Open Doors has confirmed the death of two Christians in North Korea, reports charismanews.com. According to the ministry that serves persecuted Christians worldwide, one Christian was recently shot while he was on his way back to Bible training in China. The other died in one of North Korea’s notorious labor camps. The first Christian had traveled to China several times before. People told him he could earn more money, but after working in China for six months he still hadn’t received any money, even though he found several jobs. After awhile he met an Open Doors worker who cared for the North Korean refugee. The North Korean became interested in the Christian faith. After studying the Bible and receiving teaching, he became a believer. He eventually chose to return to North Korea. “He was very excited about his new faith and wanted to share the gospel with his family,” says an Open Doors worker. “He wanted to come back to China to study the Bible more so he could explain the Christian faith better to his family. It is heartbreaking that he was killed. I cannot stop thinking: ‘If only he had arrived a little later at the border river, the guard would not have seen and shot him. He could still be alive today.'” Another Christian recently died in a labor camp. This man also studied the Bible in China. After eight months he decided to return back to North Korea. According to Open Doors, he became a dedicated and faithful Christian. However, North Korean authorities found out about his secret faith and he was sent to prison. “We just received an update that he was dead,” said the Open Doors worker. “He was terribly tortured because of his faith. He was also forced to do heavy labor while hardly receiving any food. Before his return to North Korea, he was baptized and willing to deal with all the hardships he had to face. We never tell people to go back to North Korea, but he was happy to. We are devastated to hear about these murders. We know Christians die for their faith almost every day in North Korea, but it is still hard to deal with.”
- A pro-life group that exposed the remodeling and other work taking place illegally at a proposed new abortion clinic in Wichita without the proper permits now faces death threats. In a LifeNews article, Cheryl Sullenger detailed how a formal complaint has been filed with the City of Wichita against Julie Burkhart and two associated business entities that presents evidence about the illegal rebuilding of a former abortion clinic. An open records request made by Operation Rescue has uncovered that no permits have been applied for or issued for improvements on the structure located at 5101-5107 E. Kellogg, which once housed a late-term abortion clinic operated by George Tiller. The Tiller clinic closed in 2009 and stood vacant until being purchased by Burkart’s organization in August 2012. Sullenger told LifeNews that Operation Rescue received a death threat in response. “Today, we received a death threat posted to our web site on that story telling us to ‘back off’ or face retaliation. I immediately forwarded the threat, along with the poster’s IP address, to the FBI. We also received disturbing e-mails that just stopped short of threatening our lives,” she said. “Just about an hour later, a dear friend from the pregnancy center next door to our office came over to warn me that she and some of her staff believed they heard ‘small caliber gunfire’ coming from an area behind our office and that they were concerned for our safety. I was alone in the office at the time. I notified the FBI and made a report to the Wichita Police,” Sullenger explained. “While we work across the country to stop abortion, it is our efforts in Wichita that seem to stir up the most hatred from the pro-abortion faction. Wichita is symbolic to both sides on a national level, and there are few other places where the abortion issue has so deeply impacted a community,” the pro-life advocate continued. “We wanted to go on the record and let the public know that this kind of thing is happening. It illustrates the disregard for human life and the law that those that promote abortion often have. The ones attempting to reopen an abortion clinic here can’t even obey simple building permit laws. Now their supporters are threatening us.”
- An atheist group plans to distribute reading materials after free Bibles were placed in 11 Florida schools by a religious organization, MyFoxOrlando.com reports. The atheist group Central Florida Freethought says a recent Collier County court ruling gives them the right to distribute books such as Why Jesus?, What Is a Free Thinker?, and Why Women Need Freedom from Religion after the World Changers Religious Organization was allowed to place Bibles in the schools. “The county has invited people in now to do this, and what we need to do is put the views of the biblical creationists into perspective with our perspective,” said David Williamson of Central Florida Freethought. “It’s not tit for tat. Our effort is to ensure the county realizes this is the wrong policy.” An attorney for Freedom From Religion Foundation sent a letter to Orange County Public Schools objecting to the district’s policy allowing outside groups into schools at all. If the district doesn’t change its policy, they will go ahead with the plan to distribute their atheist literature, MyFoxOrlando.com reports. The general counsel for Orange County schools said their policy will stand, with very specific rules for what can be distributed. “Anything that contains pornographic material, any references to advertising, alcohol, tobacco, illegal drugs, or anything disruptive to school district and their educational facility” will not be allowed, according to Diego “Woody” Rodriguez.
