Churches Under Fire
Christians remain targets in Iraq. On November 8, car bombs were detonated at two churches in southwest Baghdad. Three people died and fifty others were injured. On October 16, the second day of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, assailants bombed and then burned five churches in Baghdad. The attacks follow the bombing of five churches in August (ct, October, p. 19). In Mosul, where one church was bombed, church leaders report threats by Islamic militants. Barnabas Fund says that 1,500 Christian women, harassed by other students for not wearing Muslim veils, have stopped attending classes at a Mosul university. Citing dangerous conditions, World Vision has pulled out of the country.
Protestant pastor Rinaldy Damanik, who informed the international community about attacks against Christians in Central Sulawesi, Indonesia, was released from prison in November. Charged with possessing illegal weapons, Damanik was set free ten months before the end of his three-year sentence. Christian Solidarity Worldwide reports that Indonesian Muslim militants have launched a terror campaign against Christian leaders and pastors.
Assisted-Suicide Case Appealed
In November the Department of Justice announced it is appealing a decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit to allow the state of Oregon to use otherwise federally controlled substances in assisted suicide. "What we need is not more power for doctors to use drugs to kill their patients, but more power for doctors who use drugs to heal and comfort their patients," said Gene Rudd of the Christian Medical Association.
Anglicans in Rwanda broke ground in August on Kigali Theological College. Leaders hope to start with 45 students, eventually growing to 200. The Anglican Mission in America, an ecclesiastical home for dissident American Episcopal parishes sponsored by the Anglican church in Rwanda, is funding the venture.
The Christian Medical Association announced in October it will help the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services administer a $304,000 grant promoting adoption of human embryos. Also, Nightlight Christian Adoptions, a nonprofit adoption agency, has received a $328,000 grant from hhs for a public-awareness campaign. In 1997, Nightlight began the Snowflakes Frozen Embryo Adoption Program, which helps infertile couples get a child through embryo adoption.
World Vision and other nongovernmental organizations have joined Thailand in launching the Child Sex Tourism Prevention Project. The effort aims to help and rescue young people under the age of 18 in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and other locations.
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Weblog has reported on the continued attacks on Iraqi churches. Articles elsewhere include:
Pope condemns Iraq church attacks | Pope John Paul II has spoken out against attacks on Iraq's Christian community after the bombing of two churches in the northern city of Mosul. (BBC, Dec. 8, 2004,)
Iraq churches bombed, 1,000th American killed | Gunmen bombed two churches in the tense Iraqi city of Mosul on Tuesday, fueling fears of ethnic and sectarian unrest ahead of an election next month. (Reuters, Dec 7, 2004)
Iraq blasts mar Muslim holy month | Militants have bombed five Christian churches in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, where Muslims have been greeting the holy month of Ramadan begins. (BBC, Oct. 16, 2004)
Car bombs target churches in Iraq | At least 10 killed, 40 wounded in 5 blasts in Baghdad, Mosul (CNN, Aug. 1, 2004)
Other Christianity Today articles on the church in Iraq are available from our Iraq page, and other articles on the war are available from our War in Iraq page.
PrisonerAlert, from Voice of the Martyrs, has more information about the release of Pastor Rinaldy Damanik.
News elsewhere on the Justice Department's appeal of Oregon's assisted suicide law.
Bush, Ashcroft seek to overturn Oregon's law on assisted suicide | The Bush administration wants to overturn the law, arguing that Oregon cannot contravene federal law that forbids doctors to prescribe drugs that patients could use to take their lives. Attorney General John Ashcroft recently asked the Supreme Court to review a lower court ruling that assisted suicides may continue. (Chicago Tribune, via Billings Gazette, Nov. 27, 2004)
Ashcroft's final action an insult to Oregonians | Let's hope his replacement can respect states' rights (Editorial, Salem Statesman Journal, Ore., Nov. 15, 2004)
The Anglican Mission in America has more information about Kigali Theological College.
More information about The Christian Medical Association and its grant to help the adoption of human embryos is available from the group's website.
More about the Child Sex Tourism Prevention Project is available from World Vision.
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