Violence Prompts Worship Law Revision, IHOP Sues IHOP, & More News
Abuse surfaces at West African mission school
SENEGAL More than 50 children were allegedly abused at a New Tribes Mission (NTM) boarding school in Senegal in the 1980s. The report, released by Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment (G.R.A.C.E.), says NTM "emphasized the saving of souls at the expense of children." Recommendations include establishing a $1 million fund for damages to missionary kids and attempting to apologize to each child. NTM, which commissioned the report, said leaders are "deeply saddened" and have begun making recommended changes.
Violence prompts revision of worship law
INDONESIA Authorities in Indonesia will revise a decree that gives districts the power to authorize places of worship. The law has created difficulty for Christians, whose applications for church locations rarely make it through the process. The announcement follows the stabbings of two Protestant leaders in Bekasi and a torch-lit protest in Jakarta, the nation's capital. In early September, a state court in West Java overturned a December 2009 decree that closed the Bekasi church's doors; members continued to meet outside, where escalating conflicts with local radical Muslims made international head-lines.
SBC election spotlights missions debate
The election of the North American Mission Board's (NAMB) new president illustrated tensions in the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) over whether missions should be funded cooperatively or directly. Leaders of Arkansas' and Louisiana's state conventions publicly opposed the nomination of Kentucky pastor Kevin Ezell, noting that his 4,740-member church has budgeted more than $1.3 million for missions this year, but that only 2 percent will go through the SBC's Cooperative Program (which helps fund the NAMB).
Court: Religious group can get school funds
A religious student group cannot be denied school funds on the basis of its religious activities, the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled. Badger Catholic filed suit when the University of Wisconsin-Madison denied the group money for programs, including prayer meetings aimed at reducing student anxiety. The court's 2-1 decision implied that religious activities such as worship and evangelism are indistinguishable from religious dialogue, a position that dissenting judge Ann Williams said "degrades religion and the practice of religion."
First Army chaplain dies since Vietnam War
AFGHANISTAN An Army chaplain struck by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan August 30 became the first chaplain killed in combat since the Vietnam War. Dale Allen Goetz, 43, an Oregon minister with an M.Div. from Central Baptist Theological Seminary in Minnesota, was one of more than 400 chaplains stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan.
IHOP sues IHOP
After 10 years of duplicate acronyms, the International House of Pancakes is suing the International House of Prayer for trademark dilution and infringement. The Kansas City-based prayer center opened 10 years ago with the goal of holding day-and-night prayer. The restaurant chain said it is only now suing because the church has declined requests to change its name, has recently expanded, and now serves food at some locations.
Baptists arrested for helping AIDS patients
ZIMBABWE Six aid workers connected to a California church were arrested in Zimbabwe in late September while handing out antiretroviral drugs to AIDS patients. The group—five Americans representing Allen Temple Baptist Church in Oakland, and one Zimbabwean doctor—was held in Harare Central Police Station for allegedly lacking proper certification. A lawyer said two members were licensed doctors; charges were later dropped.