World News Briefs - May
20 Years of Religious Freedom
Seventh-day Adventist representatives join Italy’s prime minister in celebrating the 20th anniversary of a law legalizing independent relations between the church and the Italian state. Adventists are among the first of Protestant denominations to sign the agreement with the predominantly Catholic nation. The agreement officially recognizes Adventist ministers and the ceremonies they officiate. It also makes provision for Adventist young people to choose community service instead of the usual required military service.
SOURCE: Adventist News Network
Dali Lama Supports Beijing Olympics
Several individual athletes as well as newspapers and lawmakers in Europe have been considering a boycott of the 2008 Beijing Olympics due to alleged human-rights violations in Tibet. But the Dali Lama, Tibet’s exiled Buddhist leader, spoke out in support of China hosting the games. This announcement comes as the region faces some of the worst violence in the last two decades.
Archbishop's Death Prompts Outcry
Christian world leaders condemned the death of Iraq’s second most senior Catholic official. The 65-year-old priest died while being held hostage in the country’s northern region. His death draws attention to the violence against Christians in Iraq. There are an estimated 600,000 Iraqi Christians, down from 1.2 million just five years ago.
Amish Men Prosecuted
The government of Morristown, N.Y., is prosecuting 10 Old Order Amish men for building homes without proper state permits. The men acknowledge failure to obtain permits, but say incorporating the latest technology required by permits violates their religious beliefs. The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty has joined the dispute on behalf of the Amish.
SOURCE: Associated Press
ADRA Serves Flood Victims
The Adventist Development and Relief Agency is partnering with the U.S. Agency for International Development to provide shelter, clean water and everyday supplies for more than 1,000 families in Bolivia. The nation is facing severe flooding after months of intense La Niña rainfall. Flooding has affected more than 79,000 people and caused more than 60 deaths.
A two-week evangelistic series in Cuba resulted in more than 700 baptisms. Presentations by Mark Finley were held in the Polivalento Stadium in Santiago, an arena typically reserved for sporting events. Baptisms were held in the city’s Olympic-size pool. The series drew more than 2,500 people each night.
Former Soviet Leader Denies Secret Christianity
Mikhail Gorbachev, the last Communist Soviet Union leader, recently visited the tomb of St. Francis of Assisi. His tour included 20 minutes of silent kneeling at the tomb and requests for books on the life of St. Francis. This led to several newspaper reports saying Gorbachev admitted to being a lifelong Christian. He has since denied the claim, calling rumors of his secret Christianity "fantasies."
Legislature Ends Lord’s Prayer Recitation
The Premier of Ontario, Canada, recommends the provincial legislature drop the daily recitation of the Lord’s Prayer from their proceedings. Liberal Party members say this move is long overdue, and the legislature should use a prayer that better reflects the diverse faiths of the province. Currently there are only two Canadian provinces which begin proceedings with the Lord’s Prayer.
Child's Death Sparks Faith Controversy
Oregon City prosecutors are reviewing the death of a 15-month-old girl who a medical examiner says could have been saved if she had been treated with antibiotics. The girl's parents are members of the Followers of Christ Church, which treats the sick through anointing. Former members say those who seek modern medical remedies are ostracized. If prosecuted, the parents could face charges for failing to seek medical treatment for a gravely ill child.
SOURCE: Associated Press