David Nussman – June 26, 2018
JOS, Nigeria (ChurchMilitant.com) – Recent clashes between Muslim herdsmen and Christian farmers in Nigeria have left more than 120 dead.
In Plateau State in central Nigeria, Christian farmer on June 21 allegedly attacked a group of Fulani herdsmen — semi-nomadic members of the Muslim-majority Fulani ethnic group. The next day, two children were killed in local villages, presumably in retaliation.
Clashes in nearby villages on June 23 caused at least 86 deaths. Some later body counts put the death toll at more than 120, and fifty houses were burned in the attacks.
Local Protestant leader Pam Chollom claims that Fulani militants attacked mourners returning from a Christian funeral service. Chollom said, “Herdsmen attacked our members who attended the burial of the father to one of our clergy, Baba Jakawa.”
The series of Fulani attacks on June 23 lasted from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m., and some 11 villages were raided. Since then, local government has installed a curfew in an effort to deter further violence. Some victims of the attacks were buried in a mass grave.
Brandon Showalter – June 22, 2018
New research reveals that religious hostility is on the rise globally, as government-sponsored restrictions and non-state actor assaults on religious practice have grown for the second year in a row.
The Pew Research Center’s ninth annual study, which was released Thursday, on restrictions on religion around the world charted the direction of religious freedom in 198 countries in 2016, and found a notable overall increase from 2015. Whether from government decrees hostile to religious faith or terror groups committing atrocities against religious minorities in their societies, antagonism toward people because of their religion is trending upward.
“More than a quarter (28%) of countries had ‘high’ or ‘very high’ levels of government restrictions on religion in 2016, an increase from 25% the year before. This is the largest share of countries in these categories since 2013,” the report reads.
Bob Unruh – June 5, 2018
Californians who don’t want their lawmakers to ban the Bible, to criminalize counselors who help people with same-sex attractions and to dictate their moral values apparently will have one chance to tell them.
That’s at a hearing before the legislature’s Judiciary Committee on June 12, where AB 2943 will be discussed.
“This will be the only committee hearing with opportunities for public testimonies before going to the Appropriations Committee and the state Senate for a vote,” advised Liberty Counsel, which is opposed to the radical plan.
It would make counseling against same-sex lifestyles a crime by calling it “consumer fraud.”
The bill also would ban printed materials that advocate for ways to become free of unwanted same-sex attractions. And several experts contend the broadly written proposal could ban sale of the Bible.
Lianne Laurence – June 1, 2018
OTTAWA, (LifeSiteNews) – Canada’s top court has affirmed the right of religious groups to govern their own affairs. It ruled yesterday that an Alberta court had no jurisdiction to review a decision by a Jehovah’s Witness congregation to expel a member for alleged drunkenness and domestic verbal abuse.
In a 30-page ruling released Thursday, all nine Supreme Court justices agreed the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench had no authority to rule on civil action against Jehovah’s Witness brought by former member Randy Wall. The plaintiff had argued that his expulsion from the church affected his property and civil rights.
Courts have neither the “legitimacy nor institutional capacity to deal with contentious matters of religious doctrine,” wrote Justice Malcolm Rowe.
“In the end, religious groups are free to determine their own membership and rules,” Rowe concluded, adding courts will only intervene in such matters if there is an underlying legal dispute that must be resolved, reported the National Post.
DW – May 13, 2018
At least 13 people were killed and around 40 were injured on Sunday, when explosions hit three churches during morning Mass in the Indonesia’s second-largest city, Surabaya.
Police said the three churches were hit by a family of suicide bombers with links to the local extremist network Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD), which supports the “Islamic State” (IS) jihadist group. Authorities warned that the death toll is likely to rise.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo was quick to condemn the attacks and the use of children as suicide bombers. “These terrorist attacks are cruel and inhuman,” Widodo said after visiting victims at a hospital in Surabaya. “There are no words to describe our sorrow for the victims of this act of terrorism.”
