Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- Church Violence Spreading 'Outside Jakarta, West Java'
- Iranian Christian Dies After Being Beaten by Relative
- Compassion International Kids Affected by Cholera
- Schuller Pleads for Dollars for Crystal Cathedral
Church Violence Spreading 'Outside Jakarta, West Java'
Christians in Indonesia say religious violence is spreading beyond traditional "hot spots" throughout Java, activists said on Sunday. The Jakarta Post reports that protestors torched a Protestant church in in Sukoharjo, Central Java, two weeks ago and attempted to set fire to a Catholic church in Klaten, also in Central Java. "It's not wrong to say that Indonesia is the world champion of church burnings," said Theophilus Bella of the Jakarta Christian Communication Forum (FKKJ), which documents sectarian violence in Indonesia. When the country first gained independence in 1945, Indonesia experienced only two church burnings in 20 years. Since 1998, when measures favoring the country's Muslim majority were put in force, churches have endured more than 700 attacks.
Iranian Christian Dies After Being Beaten by Relative
Worthy News reports that an Iranian Christian with a Muslim background died in Iran after a relative beat him to death for his faith. The, whose name was withheld over security concerns with his family, left behind a wife and two young children. Other Christians have also been arrested for their faith, as Islam is the only lawful religion in the Islamic Republic. In the city of Mashhad, three believer have been imprisoned since July 8. They have refused to renounce their faith despite police pressure. In the city of Ahvaz, an assistant pastor has been detained since July 24, and nine more Christians were arrested in early September for proselytizing in the town of hamedan. Persecution watchdog Open Doors USA ranks Iran as the second worst persecutor of Christians in the world.
Compassion International Kids Affected by Cholera
As Haiti's Artibonite River region continues its battle against cholera, Compassion International staff are busy checking on sponsored children and their families. "They're being given serum if they need it. We're also educating them on waterborne diseases and how to prevent them," said Kathy Redmond, spokesperson for the child development organization. Mission News Network reports that staff in Haiti were prepared for the problem and immediately began dispensing water tablets to aid in filtration issues. Redmond told Mission News Network that such efforts are important, but can only do so much. "Even as we've seen aid groups rushing in medicine and supplies, these are people who are very malnourished. Their health is already poor. And so, once this disease gets in, even with medical teams, even with all of that, their survival is very difficult."
Schuller Pleads for Dollars for Crystal Cathedral
As the Orange County megachurch's financial troubles continue, the Crystal Cathedral's founder returned to the pulpit to plead for his congregation's help. "I need more help from you," Schuller said, according to USA Today. "If you are a tither, become a double-tither. If you are not a tither, become a tither. This ministry has earned your trust. This ministry has earned your help." Critics say the church isn't just a victim of the recession, but cite the church's recent leadership and succession problems. The ministry's debt exceeds $43 million despite major layoffs, property sales and cancelled events.