An Israeli bombardment has partially destroyed a Catholic school, along with the parish priest's office and other church facilities in a raid on Gaza on Tuesday. As many as 29 disabled children and nine elderly women are said to have been living at the complex, with the parish priest condemning the "absurd war" between Israel and Hamas.
"We had a tough night, but we are here. This war is absurd,'' said parish priest Jorge Hernandez, who was living at the Holy Family Catholic church, alongside three nuns with the Mother Theresa order, according to Fides News Agency.
"After destroying the neighborhood of Shujayeh, now Zeitun is being targeted. Everything happens around us. The Hamas militants continue to fire rockets and then hide in the alleys. And we cannot do anything. We cannot evacuate, it is impossible with children. Their families live here. It is more dangerous to go out than stay here. We try to stay in safer places, always on the ground floor." more >>
The plight of U.S.-Iranian Pastor Saeed Abedini was highlighted by Secretary of State John Kerry during his remarks for the State Department's 2013 Report on International Religious Freedom, with Kerry promising to continue to work for the pastor's release.
"In Iran, U.S. Iranian citizen Pastor Saeed Abedini remains imprisoned. The Iranian authorities sentenced him to eight years behind bars simply because of his religious beliefs. We will continue to call for his release and we will continue to work for it," Kerry stated.
"And make no mistake: We will continue to stand up for religious minority communities under assault and in danger around the world, from Jehovah's Witnesses to Baha'is to Ahmadi Muslims." more >>
The end of Christianity in Iraq could be "very near" according to Canon Andrew White, the vicar of the only Anglican church in Iraq, as Islamic militants continue their attacks of Christians and the central government.
"Things are so desperate, our people are disappearing," White said in an interview with BBC Radio 4 over the weekend. "We have had people massacred, their heads chopped off.
"Are we seeing the end of Christianity? We are committed come what may, we will keep going to the end, but it looks as though the end could be very near." more >>
New York City pastor William Devlin has traveled to Khartoum in Sudan where he has met Christian mother Meriam Ibrahim and offered to help bring and take care of her and her family in the United States.
"The Devlin family has offered to bring this family back to the USA from Khartoum and have them live with us. I have been interviewed by the U.S. State Department in Washington D.C. and I have also met for three hours with the U.S. Ambassador to Sudan here in Khartoum – and his senior staff," Devlin said in an email to The Christian Post on Sunday.
"Furthermore, because of my long term friendship with the Foreign Minister of Sudan, I have met personally with him and asked him to advocate for this family – and have the Sudanese authorities release this family to me to bring them back to U.S.. I have offered to pay for their flights (the four of them) to America and to house them indefinitely in our home – and to provide for their needs." more >>
The high-profile trial of Singapore megachurch pastor Kong Hee and five other City Harvest Church officials for misusing millions of church funds to pay for his wife's popstar career, resumed on Monday. Kong's wife, singer Sun Ho, is expected to take the witness stand this week.
Channel NewsAsia pointed out that the trial, which began in May 2012, is turning out to be one of the longest-running criminal trials in the country. Kong and the five other officials are accused of musing 24 million SGD ($19.2 million) in donated money. The defense has argued that City Harvest's church board never passed a resolution that indicated who exactly has the power to make decisions regarding the funds.
Sun Ho has not been charged herself in the case, though was temporarily removed from her position as executive director of the 30,000 member City Harvest, which was founded by Kong in 1989. The singer is expected to be one of the witnesses called to the stand this week, along with the first of the six church officials on trial. more >>
Megachurch pastor Robert Jeffress of First Baptist Church in Dallas has argued that the most compassionate thing to do regarding the current border crisis involving immigrant children is to build a fence and prevent them from entering the country.
"The most compassionate thing we can do for these children is to secure the border," the pastor said in an interview on Fox News' "Fox & Friends," broadcast on Thursday.
He used a comparison of home swimming pools in Texas: "If you're a homeowner with a swimming pool that doesn't have a fence around it, and a neighborhood child wanders in and drowns, you're liable because you have enticed that child into a dangerous situation. The remedy is to build a fence." more >>