"We have got to make sure that we thoroughly teach all citizens that Japan is a divine nation centering on the emperor," Yoshiro Mori told members of the Association of Shinto Shrines. The comment has been severely criticized by the country's political and religious leaders. "It is quite dangerous for us to have a prime minister who makes such a remark,'' says the director of the Social Communications Department of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Japan, who noted that the history of emperor-worship and State Shinto is "largely the history of persecution and martyrdom" for Japanese Christians. (See more coverage in the Los Angeles Times, and The Washington Post.)
As ChristianityToday.com reported earlier this month, Pakistani military ruler General Musharraf promised major changes to the application of Pakistan's blasphemy law. Addressing a national seminar on "Human Dignity" in Islamabad on Good Friday, General Musharraf said blasphemy cases could no longer be registered merely by a complaint, but only after "preliminary investigation" by a deputy commissioner of police and a thorough scrutiny of the charge. But this week, when Islamic organizations threatened to protest, General Musharraf backed down. The BBC reports that there will be no change in the application of the country's blasphemy laws.
Authorities in southern China have closed down churches and arrested at least 10 leaders of underground Christian groups, according to religious freedom watchdog Christian Solidarity Worldwide. The Religious Affairs Bureau in Guangdong province confirmed to ...1
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