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All articles in category International

News

June 2019
News > International

Kenya: Bible translation pledge

The Deputy President of Kenya, Dr William Ruto, has pledged that the government of Kenya will stand shoulder to shoulder with Bible translators ‘until every citizen of this country will read the Word of God in their mother tongue’. This promise came during a speech he gave in April, in Kilifi, to celebrate the dedication of a full Bible in Giryama, part of Wycliffe’s translation work. The event was attended by over 2,500 people, including church leaders, government officials, Bible Translation and Literacy (BTL) Kenya workers and partners (including people serving with Wycliffe Bible Translators), and Giryama community members. Dr Ruto was the chief guest...

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June 2019
News > International

India: Decisive victory for religious freedom

A pastor of a small Indian village in Madhya Pradesh was acquitted of the charges held against him under disputed anti-conversion laws, according to religious liberty group ADF International. In 2016, Pastor Balu, his wife, his son, and members of his congregation were violently attacked, later detained by the police and falsely accused of forcing conversions to Christianity. The landmark ruling marks an important victory against India’s anti-conversion laws, which increasingly threaten the fundamental rights of religious minorities. ‘The acquittal of Pastor Balu and his family is a vital step towards the protection of religious freedom and the right to freely live out one’s faith,’...

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June 2019
News > International

Sri Lanka: Churches rebuild after Easter bombings

Churches and Christian communities have begun to rebuild after the devastating Easter weekend attacks by Muslim extremists, which saw 253 killed and more than 500 hospitalised. The Islamic State terror group said it had carried out the attacks, with some social media posts claiming this was done in retaliation for the much-publicised Mosque shootings in Christchurch, New Zealand, earlier this year, which sparked mass coverage in Western news. The attackers in Sri Lanka targeted three churches which were packed out for Easter, and three hotels, killing many Sri Lankans and 42 foreign nationals in the bombing attacks. One of the churches targeted was Zion Evangelical...

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News

June 2019
News > International

Yemen: Christians in desperate need

Yemen’s tiny Christian population is in desperate need as the humanitarian crisis worsens in the country. According to various news reports, the Saudi Arabian military intervention in Yemen, which has been ongoing since 2015, has created a ‘staggering’ scale of suffering engulfing Muslims and Christians alike. Data from Tearfund suggests there are 24 million people needing humanitarian assistance in the country – approximately 80 per cent of the population – and 15.9 million people wake up hungry each day because of the food shortages. In its latest newsletter, Tearfund has warned, ‘large-scale outbreaks of cholera are persisting. According to the World Health Organisation, 30 per...

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News

June 2019
News > International

US: Indiana ushers in pro-life laws

The governor of the US state of Indiana has signed two new pro-life bills into law, protecting the lives of the unborn and the conscience rights of medics. The first piece of legislation bans the use of ‘dilation and evacuation’ (D&E) abortions, which are the most common form of abortion between 13 and 24 weeks in the womb. Nurses, pharmacists and physician assistants will also now be able to refuse to participate in abortions or dispense abortifacient drugs if it violates their conscience, thanks to the second new law. This extends the conscience protection rights beyond doctors and other workers who were already covered. Mike...

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May 2019
News > International

Australia: Rugby star ‘sacked’ for expressing biblical beliefs

Rugby authorities in Australia have terminated Israel Folau’s contract after a social media post in which he bluntly expressed the Bible’s teaching. The rugby star, regarded as one of the best players in the world, posted an image with a message on his Instagram account. The words in the image said, ‘Warning: Drunks, Homosexuals, Adulterers, Liars, Fornicators, Thieves, Atheists, Idolaters, hell awaits you. Repent! Only Jesus saves.’ He accompanied the image with his own comment, ‘Those that are living in Sin will end up in Hell unless you repent. Jesus Christ loves you and is giving you time to turn away from your sin and...

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May 2019
News > International

Germany: Home-school family to appeal to Europe’s top court

A home-schooling family from Germany has asked the European Court of Human Rights to refer their case to the Grand Chamber – the top human rights court in Europe. In January, the Fifth Chamber ruled that the Wunderlich family’s rights had not been violated in 2013 when more than 30 police officers and social workers raided their home and forcefully removed the children from their parents. The children have since been returned, but the family have taken legal action to redress the injustice they suffered and to ensure they don’t face further sanctions in Germany for home-schooling their children. In this latest development, the family...

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May 2019
News > International

Netherlands: Amsterdam bans tours around red-light district

Amsterdam is to ban guided tours around its red-light district from January 2020. The city’s Deputy Mayor Udo Kock said it is no longer appropriate to see prostitution ‘as a tourist attraction’. Prostitution was legalised in the Netherlands in 2000, but for more than a decade Dutch policy makers, police and citizens have admitted it has failed to curb crime or protect women. British author and anti-prostitution campaigner Julie Bindel said that under this regime, ‘trafficking and pimping has increased, organised crime is rife, and the women are not protected from violence’.

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May 2019
News > International

Brunei: Draconian new laws affect Christians as much as gay people

Strict new Islamic laws in Brunei which make homosexual activity an offence punishable by stoning to death have received much condemnation in the media and by celebrities. But the laws also affect the Christian community, with conversion from Islam and insulting the Prophet Muhammad both carrying the death penalty. Some have questioned why the media are focusing on the LGBT community while ignoring the impact on Christians. Open Doors USA told the Christian Post, ‘The newest and third phase of the law is difficult news for Christian converts who are expected to have to go into deeper hiding.’ The first phase, which rolled out five...

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May 2019
News > International

China: Cash rewards for turning in Christians

The Chinese government is offering cash rewards to people who inform on underground churches. One city, Guangzhou, is offering more than £1,000 to those who can identify ‘unofficial’ places of worship. The incentive is part of a nationwide effort to bring all religious groups under the control of the Communist Party. Officials within the Chinese government believe the West is trying to use Christianity to undermine the Communist regime. Religious affairs officers in Guangzhou have decided to offer cash rewards for useful information starting from just 100 yuan (£11). But helping to identify and arrest preachers and members of unauthorised religious groups will be rewarded...

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May 2019
News > International

LETTER FROM AMERICA: Southern Baptist Convention abuse scandal

In May 2018, the former president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Paige Patterson, came under the spotlight for mishandling cases of sexual assault at the seminary. The Southern Baptist Convention summarily terminated him from his position after investigating his role (Christianity Today, ‘Paige Patterson Fired by Southwestern’, June 2018). While this action won much acclaim (and shock) from its members, this was only the tip of the iceberg for the world’s largest Baptist denomination in its relation to the #MeToo movement. The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), while having origins in the southern US, has nearly fifty thousand congregations all over the country and currently boasts...

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News

April 2019
News > International

Letter from America: The life and faith of President George H.W. Bush

George Herbert Walker (H.W.) Bush, the 41st President of the United States, passed away in his Houston home on November 30, aged 94. During his presidency, Bush Sr. led the United States to prosperity after the fall of the Soviet Union but had been involved in diplomacy and politics long before that. At his funeral, the watching world mourned this quiet, humble man from Massachusetts who, to his dying day, lived out Proverbs 27:2: ‘Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips’. While many remember his political career, or even the fact that he became a millionaire...

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