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Religion Today Summaries - Oct. 15, 2007

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Oct. 15, 2007

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

  • Christians in Pakistan Living in State of Fear
  • Dallas Church Lets Homeless Sleep in Parking Lot
  • Charismatic Pastor in Belarus Warned for "Illegal" Worship
  • Persecution of Degar Montagnards Continues

Christians in Pakistan Living in State of Fear

Christians in a Pakistani village are living in fear of imminent attacks from Muslim radicals who stormed a church and asked Muslims to be ready for a “final attack” on the minority community, ASSIST News Service reports. Christian residents of Hadyara village on the outskirts of Lahore fear that their church will be razed by angry Muslims. Villagers belonging to the minority community said men armed with steel bars and guns stormed a New Apostolic Church recently. The radicals beat up worshippers, including a child, and damaged properties of the church. Members of the minority community said that announcements were made through mosque loudspeakers asking Muslims from nearby villages to be ready for a “final attack”. Other announcements urged businesses and farmers not to allow Christians on to their properties. Fear of future attacks on the community has forced the authorities to dispatch more policemen to Hadyara on Wednesday, the Daily Times newspaper reported on Thursday. The Human Liberation Commission of Pakistan has flayed the incident and urged police officials to protect the Christians.

Dallas Church Lets Homeless Sleep in Parking Lot

A OneNewsNow.com story states: "In response to a police crackdown on the homeless, a church in downtown Dallas has opened its parking lot to homeless people, allowing as many as 150 of them to sleep on the pavement while a security guard keeps watch. The First Presbyterian Church started the practice after police began removing people found sleeping in public places. The Reverend Joe Clifford sees it as a temporary solution. Deputy Police Chief Vince Golbeck says other city departments may have to determine whether the church has the appropriate permits to continue offering the sleeping space. But he notes that 'a majority of property crimes in downtown Dallas are caused by the homeless.'"

Charismatic Pastor in Belarus Warned for "Illegal" Worship

"If the law doesn't allow believers to pray and serve God, then we will sooner obey God than a person or law restricting our rights," says Dmitri Podlobko, the pastor of a charismatic church in Belarus. ASSIST News Service reports that Pastor Podlobko was speaking after he was given an official warning October 9 to stop "illegal" religious activity by a district Public Prosecutor in the south-eastern regional centre of Gomel. The warning followed an attempt by local state officials to prevent Sunday worship by the 100-strong Living Word Church at private premises on September 30. State officials stated that the worship was illegal as it broke the restrictive Religion Law, under which "services, religious rites, rituals and ceremonies" taking place outside designated houses of worship must have advance permission from the state. Offenses may be punished with a warning, a fine of up to 30 times the minimum wage, or 25 days' imprisonment.

Persecution of Degar Montagnards Continues

According to ASSIST News Service, the indigenous Degar Montagnard Christians of Vietnam continue to suffer persecution by the Vietnamese communist government. A major advocacy group says that hundreds of Degar prisoners remain in prison for standing up for human rights, for spreading Christianity or for fleeing to Cambodia. Many have died from internal injuries caused by beatings. Indigenous rights are routinely violated, and racism and discrimination are serious problems in the Central Highlands of Vietnam. According to a news release from the Montagnard Foundation, on Sept. 27 2007, a Degar Christian named Y-Mau Eban and four of his friends took a walk outside their village of Buon Dung. While walking, a group of Vietnamese civilians were waiting to attack Degars for no other reason than racism. The Vietnamese civilians grabbed Y-Mau Eban and severely beat him up, damaging his right eye. The others fled back to their village as a crowd of Vietnamese villagers armed with sticks and knives ran at them. Y-Mau Eban was left there seriously injured, but the villagers soon returned and took him to the hospital in the city of Buonmathuot. The Montagnard Foundation is dedicated to helping the Degar peoples.