First Lady Michelle Obama has been criticized by a women's rights group for failing to speak out during her week-long visit to China against forced abortions and human rights abuses.
"I am extremely disappointed that Mrs. Obama has deliberately ignored egregious women's rights abuses while in China," said Reggie Littlejohn, president of Women's Rights Without Frontiers, on Wednesday. "Mrs. Obama has positioned herself as an international women's leader. She could have done so much good if she had been willing to use her position to advance women's rights in a nation that tramples them.
"Mrs. Obama has chosen to ignore the intense suffering of hundreds of millions of women who have been victims of forced abortion, involuntary sterilization, gendercide and sexual slavery." more >>
"Veil of Tears," a riveting documentary from Gospel for Asia that is yet to be released, tells the untold stories of millions of women in South Asia who face oppression simply because of their gender. Dr. K. P. Yohannan, founder and international director of GFA, said the film not only shows the intense suffering, but the hope these women can find when they understand that they are valued in the eyes of God.
"One of the most obvious problems in this area is that the most unreached, untouched, neglected, suffering humanity in our world is women in Asian nations," Yohannan told The Christian Post. "For example, India alone has 46 million widows. That means a girl could be 18, 19, 20 or 30, and when her husband dies, in many places that's the end of their life. Many of them end up in despair."
He talked about an island off of the coast of West Bengal known as the "Widow's Island." Seventy-five percent of the people that live on that island are women who don't have husbands and they have no hope – they have been rejected and abused, Yohannan said. more >>
While applauding young evangelicals who have taken up causes such as opposition to injustice regarding the poor, the orphaned, and the enslaved, and who have helped increased awareness of such issues as sex trafficking and world starvation, Pastor David Platt said he is concerned about the lack of enthusiasm among some Christians on other issues like abortion and same-sex marriage.
"I'm concerned for lack of zeal, not exclusively, but particularly among young evangelicals on social issues that are just as, if not in some ways much more important like abortion and sexual immorality, and so-called same-sex marriage," Platt, pastor of The Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, Ala., preached at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary on Thursday. "On some of these issues, younger evangelical Christians [and] prominent church leaders are often strangely quiet."
Platt observed, "We live in a day that we can be passionate in our stand against poverty and slavery, injustice that we need to stay passionately against, but issues that don't bring us into conflict with the culture around us." more >>
Roman Catholic, Anglican and Muslim representatives came together on Monday at the Vatican to launch together the Global Freedom Network, with a mission to put an end to human trafficking and slavery by the end of the decade.
"It's not politically correct to call this modern slavery a crime against humanity but we want to arrive at that in national and international law," said Bishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo on behalf of Pope Francis, who signed the new initiative.
Sorondo was joined by New Zealand Archbishop David Moxon, director of the Anglican Centre in Rome, as well as Dr. Mahmoud Azab, representing the Grand Imam of Egypt's Al-Azhar Sunni Islam center. more >>
Pope Francis and Archbishop Justin Welby signed an agreement Monday to support an anti-slavery, anti-human trafficking initiative. The leaders of the Roman Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion backed the initiative known as the Global Freedom Network.
"Many are already engaged in the struggle and we join them with much to learn as well as much to contribute. All are called to join common cause to end this crime and suffering," said Welby. "We are struggling against evil in secret places and in deeply entrenched networks of malice and cruelty. No one of us is strong enough, but together we are ready for the challenge God is placing before us today, and we know that he will strengthen us so that all people may live in freedom and dignity."
In a statement released honoring the occasion, Welby said that the joint endeavor was part of the efforts to have Anglicans and Catholics united. more >>
India suffers from an abysmal literacy rate, weak infrastructure and rampant poverty. But one of the toughest challenges the world's second largest country must confront in the 21st century is how it will better serve its declining and vulnerable female population.
The causes discouraging families and communities from raising and protecting girls and women are explored in "Veil of Tears," a new documentary from Gospel for Asia, which releases in the U.S. on March 28. more >>