Islamic Women Vow To Raise Their Kids for Holy War'

In Islamabad, Pakistan, hundreds of Islamic women gathered at the radical Red Mosque July 9 and vowed to raise their children for holy war, days after a suicide bomber killed 18 people after a rally to incite male Islamics. Chanting slogans of "jihad is our way," burqa-clad women, some with babies, listened to fiery speeches from the daughter of the mosque's jailed cleric: "Our mujahideen (fighters) laid down their lives for the enforcement of the Islamic system in Pakistan. We are left behind to carry forward their mission," the daughter of cleric Abdul Aziz told the tightly-guarded rally in the mosque compound.

Several thousand men attended the earlier rally on July 6. Shortly after this rally ended, a suicide bomber attacked police who, ironically, had been guarding the gathering, killing 18 people, all but three of them policemen.

Clerics of the Red Mosque and their followers have waged an increasingly defiant campaign to enforce Taliban rule in Islamabad.

Based on a report from Reuters via


Christian Gains in Sri Lanka Bring Violent Response

Mission News Network reports that Christians in Sri Lanka are having an ever-increasing impact, earning the ire and retaliation of local Buddhist monks, according to Voice of the Martyrs' Canada. Threatened by loss of power as evangelical Christianity grows, local monks have incited militant Buddhists to burn churches and commit physical violence against Christians. On July 3, militants threatened an Assemblies of God church pastor and began to burn his house, causing significant damage. On July 6, five Buddhist monks disrupted a Calvary Church service in Colombo and threatened to destroy all local churches. The pastor and at least five others were beaten and endured serious injuries.

Religion Today Summaries


Catholic University Honors Non-Christian Feminist as Professor

This year the University of San Diego has awarded an honorary chair in its Catholic theology department to a radical eco-feminist theologian, who calls God "Gaia," supports abortion and contraception, and a host of other views that put her in conflict with essential Catholic and Christian beliefs. The selection comes just months after the Pope's April visit to the United States in which he told Catholic educators to be faithful to Church teachings.

The university announced that Rosemary Radford Ruether, "a leading church historian and pioneering figure in Christian feminist theology," will accept the honorary Monsignor John R. Portman Chair in Roman Catholic Theology for 2009-10 academic year.

The Portman Chair was established in 2000, USD President Alice Hayes said, as "a strong and palpable symbol of the depth of the university's commitment to Catholic theology...." Oddly enough, however, Ruether has a rather undisguised rejection of and antipathy toward Christianity, especially the Catholic faith. In 2005, she explained to an audience at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles her view that "Christianity is not necessarily worse than other religions, but it is the vehicle of Western civilization."


Chinese Clergy to Provide Services In Olympic Village

Chinese clergy, both Protestant and Catholic, were to be on site in the Olympic Village to hold services for foreign believers, according to The tradition of a religious service center continues in Bejing, where the clergy from the five major world religions were invited to lead services. Yu Shuqin, a Catholic nun, was to be in the Village with 16 colleagues, and Xu Xiaohong, an official of the Shanghai-based China Christian Council, was to lead a group for the Protestant church. The services were to include typical religious activities, simple interpretations works and guiding the way to churches in downtown Bejing. An additional 50,000 copies of Chinese-English new Testaments were being printed in a special Olympic edition, taking the total to 110,000 available in the main churches of Beijing, the six co-host cities and the Village itself.

Religion Today Summaries


Publishers Sued Over Anti-Gay Bible References reports that a Michigan man is suing Zondervan Publishing and Thomas Nelson Publishing, saying that their versions of the Bible that refer to homosexuality as a sin have caused him years of emotional pain and mental instability besides violating his constitutional rights. Bradley LaShawn Fowler is seeking $60 million from Zondervan in Michigan, and additional damages from Thomas Nelson, in Tennessee.

The court refused to appoint an attorney to represent him in his case filed in June against Thomas Nelson. "The Court has some very genuine concerns about the nature and efficacy of these claims," the judge wrote. The publishers' purpose is to reflect the public opinion to cause "me or anyone who is a homosexual to endure verbal abuse, discrimination, episodes of hate, and physical violence ... including murder," Fowler wrote.

Religion Today Summaries


Guatemala Forces Many Christian Stations Off Air

OneNewsNow reports that many Christian radio stations in Guatemala have been forced to go off the air, thanks to secular radio's pressure on the government. "Over the past four years, the Congress has received a lot of pressure from the secular radio station owners that they're losing revenue to the Christian stations as Christian stations are becoming more and more popular," one station owner reported. Radio licenses in the country are so expensive that many missions and churches decide to operate on community frequencies, which are similar to the U.S. non-commercial FM band. Stations have recently come under fire from local police, and the Congress has taken no action.

