Religion Today Summaries - Oct. 12, 2009

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Oct. 12, 2009

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

  • India Flood Victims Begin Journey Home
  • National Evangelical Group Endorses Immigration Reform
  • House Approves Hate Crimes Provision in Defense Bill
  • Jailed Evangelists in Ethiopia Win Appeal but Remain in Prison


India Flood Victims Begin Journey Home

Baptist Press reports that a vast multitude of poor villagers in southern India are now trekking back to washed-out homes and ruined farmlands. Thousands are returning after the worst rains in 100 years set off devastating floods in early October. Southern Baptist field partners are assessing needs and preparing an emergency response for some of the estimated 1.5 million people who are leaving relief camps to see what, if anything, is left of their homes, said Francis Horton, who with his wife Angie directs work in central and southern Asia for Baptist Global Response, an international relief and development organization. "Local partners tell me conditions are very bad and it appears the principal needs right now are emergency food and water," Horton said. "Please pray for the affected people in this area to get the relief they need. The state of Karnataka has been a focal point for persecution of Christians this past year."

Evangelicals Endorse Immigration Reform

Religion News Service reports that the National Association of Evangelicals on Thursday (Oct. 8) endorsed comprehensive immigration reform, saying new policies should reflect "biblical grace to the stranger." NAE President Leith Anderson said, "We seek fair and human treatment for those who are immigrants." Anderson told reporters on Capitol Hill that "Many of the immigrants in America are us... That is, the growing edge of evangelical churches and denominations in the United States is the immigrant community." The resolution, approved overwhelmingly by voice vote of the NAE board, calls for the government to safeguard national borders, recognize the importance of family reunification and establish an "equitable process toward earned legal status for currently undocumented immigrants." Anderson testified on the NAE's position at a Senate subcommittee hearing on faith-based perspectives on immigration reform.

House Approves Hate Crimes Provision in Defense Bill

The Christian Post reports that an expanded hate crimes provision snuck its way through the House on Thursday as part of the 2010 Defense Authorization bill. Some Christians fear the expansion to protect gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people will prevent their ability to speak freely from the pulpit. "The inclusion of 'thought crimes' legislation in what is otherwise a bipartisan bill for troop funding is an absolute disgrace," said Rep. Tom Price of Georgia, head of the GOP conservative caucus, according to The Associated Press. "This measure is about giving special rights based solely on sexual behavior," said Tony Perkins, president of the conservative Family Research Council. "All of our citizens deserve equal justice under the law. Do we somehow care less about victims violently assaulted in the act of robbery or during a personal dispute than we do about those assaulted because they belong in a federally designated, politically motivated category?"

Jailed Evangelists in Ethiopia Win Appeal but Remain in Prison

Compass Direct News reports that two Christians in Ethiopia have successfully appealed their six-month sentence, only to be kept in prison on a new charge. Temesgen Alemayehu and Tigist Welde Amanuel had been sentenced to six months of prison on false charges of offering money to people to convert, which the State Supreme Court in Amhara state suspended in lieu of a fine. Yesterday, as the evangelists were appearing before a court in Debiretabor regarding the decision of the Supreme Court in Bahir Dar, a new charge was brought against them, Christian sources said. Inmates had signed a petition asking the district prosecutor to prosecute them for insulting the Ethiopian Orthodox Church (EOC) while in prison. A new trial has been set for Oct. 14. The two men will be kept in prison until that time.