finally Granted Asylum in Canada

(Charisma News Service) An Iranian Christian family stranded for more than three years as refugees in the country's central region was granted permanent residency in Canada yesterday.  Mahmoud and Atefeh Erfani and their three daughters could have faced deportation back to Iran -- where as former Muslims who converted to Christianity they faced possible execution for apostasy, Compass Direct reported.  "We are overflowing with joy, and everyone is crying," one of Erfani's daughters said.  "It is a big miracle for us. Please thank everyone who has been praying for us."  The family is expected to arrive in Canada within two weeks.  An Anglican church in Toronto has pledged full sponsorship for the family, who are members of the Presbyterian-affiliated Evangelical Church of Iran.  After the family fled to Turkey in July 1999, they were refused formal refugee status three times. In April, they were also denied immigration to Canada, leaving them liable to deportation by Turkish authorities back to Iran after their temporary residence permits expired.