Religion Today Summaries, September 24, 2003

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk News Staff

Religion Today Summaries, September 24, 2003

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

  • Canadian Pro-Gay Bill Makes Bible 'Hate-Speech'
  • Death Sentence for Murderer of Missionary in India
  • Judge Roy Moore Insists God's Law Stands Alone
  • Chinese Church Leader Arrested Again

Canadian Pro-Gay Bill Makes Bible 'Hate-Speech'
Charisma News Service

Canadian Christian leaders say the country is on the verge of "criminalizing" the Bible as "hate speech" after legislators recently added sexual orientation to Canada's genocide and hate crimes legislation. Last week, the House of Commons voted 143-110 in favor of the proposal by openly gay legislator Svend Robinson. If Canada's Senate adopts the bill, "gay-bashing" will be added to the hate crimes law. Canadian Christians are concerned that homosexual activists would use the law to go after pastors and ministry leaders who quote anti-gay passages from the Bible. "Canadians who are speaking out against the redefinition of marriage are already being accused of 'hate speech' by homosexual activists," Brian Rushfeldt, executive director of Canada Family Action Coalition, said. Canada has already targeted Christians for publishing ads in newspapers that quote what the Bible says about homosexuality, according to Traditional Values Coalition (TVC), headed by the Rev. Lou Sheldon. "Canada's coming problems are a glimpse of what we [in the United States] will soon face if we do not aggressively fight the homosexual movement," TVC officials said. "U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy ... is pushing for passage of a hate crimes law in the Senate that will be as dangerous to religious freedom here as [this bill] is in Canada."

Death Sentence for Murderer of Missionary in India
Abhijeet Prabhu, Compass Direct

Dara Singh was awarded the death penalty by a designated Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court on Monday, September 22, for his role in the murder of the Australian missionary Graham Stuart Staines and his two sons. Pronouncing the verdict before a packed courtroom at 4:35 p.m., the District and Sessions Judge also sentenced Singh's 12 accomplices to life imprisonment. Christians fear that the death sentence will make Singh a martyr for the militant Hindu cause. As he left the courtroom on Monday, Singh said, "Injustice has been done to me. I am not going to appeal in the higher court. I would prefer to be a martyr fighting against conversion." On the day Singh and the other 12 defendants were convicted, BJP (Indian Peoples Party) workers burned hundreds of Bibles and evangelistic tracts in Uttaranchal in response to the sentence, while police stood by watching silently.

Judge Roy Moore Insists God's Law Stands Alone
Allie Martin, Agape Press

Alabama's chief justice says he would not consider displaying his granite monument of the Ten Commandments in a historical context surrounded by documents such as the U.S. Constitution. Shortly after the Ten Commandments monolith was removed from public view in the Alabama judicial building, legal experts encouraged Moore to surround it with other historical documents. Experts said that would make it difficult for groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union to object to the monument's display. But Moore says he would not consider displaying the monument in such a manner. He feels that the suggestion to put historical objects around it would only serve to obscure the significance of the Ten Commandments -- the whole point of the display. "Will I surround them with a bunch of documents? -- absolutely not. The Ten Commandments stands for the moral foundation of the law, must acknowledge its source, which is the God of the holy scriptures," Moore says. The chief justice, who was suspended last month for defying a federal court order to remove the display, has been traveling around the country speaking about his case. He says in his travels he has seen how his cause has rallied Christians. Moore encourages Christians nationwide to contact elected officials in support of the acknowledgement of God in the public square.

Chinese Church Leader Arrested Again
Charisma News Service

A house church leader who has already been imprisoned many times for his faith was arrested earlier this month. According to Asia Harvest, Shen Yiping, one of the leaders of the China Gospel Fellowship (CGF), which reportedly number several million believers throughout the Asian country, was detained as he boarded a train from Canton in southern China back to his home in the Henan Province. Yiping was one of several CGF leaders kidnapped by the Eastern Lightning cult last year. Yiping, who faces a harsh prison sentence, was released from his most recent imprisonment by Chinese authorities only about two years ago. "Please pray for him, his family and the flock he shepherds at this important time," Asia Harvest officials said. Elsewhere, a mob of about 40 or 50 people reportedly demolished a church building in Wenzhou City, located in the Zhenjiang Province. The group cut down the iron pillars of the building during the Sept. 10 incident. A man from the church was attacked, sustaining injuries, while three women from the congregation were arrested for trying to stop the mob, Asia Harvest said.