Religion Today Summaries - Sept. 21, 2010

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Sept. 21, 2010

Daily briefs of the top Christian news and persecution stories impacting believers around the world.

In today's edition:

  • U.S. Tells Egypt to Bring Christmas Eve Killers to Justice
  • Christians Pray in Shuttered Church in Indonesia
  • Security in Afghanistan Is Deteriorating, Aid Groups Say
  • Billy Graham TV Special Recaps 60 Years of Ministry

U.S. Tells Egypt to Bring Christmas Eve Killers to Justice

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom has called on Egypt's government to resume the trial of three men charged with the murder of seven people in a small southern Egypt town on Christmas Eve. According to Christian Today, the men's trial has been full of starts and stops, and U.S. officials worry Saturday's scheduled trial might be postponed again. "Justice delayed is justice denied," said USCIRF chair Leonard Leo, whose agency makes policy recommendations to the president, secretary of state, and Congress with respect to matters involving international religious freedom. "[T]his only encourages further violence and is reminiscent of so many past trials where justice was never served,"  he said. Seven people were killed on Jan. 6 - Christmas Eve by the Orthodox Christian calendar - when gunmen fired from a car into a busy marketplace by a church.

Christians Pray in Shuttered Church in Indonesia

Dozens of Christians near Indonesia's capital of Jakarta defied a police perimeter on Sunday and met to pray in their shuttered church. "We just want to carry out our obligations as Christians, but authorities are treating us like terrorists," said Advent Tambunan, a member of Batak Christian Protestant Church in the industrial city of Bekasi. "There's no justice for us in this country," he told The Associated Press. The church was surrounded by hundreds of police and unarmed security guards following last week's attack on the church that wounded two church members. Islamic hard-liners have harrassed the church for months. On Sunday, local officials had seven empty buses on standby outside the Batak Christian's shuttered church Sunday, ready to transport them to an alternate site of worship provided by the government to avoid community backlash.

Security in Afghanistan Is Deteriorating, Aid Groups Say

Despite an increase in US troops, Afghanistan is becoming more dangerous, according to humanitarian groups. "The humanitarian space is shrinking day by day," said Abdul Kebar, a CARE official in Afghanistan, according to Worthy News. The Afghan NGO Safety Office said the country is more dangerous today than it's been in years. "We do not support the perspective that this constitutes 'things getting worse before they get better,'" said Nic Lee, director of the Afghan N.G.O. Safety Office, "but rather see it as being consistent with the five-year trend of things just getting worse." Aid groups say they are trying to employ native workers, avoid traveling by road, and avoid operating in the open. These precautions have slowed work in many places, but it has helped keep workers safe. Attacks on NGO's have decreased by 35 percent since last year even though insurgent attacks have doubled.

Billy Graham TV Special Recaps 60 Years of Ministry

The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association will soon release a television special chronicling its 60 years of ministry. "My father was always willing to go anywhere, anytime, any place to preach the Gospel, and we are still doing that," Franklin Graham says in the program. "Everything that we do at the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association is geared around taking this Gospel message to the ends of the earth." The television special features rare footage from Billy Graham's historic visits to preach the Gospel in communist countries in Eastern Europe, along with audio and video from the ministry's earliest national radio and television broadcasts.