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Religion Today Summaries - Sept. 24, 2010

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Sept. 24, 2010

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

In today's edition:

  • Algerian Christians Arrested for Eating During Muslim Fast
  • South Korea: Thief Apologizes after Bible Reading
  • Episcopal Bishops Demand Philadelphia Bishop Resign
  • U.N. Launches $40 Billion Plan to Help Women, Children

Algerian Christians Arrested for Eating During Muslim Fast

Worthy News reports that two Christians in Algeria were brought to court on Aug. 13 for not observing the Muslim fast of Ramadan. Hocine Hocini and Fellak Salem were seen eating at noon on a private construction site during the month-long fast. They were arrested by religious police. "I am optimistic," said Hocini. "I have no regrets, I am a Christian. We are innocent, we have not hurt anyone. We are Christians and we did not eat in a public place." Their lawyers say the men were not subject to the law. "Algeria has ratified international conventions on freedom of worship," said Ait Larbi, one of the defense lawyers for the two Algerians. "It is an outright violation of the constitution." Many Algerians say the country suffers from increasingly strict Islamic influence from Afghanistan.

South Korea: Thief Apologizes after Bible Reading

A thief in South Korea turned himself into police after he tried to steal a Christian teacher's purse and she read to him from the Bible, the Metro UK reports. Ling Cho walked into the English language institute in the city of Ulsan Jungbu and threatened the female teacher with a knife while demanding money. The teacher asked Cho why he was trying to rob her. Cho told her his life's story, including his recent divorce, financial problem, and his start in crime. The teacher then read the Bible to him, prompting an unsolicited apology from the would-be thief. She gave him an MP3 player filled with gospel music and let him go, even refusing to report him to police when he returned and asked her to do so a few minutes later. Cho turned himself in to police, and facing five years in prison for attempted robbery.

Episcopal Bishops Demand Philadelphia Bishop Resign

The Episcopal Church's House of Bishops called Tuesday for the "immediate and unconditional resignation" of Bishop Charles Bennison of Philadelphia, according to Religion News Service. Bennison is charged with not reporting his brother's relationship with an underage girl. "As the House of Bishops, we have come to the conclusion that Bishop Bennison's capacity to exercise the ministry of pastoral oversight is irretrievably damaged," the bishops said in a resolution passed overwhelmingly during their meeting in Phoenix.  Bennison was temporarily removed from ministry in 2007 after being charged with "conduct unbecoming a member of the clergy." Episcopal Church spokeswoman Neva Rae Fox said the vote by the House of Bishops was unprecedented. "It was a very emotional time," she said Wednesday. "The bishops took it very seriously."

U.N. Launches $40 Billion Plan to Help Women, Children

Aid groups responded unenthusiastically to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's announcement that the UN will launch at $40-billion plan to improve child and maternal health. According to The Christian Post, some said they were skeptical of big announcements and will look to see how the pledged funds will actually come in. Others pointed out the lack of clear funding and plans to tackle poverty. The Sept. 20-22 summit was an "expensive side-show that offered everything to everyone and nothing to no one," complained Joanna Kerr, chief executive of the anti-poverty group ActionAid. The initiative is part of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), but UN officials say four times that amount is needed to put plans into action. Among other aims, the MDGs purpose to halve the number of people living under $1.25 a day.