Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- Obama, Giuliani Read Bible; Bush Mentions God at 9/11 Service
- Egypt: Muslims Blockade Christian Village, Demand Demolition of Church
- Christians in Bhutan Seek to Dispel Regime's Mistrust
- Inn Sued for Refusing Same-Sex Reception
Obama, Giuliani Read Bible; Bush Mentions God at 9/11 Service
According to The Christian Post, President Obama and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani read from the Bible on the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in New York City Sunday morning. Former President Bush read a letter written by Abraham Lincoln that mentions God. Obama chose to read Psalms 46, which begins with, “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging” (NIV). In recent weeks, controversy surrounded Mayor Michael Bloomberg's decision to not include religious leaders or prayers in the ceremony. Regardless of Bloomberg’s decision, prayers and religious speeches were abundant at the ceremony.
Egypt: Muslims Blockade Christian Village, Demand Demolition of Church
ASSIST News Service reports that Christians in the Upper Egyptian village of Elmarinab in Edfu, Aswan province, have been forbidden to leave their homes or buy food until they remove the dome of St. George's Church, which was rebuilt in its previous location. Village Muslims, backed by Muslim Salafists from neighboring villages, have threatened to demolish the church and use it as a mosque. Despite the presence of security forces, Muslims have blocked the roads to the village, refusing passage of any Christians under any circumstance. The military governor in Aswan was contacted as Christians were starving in their homes. Security officers were sent and accompanied two Christian youths to buy food for the villagers. Muslims at the entrance of the village tried to stop the two security cars.
Christians in Bhutan Seek to Dispel Regime's Mistrust
Compass Direct News reports that Christians in Bhutan, a Buddhist nation, have been awaiting a decision on whether they will receive official recognition, but it appears they will first see a measure against fraudulent conversion that the prime minister acknowledges is essentially designed to deter evangelism. Bhutan’s parliament is considering an amendment to the penal code that seeks to penalize conversion by coercion or inducement. Under proposed Section 463 of the Penal Code, “a defendant shall be guilty of the offense of proselytization if the defendant uses coercion or other forms of inducement to cause the conversion of a person from one religion or faith to another.” Prime Minister Jigmi Yoser Thinley told Compass the proposed clause in the penal code was “essentially … to deter conversion,” saying there was no reason why Christians should seek to induce others to join their faith. The government of Bhutan commands an unusually high level of respect from its people. Christians, estimated to be between 6,000 and 15,000, equally admire the country’s leaders, who in recent months appeared willing to grant them legal recognition but remain indecisive. Christian leaders said they were distressed with the government’s notion of Christians and Christianity, which they said was “far from true.”
Inn Sued for Refusing Same-Sex Reception
According to WORLD News Service, the American Civil Liberties Union is suing a private Vermont inn for refusing to host wedding reception for a same-sex couple. The lawsuit, filed July 19 on behalf of lesbians Kate Baker and Ming Linsley of New York, said the inn initially expressed interest in hosting the $35,000 reception last fall but balked when it became clear there were two brides but no groom. Jim and Mary O’Reilly, owners of the Wildflower Inn in Lyndonville, said they are devout Catholics who believe in the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman. The lesbian couple claims the inn violated Vermont’s Fair Housing and Public Accommodations Act, which prohibits such establishments from refusing to do business with individuals based on sexual orientation. The act does offer an exemption for religious organizations.
Publication date: September 12, 2011