Mumbai (AsiaNews) - More attacks against Christians in Karnataka. On December 5 groups of Hindu extremists have made four different attacks against Protestant Christians.
The first took place against the Gipsy Prayer Hall in Bangalore in the Kenger Upanagara slum. Here, the extremists attacked a church while during Sunday service, terrorizing and threatening about 50 participants. The district of Shimoga was the scene of two other incidents. The Hindu extremists beat up and dragged four Christians out of their churches, and then had them arrested by police on false charges of proselytism.
The fourth incident targeted the Christians of the Pentecostal Church of Jyothinagar (Bangalore). A group of 40 extremists surrounded the building during services, throwing stones and shouting anti-Christian slogans.
Sajan George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians, said: "The four attacks on the same day in Karnataka is reflective of the insecurity of the vulnerable minority Christian community and more importantly this is an indication of the climate of fear ,f persecution and harassment and terror in which Christians must practice their faith in this Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-governed state". “TheBajrang Dal activists continue to attack, beat and threaten the Christians. This is a real challenge to our secular democracy. The situation could become worse if the authorities do not intervene. "
"The allegations of proselytizing of the Sangh Parivar [Hindu extremists] against Christians are baseless and false". "The law of Karnataka on freedom of religion aims to avoid forced conversions, but it is often manipulated and used to criminalize conversions in general and is used by Hindu extremists with the complicity of local police to attack Christians."
"The sad thing - says Sajan - is that such laws were passed not only in PBJ led states, but also in states led by the Congress Party [PC]. For example, the Himachal Anti-Conversion Law was approved during the government of Pc. "
WASHINGTON (December 6, 2010) — Leaders of some of the largest religious communities in the United States have come together to express their commitment toward the protection of marriage as the union of one man and one woman. In an open letter released today, entitled “The Protection of Marriage: A Shared Commitment,” leaders from Anglican, Baptist, Catholic, Evangelical, Jewish, Lutheran, Mormon, Orthodox, Pentecostal and Sikh communities in the United States affirmed the importance of preserving marriage’s unique meaning.
“The broad consensus reflected in this letter—across great religious divides—is clear: The law of marriage is not about imposing the religion of anyone, but about protecting the common good of everyone,” said Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York, newly elected president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and one of the letter’s signers. “People of any faith or no faith at all can recognize that when the law defines marriage as between one man and one woman, it legally binds a mother and a father to each other and their children, reinforcing the foundational cell of human society.”
The release of this letter comes the same morning that oral arguments on the Proposition 8 case are set to begin. In August, Judge Vaughn Walker had ruled California’s Proposition 8 to be unconstitutional, based in part on the claim that defining marriage as between a man and a woman lacked any rational basis at all, and instead reflected nothing but religion-based hostility to homosexual persons. This ruling has been appealed and its hearing is scheduled for today, December 6.
“Today is the moment to stand for marriage and its unchangeable meaning. We hope this letter will encourage just that,” Archbishop Dolan said. “The Protection of Marriage: A Shared
Commitment” is being circulated nationwide. Downloadable PDF versions of the letter can be found atwww.usccb.org/defenseofmarriage/shared-commitment. A backgrounder on the statement can be found at http://www.usccb.org/comm/backgrounders/shared-commitment.shtml
Full text of the letter and signers follows:
The Protection of Marriage: A Shared Commitment
Marriage is the permanent and faithful union of one man and one woman. As such, marriage is the natural basis of the family. Marriage is an institution fundamental to the well-being of all of society, not just religious communities.
As religious leaders across different faith communities, we join together and affirm our shared commitment to promote and protect marriage as the union of one man and one woman. We honor the unique love between husbands and wives; the indispensible place of fathers and mothers; and the corresponding rights and dignity of all children.
Marriage thus defined is a great good in itself, and it also serves the good of others and society in innumerable ways. The preservation of the unique meaning of marriage is not a special or limited interest but serves the good of all. Therefore, we invite and encourage all people, both within and beyond our faith communities, to stand with us in promoting and protecting marriage as the union of one man and one woman.
National Association of Evangelicals
Dr. Thomas E. Armiger
Dr. Jo Anne Lyon
Dr. Jerry G. Pence
The Board of General Superintendents
The Wesleyan Church
Dr. Gary M. Benedict
The Christian and Missionary Alliance
Glenn C. Burris Jr.
The Foursquare Church
Bishop H. David Burton
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Dr. Ronald W. Carpenter, Sr.
