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Religion Today Summaries - Sept. 2, 2008

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Sept. 2, 2008

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

  • Assyrian Bishops Call for Assyrian Autonomy in Iraq
  • Australian Christians Walk to Bring Bibles to Persecuted Believers
  • Christian Charities Say Poverty Must Be Gov't Priority
  • Thousands Homeless after Orissa Violence

Assyrian Bishops Call for Assyrian Autonomy in Iraq

ASSIST News Service reports that four Assyrian bishops have called for religious autonomy in northern Iraq. According to the Assyrian International News Agency (AINA), Ablahad Gallo Shabo is the latest bishop from the Syriac Orthodox Church to call for local self-governance for the Assyrians in northern Iraq's Nineveh plain. The prelate expressed his call for local self-governance during an interview with Ishtar TV, which broadcasts from northern Iraq. AINA reports that Ablahad Gallo Shabo, who ministers a congregation of 30,000 Assyrians in Sweden, said the world community must help the Assyrians to achieve rights to govern themselves in the Nineveh plain, but at the same time that this must not be understood as a wish to break up Iraq. Joining the two Syriac Orthodox bishops in the call for local governance for Assyrians are two bishops of the Assyrian Catholic church, Bawai Soro and Sarhad Jammo.

Australian Christians Walk to Bring Bibles to Persecuted Believers

The Christian Post reports that more than 700 Christians have participated in Walk4Bibles this year to fund almost 14,000 Bibles for persecuted believers worldwide. Organized by Bible league, participants in 10 cities in Australia walked 7 to 14 kilometers. Two more walks are scheduled. “I counted the Bibles at home and we had 10,” said 9-year-old Rachael, according to Bible League. “There are families that don’t have any. It makes me feel sad. I am glad that I can do something by walking.” Floryn, a pastor in Romania during communist rule, had a great time taking part in the Perth walk in April. “It’s a great feeling,” he said. “It’s amazing to know that we can make a difference for people who cannot afford or cannot have a Bible.”

Christian Charities Say Poverty Must Be Gov't Priority

Religion News Service reports that Christian aid organizations are calling on the federal government to make fighting poverty a national priority, in response to new economic data from the Census Bureau. According to the bureau's report, released Tuesday (Aug. 26), the percentage of Americans living below the poverty level remained statistically unchanged from 2006 to 2007. During that same 12-month period the median income increased and the number of Americans without health insurance declined. The data not take into account the nation's recent economic downturn. The Rev. Larry Snyder, president of Catholic Charities USA, called the current poverty level "unacceptable." "Let these troubling poverty statistics be a call to action for each of us," said Snyder. "We must demand that our current and future leaders give a much higher priority to the needs of the poor in their policymaking decisions."

Thousands Homeless after Orissa Violence

The International Herald-Tribune reports that violence in India's Orissa state has forced at least 3,000 people, most of them Christians, into government-run relief camps, according to government officials. Many are also living in the forest because of the violence that exploded after a prominent radical Hindu leader was killed. More than 1,000 Christians have had their homes torched, leaving at least 5,000 homeless. "We are supposed to take drastic action against whosoever indulges in violence" said R. P. Koche, the police chief in Kandhamal District. The local police force has been reinforced by 2,500 paramilitary troops, he said. The district magistrate, Dr. Krishna Kumar, said the situation was tense but under control, and that more then 200 people had been arrested. According to the Tribune Orissa state has a history of communal and ethnic clashes.