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Religion Today Summaries - Sept. 14, 2007

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Sept. 14, 2007

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

  • Four Church Members May Face Treason Charges
  • Survey: Most Americans Say Founders Intended Christian Nation
  • Hopegivers' Team Discovers Great Ministry Progress in Haiti
  • Freed Christian Hostages Recount Ordeal

Four Church Members May Face Treason Charges

ASSIST News Service reports that members of a Presbyterian church in Kazakhstan are still being questioned by the country’s secret police about their church’s religious activities. Grace Presbyterian Church Pastor Vyacheslav Vorobyov told Forum 18 News service that members of his flock are being asked by the secret police (KNB) about “all possible aspects” of the church's operations. Vorobyov told Forum 18 that 12 church members began a hunger strike on Sept. 7 to protest the KNB initiated raids and investigations. Four members of Grace Church are being investigated on charges of high treason, as well as the senior pastor of the church in the eastern town of Oskemen, Aleksei Kim. Church members deny that the four have committed treason, but fear that the KNB is preparing criminal cases against them.

Survey: Most Americans Say Founders Intended Christian Nation

The Christian Post reports that a majority of Americans believe the nation's founders intended the United States to be a Christian nation, a new national survey revealed. In the First Amendment Center’s annual survey measuring attitudes toward freedom of religion, speech and press, 55 percent of Americans said they believe that the Constitution establishes a Christian nation. Furthermore, three out of four people who identify themselves as evangelical or Republican agree while about half of Democrats and independents do.

Hopegivers' Team Discovers Great Ministry Progress in Haiti

Enrollment in Hopegivers' Haitian school more than doubled between last fall and early summer, a new well provided by the ministry is serving more than 1,000 people, a local church has grown in numbers, and an orphanage has taken in more children, ASSIST News Service reports. "Just to see the progression in less than a year -- it's just mind-boggling," says Hopegivers' Robby Brumberg, who is just back from a visit to Haiti in June, his first since last fall. The school's enrollment has grown to 823, from just more than 400 this year. And the new well provides daily outreach opportunities, Brumberg said. "Pastor Willio is able to tell them about the Lord when they come and get the fresh water for the day," said Brumberg. Both the new well and expanding the school to fit the exploding number of students was accomplished with the help of Hopegivers' sponsors. All this growth has contributed to increasing numbers for church attendance as well.

Freed Christian Hostages Recount Ordeal

The Christian Post reports that the 21 South Koreans held hostage in Afghanistan by the Taliban recounted their six weeks of captivity on Wednesday, revealing the harsh conditions and numerous beatings they endured before being freed nearly two weeks ago. "We were beaten with a tree branch or kicked around. Some kidnappers threatened us with death at gunpoint to force us to follow them in chanting their Islamic prayer for conversion," Je Chang-hee told a news conference with 20 other fellow ex-hostages at a hospital south of Seoul. Je said he and the others pretended to recite Islamic conversion prayers by muttering some Korean words. "My group was kept in a closed place like a shed [at a Taliban home] but we were not allowed to go out... it was like suffocating," recalled Cha Hae-jin. The female hostage said the food was not suitable and that the captives vomited and suffered diarrhea, with some showing symptoms of dehydration.