International Pentecostal Holiness Church Ministries
Director, Institute for Public Affairs
Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America
Most Rev. Timothy M. Dolan
Archbishop of New York
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
The Most Rev. Robert Duncan
Archbishop, Anglican Church in North America
Bishop, Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh
Rev. Jim Eschenbrenner
Rev. Dr. Stephen A. Gammon
Conservative Congregational Conference
Rev. Matthew C. Harrison
The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod
Great Commission Churches
Dr. Clyde M. Hughes
International Pentecostal Church of Christ
The Brethren Church
Bishop Harry Jackson
Senior Pastor, Hope Christian Church
Bishop, Fellowship of International Churches
The Most Blessed Jonah
Archbishop of Washington
Metropolitan of All America and Canada
Orthodox Church in America
Dr. Richard Land
Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission
Rev. Frederick J. Moury Jr.
National Conference Chair
Evangelical Congregational Church
Dr. James Murray
Interim Executive Director
General Association of General Baptists
Rev. Samuel Rodriguez
National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference
World Sikh Council – America Region
The Rev. Paull E. Spring
North American Lutheran Church
Dr. Joseph Tkach
Grace Communion International
Rev. Phil Whipple
Church of the United Brethren in Christ, USA
Dr. George O. Wood
Assemblies of God
Screenshot of the Mary MacKillop website
CATH NEWS REPORT: The Mary MacKillop website, set up by the Sisters of St Joseph in preparation for her canonisation, has recorded some 190,000 visitors and received prayer requests from 80,000 people in just six months, the website's manager said in a recent presentation.
These figures exclude the canonisation month of October, when the site had six times the monthly average of visitors.
Sr Annette Arnold rsj, who oversees the web presence, said the enormous popularity of the website is evidence that the church has to go out to meet people where they are at – and for most people these days, the internet is that meeting place.
In a presentation delivered at the 25th anniversary of the Catholic Justice and Peace Commission of the Archdiocese of Brisbane recently, Sr Annette said statistics show that people are also spending a long time on the Mary MacKillop site when they visit, with the website registering millions of "hits".
"I don't think in our day anyone in leadership in the church should look surprised or disinterested or their eyes glaze over, when you tell them of the hundreds of thousands of people coming to visit Mary's website or that two of the new saints. ie Mary MacKillop and Andre Bessette are following each other in cyber space on Twitter," Sr Annette said.
"While it may be foreign to some and they do not like to use the internet, remember Mary's words: there where you are will find your God. Cyberspace IS where people are today and not just young people.
"For better or worse, like it or not, this is where people are, where they are spending a huge amount of time. Are we there sharing and offering the essence and best of the Jesus story? What do we need to do to be there?"
Sr Annette said the model of St Mary MacKillop, who even now is meeting people where they are, in their particular need, created a wonderful challenge for the church into the future
AGENZIA FIDES REPORT - DEADLOCK BUT DIPLOMACY IS WORKING AWAY. EYE-WITNESSES IN ABIDJAN AND KORHOGO SPEAK TO FIDES “THE LIVES OF ORDINARY PEOPLE CONTINUE WHILE THE POLITICIANS TALK” A SOURCE FROM THE CHURCH IN ABIDJAN TELLS FIDES, THE ECONOMIC CAPITAL OF CÔTE D'IVOIRE, DIVIDED BETWEEN TWO LEADERS, ALASSANE OUATTARA AND LAURENT GBAGBO. “MOVEMENT IN THE STREETS IS QUITE REGULAR AND PEOPLE ARE TRYING TO GO ABOUT THEIR EVERYDAY LIVES. BUT THE TENSION IS OBVIOUS. THE CURFEW IS STILL IN FORCE FROM 10 PM TO 5 AM. APART FROM SOME CONFLICT, HOWEVER, THE VIOLENCE SEEMS TO BE UNDER CONTROL AT LEAST IN ABIDJAN.”
A missionary source from Korhogo in the north of the Country, tells Fides that the situation is calm. In recent days, however, there have been incidents of houses being burnt”. The north of Côte d'Ivoire has been controlled by New Forces rebels since September 2002, considered close to Alassane Ouattara. “In Korhogo, the population voted overwhelmingly for Ouattara, with very high percentages (90-92% of the vote). So here it is unlikely that there are clashes between supporters of Gbagbo and those of Ouattara,” says the Fides source. “The area is also manned by the New Forces, because the regular army (which seems to have remained loyal to Gbagbo, ed.) made only a brief appearance for the elections and then withdrew.”
Côte d'Ivoire therefore seems to moving towards a rift with two Presidents and two Prime Ministers who are preside over two different executives. In addition, the territorial division, which dates back to 2002 (with the north and west controlled by the New Forces), has never been fully reconciled. “The checkpoints between areas in the hands of the New Forces and those controlled by the central Government have never been completely removed, as required by the peace agreements signed in Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso) in 2007. Recently there have been others instituted by the former rebels,” says our source from Korhogo.
Meanwhile, diplomacy is working to try to find a solution to the serious political and institutional crisis. The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), convened today, 7 December, in Abuja (Nigeria) for a special Summit on Côte d'Ivoire, while mediation continues by the African Union envoy, former South African President Thabo Mbeki.
The Immaculate Conception
Feast: December 8