News Update - May 2015

House Approves 20-Week Abortion Ban Legislation
A bill that would ban abortions performed after 20 weeks of pregnancy was approved by the U. S. House of Representatives May 13. Fox News reports the legislation passed at a "near party-line" of 242 to 184. 

The bill, formally called the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, was written to protect babies that can feel the pain of an abortion in the womb. Speaker of the House John Boehner, of Ohio, praised the bill as "the most pro-life legislation to ever come before this body." "We should all be proud to take this stand today," he said. 

Still, the pro-life bill will likely never become law. The Obama administration has already stated its opposition against the legislation, and urged the President to veto the bill. 

A statement from the White House reads, "The Administration strongly opposes H.R. 36, which would unacceptably restrict women's health and reproductive rights and is an assault on a woman's right to choose. Women should be able to make their own choices about their bodies and their health care, and Government should not inject itself into decisions best made between a woman and her doctor. If the President were presented with this legislation, his senior advisors would recommend that he veto this bill."

Christian Headlines

Pastor's Children Give Bully a Bible, Bully Apologizes for Harassment
A school bus bully in Texas apologized for his behavior after a pastor's son and daughter gave him a Bible to read. 

Christian Today reports the bully was harassing an eight year-old and his seven year-old sister, children of a local pastor. The children told their parents that the bully called them names and taunted them, so the parents a different seating arrangement on the bus. When that did not work, they prayed for a solution. 

"So, I prayed about it and God said, ‘You know what? Let's get this kid a Bible. Tell him Jesus loves him and invite him to church and see what happens,'" the pastor said. The children gave the bully a Bible and said he responded with an apology two minutes later. The harassment has not been a problem since. 

The son said, "I don't know, maybe [the bully] started to read the Bible at his house and found the Scripture about it." 

Christian Headlines

Chinese Province Removes Hundreds of Crosses from Churches
Chinese authorities in Zhejiang province have stripped crosses from the outside of hundreds of churches, according to reports. 

Pastor Zheng Leguo, who is originally from Zhejiang province, said, "The authorities have attached great importance to this religious symbol. This means no more prominent manifestation of Christianity in the public square."

According to The Christian Post, a new law has also been proposed that would ban churches in the province from placing any new crosses on the roofs of buildings. Authorities have justified that law by saying crosses on building violated building codes. 

"This new draft law is just another attempt by the government to legitimize its existing illegal violent campaign of destruction and removal of the cross," said Bob Fu of U.S.-based China Aid.

About 400 crosses have been removed from churches in Zhejiang since 2014. 

Christian Headlines

Pakistan's Biggest City Has Unlikely Addition to Skyline: 14-story Christian Cross
A Pakistani businessman says God told him to build one of the largest crosses in Pakistan. "I said, ‘I am going to build a big cross, higher than any in the world, in a Muslim country,'" said Parvez Henry Gill, 58. "It will be a symbol of God, and everybody who sees this will be worry free."

Four years ago, Gill dreamed that God told him to find a way to help protect Christians in Pakistan. God told him to "do something different." Today, the 14-story cross (140 feet tall) is almost finished. It's being built at the entrance to a large Christian cemetery. "I want Christian people to see it and decide to stay here," said Gill, who started the project about a year ago.

Other large crosses around the world include "The Great Cross" in St. Augustine, Fla., the tallest in the world at 208 feet. Gill says his cross is the largest in Asia.

Gill said about 20 Muslim workers have quit in protest over building the cross. Over all, both Muslims and Christians have worked together to build it. "Tons and tons of steel, iron and cement," he said. "If anyone tries to hit this cross, they will not succeed."

In Pakistan, Muslims make up about 90 percent of the population, while Christian account for just 1.5 percent of Pakistan's 180 million people.

Christian Headlines

Nepali Christians Return to Worship after Earthquake Turns Churches into Tombs
A congregation of Christians in Nepal finished singing a worship song this week that they had been singing when an earthquake rocked the capital April. It's one of many accounts coming out of the area of Christians returning to worship and prayer after the earthquake devastated the area.

"I was standing in a row near to the wall and praying when the trembling started. The pastor continued the prayer and suddenly, everything collapsed," said Maili Tamang, who was worshipping at the Vision of Salvation Church. "I was half conscious and could hear people screaming. After one hour I was pulled out. While lying there, I knew God would save me."

Christianity Today reports the Vision of Salvation Church collapsed during the quake. There were 62 members at the church at the time. Seventeen people died, including Tamang's husband, sister and three other family members. The senior pastor Elia Ghale and his son were also killed.

It's unclear how many churches were destroyed in the 7.8-magnitude earthquake. Thus far, the Baptist World Alliance is reporting that about 150 Christians were killed in the quake. "I am getting reports of entire Christian families being wiped out in Kathmandu and outside," said Simon Pandey, chairman of the National Christian Fellowship of Nepal.

More than 8,000 people thus far have been reported killed by the earthquake and aftershocks.

Christian Headlines

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