Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
India: Christian Children Threatened, Abused in Series of Attacks
Christian children were chased by knife-wielding Muslims, and a pastor had chili powder thrown in his eyes by Hindu extremists who gagged and bound his son -- these are just two of a number of violent attacks on Christians in India in the past three weeks, Barnabas Fund reports. On March 30, around 100 Muslims forced their way into a prayer meeting in a Christian couple's home, beating up many of the men and women and chasing them all -- including their children -- with a knife for about a half-hour, blocking their attempts to escape while a crowd of about 500 Muslims watched. On Easter Sunday, Hindu extremists attacked a pastor and his family in their home, gagging and binding the pastor's son while others threw chili powder in his eyes. On April 2, Hindu extremists went to a government school and announced a reward for children who had Christian literature in their homes. They harassed the children who said they did and summoned their parents, threatening to expel them from the village if they continued to go to church. The next day, the Hindus raided the Christian houses and tore up the texts they found, then locked 12 Christian families out of their homes for three days. The Indian police are often complicit in anti-Christian persecution, sometimes harassing Christians themselves, and according to Sajan George of the Global Council of Indian Christians, the country's Christian minority is living in "a climate of terror."
Vermont Senate Rejects Assisted Suicide Effort
The Vermont Senate has defeated for the second time this legislative session an effort to legalize physician-assisted suicide, Baptist Press reports. On April 12, supporters of assisted suicide failed to get the votes needed to suspend Senate rules to consider the proposal as an amendment -- they needed 22 votes, a three-fourths majority, but gained only 11. Eighteen senators voted against suspending the rules. Under the measure, people considered to have fewer than six months to live would have been granted the legal right to request a lethal drug dosage.
Voice of the Martyrs Responds to Exec. Director's Death, Allegations of Molestation
The Voice of the Martyrs, a ministry providing aid to persecuted Christians around the world, is responding to the sudden death of its executive director, Tom White, last week and the subsequent news of allegations that White had inappropriate contact with a young girl and chose to take his own life rather than face those allegations, the Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise reports. White, who worked with VOM for more than 30 years and served as executive director for more than 20, was found dead the morning of April 17 after being reported missing the night before. Court records show that White, 64, had very recently been accused of molesting a young girl and that police had launched an investigation. In a statement on Friday, VOM said: "None of those in leadership at VOM, including our Board of Directors, were aware of these allegations at the time of Tom's death. There is no doubt that Tom cared about his wife, his children and his grandchildren. And there's no doubt that he cared about VOM. We are deeply saddened by these events. Our hearts are broken. However, the work that God has called VOM to do is bigger than any one of us. There are persecuted Christians who need our help. The legal process will go forward, and we will continue serving with our persecuted brothers and sisters." A letter from VOM's president is expected to appear on its website this week.
Planned Parenthood May Be Illegally Distributing Abortifacients in N.H.
The Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) has filed an official complaint against Planned Parenthood of Northern New England (PPNNE), saying the group is breaking New Hampshire state law by directly providing abortifacient drugs to women, WORLD News Service reports. According to the complaint, filed with the New Hampshire Board of Pharmacy, "Planned Parenthood does not have a pharmacist on site at any of its six clinics, but distributes birth control, the morning-after pill, RU-486 and other pharmaceuticals related to its family planning and abortion business." New Hampshire requires family-planning groups to contract with the state in order to dispense such drugs, and those without contracts -- such as PPNNE, whose state contract expired last July -- are required to send women to licensed pharmacies. "No matter where a person stands on abortion, everyone should agree Planned Parenthood has to play by the same rules as everyone else," said Michael Tierney, a lawyer affiliated with ADF. The Board of Pharmacy has the power to revoke or suspend a license, not renew it, or impose fines on Planned Parenthood; board members could choose any of those options regardless of whether PPNNE receives another contract with New Hampshire.
Publication date: April 24, 2012