One witness at the Diponegoro Christian Church told local media that the mother and her daughters were initially denied access to the church grounds by security guards, but they insisted and forced their way inside. “Suddenly she hugged a civilian then (the bomb) exploded,” the witness said.
TruNews – March 30, 2018
Police are now investigating a Satanist attack on a British church, the second such attack in the past four months on the church, which desecrated the sanctuary.
Security footage at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Great Yarmouth shows a man setting small fires inside the church, then removing a “sacred icon” from the altar and replacing it with a Satanic picture. He then tried to burn the Christian icon.
Norfolk police say they are investigating the attack as a “religiously aggravated hate crime.” Four months ago, someone placed a Satanic image at the foot of the 19th century church’s cross.
Parish priest Fr. Anthony Nwankwo said:
“Our church and sanctuary has been desecrated.
“It is a clear attack on the church and our religion which is not acceptable. If people do not like what we do here they can just stay away. Such an attack on our church can never succeed.
Heather Clark – March 21, 2018
A string of vandalism cases have been reported by churches nationwide this month, from Georgia and North Carolina to Texas and California.
“Why?” asked William Yeoman, a trustee at Providence Missionary Baptist Church in Belville, North Carolina. “Did God do anything to you? Did we do anything to you?”
Windows were smashed at both Yeoman’s church, and nearby Blackwell Chapel AME Zion Church, over the weekend. Two windows on the front of Providence Missionary Baptist Church had been broken, and both front doors, two front windows, and a side window were smashed at Blackwell Chapel AME Zion Church.
“I looked down on the floor and there I saw some glass down there,” Yeoman told WECT-TV. “I found out that somebody probably took a bat or maybe a screwdriver or something and punched a hole in the window, because the glass spread all over the floor, all over the [bathroom] sink.”
Fredrick Nzwili – March 7, 2018
NAIROBI, Kenya (RNS) — A move by Rwanda to shut down more than 700 churches in its capital city, allegedly for building safety, hygiene and noise violations, is prompting accusations that the government of President Paul Kagame is trampling on religious freedom.
On Tuesday (March 6), police detained six pastors, accusing them of conspiring to rally other clergy in defiance of the government’s shutdown orders.
Anastase Shyaka, the chief executive of the Rwanda Governance Board, which ordered the closures, said the action was about “honoring God.”
“It means that if we are Christians, where we worship must meet standards showing respect for God,” Shyaka told The New Times, a Rwandan English-language daily.
Michael Gryboski – January 3, 2018
Presbyterian Church (USA) will soon have a new Book of Common Worship, which will include a new marriage service text that will feature “inclusive language.”
Scheduled to be released in May, the latest edition of the BCW is the first revision of the voluntary worship resource since 1993.
Among the changes made, the new edition will feature what the PCUSA publication Presbyterians Today described as “inclusive language” for its marriage rite.
“A revised marriage service features inclusive language and a flexible format, making the service useful for all sorts of couples and family configurations,” Presbyterians Today reported on Tuesday.
“Those who want to renew their vows will find a service that is adaptable for a variety of people and places. Also included is a brief service of prayer for those who seek a way to ritually mark the end of a marriage.”
Taylor Berglund – January 2, 2017
Gunmen killed at least 14 churchgoers returning from midnight New Year’s services in Nigeria’s Rivers state. One relative told The Guardian the attacks happened around 12:30 a.m. in a coordinated attack in two different locations. Reports indicate that the shots were disguised by the sound of fireworks, making it difficult for people in the area to realize what was happening.
The exact death toll is disputed at this time. The Guardian reports a death toll of 14 people, while BBC cites police sources saying at least 16 were killed. One anonymous officer said, “14 persons died on the spot, while 12 who sustained gunshot wounds were rushed to the hospital and are receiving medical attention.”
David Umahi, governor of the Ebonyi state, condemned the attacks as a national tragedy in an official statement, according to the Nigeria Independent.