News

Eritrean Officials Send Ministers to Military Camps

ASSIST News Service reports that human rights group International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that Eritrean officials are forcefully sending ministers of the Eritrean Orthodox Church to military training camps. ICC reported in a news release that as a result of this policy, Eritrean Orthodox churches throughout the country are losing their leaders. At the end of 2006, the Eritrean government informed churches of its decision to rescind a long-standing exemption of ministers from mandatory military service. The Roman Catholic Church in Eritrea was the only church to oppose this action. ICC reported that top leaders of the Eritrean Orthodox Church, who have been hand-picked by the government, embraced the new policy with open arms. Eritrean officials are now forcibly recruiting church ministers into military service on a wide scale.

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Muslim Rioters Attack Christians In Kano, Nigeria

Hundreds of Muslims took to the streets of this northern Nigerian city on Sunday, April 20, attacking Christians and their shops and setting vehicles on fire on claims that a Christian had blasphemed Muhammad, Compass Direct News reports. Thousands of Christians were trapped in churches until police dispersed rioters. Fearing that Muslims may attack again, many Christians have relocated to army and police barracks in the city. An as yet unidentified Christian was said to have painted an inscription that disparaged the prophet of Islam.

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Surprisingly Strong Christian Support For Israel

OneNewsNow reports that support for Israel among both liberal and conservative Christians is surprising to Middle East expert Joel Rosenberg. What surprised him most was that "liberal Protestant denominations and Catholics" all had high numbers "within the 75 to 85% range all supporting Israel," according to the results of a survey commissioned by Rosenberg. However, on question of the division of Jerusalem, "Evangelicals overwhelmingly believe that Jerusalem should be the united, eternal capital of the Jewish state of Israel, whereas Catholics and liberal Protestant denominations are more willing to see Jerusalem divided." Sixty-five percent are worried Iran would try to obliterate Israel if they develop nuclear weapons.

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SBC Baptisms: Lowest Since 87

According to Baptist Press, the number of people baptized in Southern Baptist churches fell for the third straight year in 2007 to the convention's lowest level since 1987. Although the SBC added 473 new churches and gave more than $1.3 billion to support mission activities around the world, Thom S. Rainer, president of LifeWay Christian Resources, said there's no escaping the fact that Southern Baptists are not reaching as many people for Christ as they once did. According to LifeWay's Annual Church Profile (ACP), baptisms in 2007 dropped nearly 5.5 percent to 345,941, compared to 364,826 in 2006. "This report is truly disheartening," Rainer said. "We are a denomination that, for the most part, has lost its evangelistic passion."

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Outrage: Palestinian Terrorists Kill 2 Israeli Civilians Bringing Fuel to Gaza

Palestinian terrorists killed two Israeli civilians and injured two others April 9 inside the Nahal Oz fuel terminal between Israel and Gaza. Iran-backed Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Fatah's armed wing, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, claimed joint responsibility. Immediately before the attack, the terminal was shelled by mortar fire.

Before the attack, 183 trucks of supplies were transferred into the Gaza Strip via the Sufa, Kerem, Shalom and Karni crossings, delivering medical equipment, baby food, and other food products.

The Nahal Oz fuel terminal has been operating consistently since the beginning of the year and fuel shipments are transferred into Gaza through the terminal on a daily basis. Every week 16,500 gallons of benzine; 38,720 gallons of diesel; and 484,000 gallons of heavy diesel (for the Gaza power-station) are transferred through the Nahal Oz terminal into Gaza. In addition to essential humanitarian supplies transported to Gaza, Israel has also allowed the passage of Palestinians requiring medical treatment into Israel on a daily basis. Nevertheless, the border crossings come under regular mortar fire from Palestinian terrorists. Despite this, they have remained open during 2008, except on days of severe security threats.

From a news release by the Israel Project

Shocking Content in BET, MTV Programs Aimed at Children

Children who watched certain daytime shows on cable's MTV and BET were exposed to adult content-including that of a sexual, violent, profane or obscene nature-once every 38 seconds, according to a study by the Parents Television Council. "We thought we'd seen it all, but even we were taken aback by what we found in the music video programs on MTV and BET that are targeted directly at impressionable children," said Tim Winter, president of the pro-family watchdog group.

"BET and MTV are assaulting children with content that is full of sexually-charged images, explicit language, portrayals of violence, drug use, drug sales, and other illegal activity," Winter said in a news release accompanying the report's release April 10.

"[Except for] one program on BET, neither BET or MTV carried content descriptors that would work in conjunction with the V-chip to block the programs from coming into the home or to warn parents about the presence of sexual content, suggestive dialogue, violence or foul language," Winter added. "This is a major problem for parents who are told repeatedly to rely on their V-chips to protect their children."

Baptist Press

Polish Evangelistic Campaign Nets Great Response

The response to the recent ProChrist evangelistic campaign in Poland has overwhelmed organizers of the event with an estimated 20,000 people making decisions for Christ. About 80,000 people attended the crusade April 6-13. Programs were transmitted via TV satellite from Katowice in southern Poland to 103 venues nationwide.

More than 26,700 people flocked to the Spondek sports arena in Katowice to witness the Polish programs. Only the sermons by German evangelist Ulrich Parzany needed to be translated. Some 10,600 decisions for Christ were registered in Katowice alone.

The evangelist praised the cooperation among churches in Katowice as 52 local churches in the city of 320,000 will offer spiritual follow-up courses to the new believers. Parzany was deeply impressed with the fact that he was invited to speak in Poland, after the heavy burden caused by the Nazi era.

ProChrist in Poland was a joint venture of Lutheran, Presbyterian, Methodist and Baptist churches in cooperation with the regional Ecumenical Council as well as the Catholic Fokolar Movement and the initiative, "Light and Life."

Assist News Service via MissionNet

Dozens of Christians Detained in China

Chinese security forces detained some 46 house church Christians in the Xinjiang autonomous region on Sunday, April 12, forcing them to show allegiance to the government as part of a government crackdown. The believers were arrested in Kashi City for holding a Bible class and worship in a private home without government permission, reported the advocacy group China Aid Association (CAA). Most of the Christians were released on bail after they were forced to confess their "illegal Sunday worship activities and study the Government's Handbook on Religious Policy," CAA reported. Two of the believers, Ma Wenxiu, 42, and Ding Zhichun, 40, were sentenced to 15 days in the Shache county detention center in Kashi City. The recent campaign in Xianjiang is similar to the ongoing campaign the government has established in Tibet where Buddhist monks are being forced to swear their allegiance to the government's established religious policy and denounce the Dalai Lama.

BosNewsLife via MissionNet

Hindu Thugs Storm Christian School

ASSIST News Service reports that a group of Hindu radicals stormed St. Joseph's Convent Christian School in India. The incident occurred on April 7 at Raigad in Mahashtra State. According to a story on www.persecution.in, the radicals were demanding that photographs of Hindu deities be put up inside the school. The Website reported that when a school parent tried to argue with the approximately 50 radicals in support of the school administrator, a nun, he was assaulted in full view of everyone there. The school, which was established in 2002, serves children between kindergarten and the fourth grade. It caters to poor children from surrounding villages.

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