Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
No Breakthrough Yet in Burma Talks, Say Democracy Activists
ASSIST News Service reports that Burma campaigners, including a leading group in the UK, say that people should not be deceived by media reports that there has been some kind of breakthrough in Burma because Senior General Than Shwe has agreed to talks. There has been no breakthrough, they declare. This news was carried on the www.ekklesia.co.uk website. The story says that Than Shwe has repeated a demand made to UN Envoys since 1992. That is, that the National League for Democracy must agree to stop calling for human rights and democracy, and stop calling for international support, as preconditions before they start talking. “We have been here before,” said Mark Farmaner, Acting Director of the Burma Campaign UK (www.burmacampaign.org.uk). “The regime is still refusing to enter into genuine dialogue, Gambari’s mission has failed. We have to break out of this cycle. Ban Ki-moon must go to Burma and deliver a strong message to the regime that further delay is unacceptable. There must be deadlines set for the regime to enter into talks and begin reform, after which there will be consequences. He should have the backing of the United Nations Security Council in delivering this message.”
'Anti-Conversion' Law in Force in 4th State in India
Compass Direct News reports that the Congress Party government in Himachal Pradesh state has brought into force its “anti-conversion” law six months after the governor gave assent to the controversial bill regulating religious conversions. The move brings the number of states with anti-conversion laws in India to four: Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Orissa and Himachal Pradesh, although in Chhattisgarh the governor is seeking the opinion of the Attorney General of India on the legislation. Lansinglu Rongmei of the Christian Legal Association said her organization would challenge the constitutional validity of the law in Himachal Pradesh, which requires any person wishing to convert to give a prior notice of at least 30 days and prohibits conversion by “force or by inducement or by any other fraudulent means.”
Evangelical Leaders Seek to Establish Communications with Muslim Clerics
According to a Religion News Service release, in September 2006, author Howie Gardner, Pastor of Bel Air Assembly of God in Maryland, composed a letter to the Muslim World league in Saudi Arabia. The letter has been revised a number of times at the suggestions of various missionaries and theologians. It can be seen in its present form at www.cmdialogue.com. Gardner reported: "We did not take the usual evangelical approach of trying to convince them that the Bible is superior to the Quran. Certainly as Evangelical Christians we believe that and it would make for an interesting dialogue on another occasion. However in this forum we have attempted to stress the concept that one can denounce terrorism without denouncing Islam. There are a number of verses in the Quran which call for Muslims to take arms against 'infidels' and today many Muslims understand the verses to be a call to arms against Christians and Jews with the latter seeing them as an affront against themselves. In reality though, Muhammad did not regard either Christians or Jews to be infidels, quite the contrary." Our main goal has been to convince Muslim leaders, particularly those from the Muslim World League, to declare a fatwa against school curriculum being used in Saudi Arabia, Palestine and elsewhere which encourage small children to pursue the life of a terrorist."
Men in D.C. 'Stand in the Gap'
Held Saturday, Oct. 6, near the Washington Monument in Washington, D.C., Stand in the Gap 2007 marked the 10th anniversary of the first Stand in the Gap, which brought a million men to the National Mall in 1997. Baptist Press reports the gathering opened with a 200-member trumpet ensemble call to worship. Throughout the day, an estimated 20,000 men moved from standing and raising their hands in unified worship and adoration of Jesus Christ to falling on their knees in corporate prayers of remembrance and repentance. Inspired by the Old Testament's Nehemiah's leadership in rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem, the gathering featured key "acts" of returning to God -- remembering His attributes, renewing one's resolve to live a godly life and the rebuilding of what is broken in men's lives.