Religion Today Summaries


Iran: Ex-Muslims Held for Apostasy'

Compass Direct News reports that Iranian authorities have detained two converts to Christianity in the southern city of Shiraz for eight weeks on suspicion of "apostasy," or leaving Islam. In Iran, apostasy is a crime that can be punishable by death. Mahmood Matin, 52, and Arash Bandari, 44, remain imprisoned in a secret police detention center known by its address, located in the center of Shiraz since their arrest on May 15 (previously reported as May 13).

The 13 others arrested with Matin and Bandari have been released but were told they have an ongoing case against them, though officials have not informed them of the charges. During a visit on June 24, Matin's wife was able to speak with her husband for five minutes as officials listened in, a source told Compass. "They are pushing me to tell them that I am connected to a church outside [Iran] and that I am receiving a salary, but I told them that I am doing it on my own," he told his wife, according to the source. A draft penal code under discussion in Iran's parliament may make the death penalty obligatory for those who leave Islam or use the Internet to encourage others to do so.

Religion Today Summaries


Evangelism Teams to Plant Churches in 40 Ukrainian Cities

Forty ministry teams-20 from the U.S. and 20 from Ukraine-have kicked off an effort to plan 40 churches in 40 Ukrainian cities, according to the Christian Post. As the first of two phases of Project 125, each team was to work in a city without an evangelical church and hold weeklong outreaches that culminate in citywide "freedom" crusades over the weekend. In the past, such crusades have often led to 500 new believers. About 40 trained church planters in Ukraine have volunteers to move with their families to a city and help start a church. Project 125 is led by the Ukrainian Baptist Union, the Southern Baptist's International Mission Board, and the Don Betts Evangelistic Association, and has the goal of 125 new churches in Ukraine before fall. "This is the largest cooperative event we've done," said Don Betts, whose ministry has conducted similar crusades in Ukraine for 18 years.

Religion Today Summries


Conflict in Sudan Opens Window For Evangelism

Sudan remains a human rights nightmare, with the more than 5-year-old conflict in Darfur unresolved and fighting in the oil-rich Abyei Region continuing, but the church in south Sudan is growing despite its situation, Mission News Network reports. "We started a Bible school to train pastors and leaders and give them some more sound doctrinal training and really encourage them to plant new churches," said Mike Congrove, Sudan strategic coordinator for e3 Partners (formerly EvangeCube and Global Missions Fellowship).

Finding and raising leaders has proven extremely difficult because of warfare, which has eliminated many men between age 30 to 65. The national church is stepping up and has begun three new churches recently. Congrove has also worked to bring short-term teams from North America into Sudan to share the gospel at private homes. "After years of war, you have a traumatized people, and absolutely when they get to hear the hope that comes from Jesus Christ, it's powerful," he said.

Religion Today Summaries


Fast Food Giant Boycotted by Christian Group

An American pro-family group has launched a boycott of McDonald's until the global fast food giant declares neutrality in the culture wars and guarantees that it will no longer support the homosexual agenda. The American Family Association (AFA), which has at least 2.2 million members, declared the boycott of McDonald's after the company refused repeated requests to withdraw McDonald's name, logo, and endorsement from the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) Website, which lists McDonald's as a "Corporate Partner."

"This boycott is not about hiring homosexuals, or homosexuals eating at McDonald's, or how homosexual employees are treated," states the AFA. "It is about McDonald's, as a corporation, choosing to put the full weight of their corporation behind promoting the homosexual agenda, including homosexual marriage."

Richard Ellis, vice president of communications for McDonald's USA, now sits on the NGLCC's board and has stated on the NGLCC Website, "I'm thrilled to join the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce and ready to go to work."


Ministry Introduces Businessmen in Japan to Christ

International VIP Clubs have become the focus of an evangelistic ministry in Japan. "It is a ministry that goes into the marketplace and meets with Japanese businessmen in local hotel restaurants," said Neal Hicks, one of the leaders of the ministry. "In the context of business fellowship, we're able to introduce Japanese to Christ." VIP Clubs started in the 1990s and has 130 chapters nationwide in Japan. The outreach isn't limited to business people, however. Occasionally Buddhist monks, other people from the religious world and politicians will hear the gospel and come to the Lord. But Hicks says the ministry is challenging. "The Japanese basically are not able to embrace the gospel because there's bondage from generations of Buddhism and Shintoism," he explained. "The Japanese basically believe that they can't really be Christians because they would no longer be Japanese." VIP ministers to the Japanese from the top-down, starting with Japanese men who have some stature and clout, in order to influence more people.

Mission Network News

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