- A Christian university in British Columbia wants to add a law school, but the Council of Canadian Law Deans opposes it because the school would follow Biblical principles on homosexuality, reports onenewsnow.com. Trinity Western University, located near Vancouver, is no stranger to controversy. Employees, instructors, and students must sign a covenant that, in part, says they will refrain from homosexual conduct. “In keeping with biblical and TWU ideals, community members voluntarily abstain from . . . sexual intimacy that violates the sacredness of marriage between a man and a woman,” it reads. Yet homosexual marriage is legal in Canada. Anyone violating the school’s covenant is subject to dismissal or expulsion, yet no such action has been taken in the school’s history. However, if the school were to take action, it would violate Canadian law. CTV, a Canadian television outlet, asked TWU President Jonathan Raymond why the school does not simply change its policy. “Because, you know, we feel that it’s part of our identity as a Christian university to affirm an ideal and a standard,” he replied. The school’s covenant also bans actions such as gossip, vulgar language, pornography, and alcohol consumption on campus. But the Council of Canadian Law Deans complains that the policy at issue “expressly discriminates” against homosexual students and is in direct contrast to the core values held by every other law school in the country. Even though the Council is opposing the move, Trinity Western University has communicated with lawyers, judges, and academics who are not opposed. If it materializes, Trinity will be the first Christian law school in Canada.
- A mother homeschooling her children with learning disabilities is victorious after a yearlong battle against the state of Colorado, which sought to remove her children from her home and send them to public school, onenewsnow.com reports. In the fall of 2011, a social services worker showed up at the door of Josslyn Kittinger (real name withheld to protect privacy) to investigate her ability to properly educate her special needs children. The uninvited visit was attributed to an anonymous tip from a neighbor complaining that Kittinger was unfit to instruct her children and that they would receive a better education through public school. Prosecutors, Kittinger’s neighbors, and the social services investigator all persistently argued that the mother had no right to homeschool her own children because their learning disabilities required state instruction. But is this a right that can be questioned or taken away? Not according to Home School Legal Defense Association staff attorney Michael P. Donnelly, Esq., who also serves as its director of international relations. “Many families homeschool their children who have learning disabilities because they find that the children’s needs are better met in a one-on-one homeschool setting—research shows that this is true,” Donnelly contends. “It is intolerable that someone would question a family’s right to homeschool simply because their children have a learning disability.”
- The American Civil Liberties Union has withdrawn its failing lawsuit against a 2011 Kansas law that bars private health care insurance from covering elective abortions, reports lifenews.com and the Associated Press. The ACLU cannot file these claims again or appeal the earlier court rulings. In other news, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is flexing his political muscle, reports ncregister.com, to give abortion advocates their biggest state victory in 40 years since Roe v. Wade: a sweeping expansion of abortion law that, if enforced, could put Catholic hospitals and many state-funded ministries out of business. With just two years in office, Cuomo has already pushed through controversial same-sex marriage legislation and the most restrictive gun-control law in the nation. Cuomo, who is Catholic, now is setting his sights on succeeding where governors for the past six years have failed: passing the proposed Reproductive Health Care Act. Cuomo has included the act as part of his 10-point “women’s equality” agenda, which includes a raise in the minimum wage, tougher anti-housing discrimination laws, and measures against domestic violence and sex-trafficking. Onenewsnow.com notes that Monday was the 40th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion, and that a day of mourning was observed throughout the country by many organizations. Joe Scheidler, executive director of the Pro-Life Leage, commented that a day of mourning is one way to make sure children lost through abortion are not forgotten. “Nothing drives home the horror of abortion, the irrevocability of abortion, the destruction of abortion more than seeing a woman go into an abortion clinic and come out a few hours later, wounded and with her child now dead,” Scheidler remarked. Scheidler said he believes Satan wants people to forget about the children and the many mothers whose lives are scarred by abortion.
- China has quelled speculation its controversial “one-child” policy is to be scrapped, instead just announcing that family planning laws to curb the birth rate will remain, reports nbcnews.com. “I’m surprised,” said Professor Shaun Breslin, associate fellow at U.K. think tank, Chatham House. “Almost everything we had heard in recent months pointed towards a relaxation of one-child.” The 1979 law prohibits about one-third of China’s 1.3 billion citizens from having a second child. The policy is officially backed up by fines, but campaigners say more than one million forced abortions are carried out every year. Meanwhile, Russia’s ban on U.S. adoptions brokered heartbreak for many would-be parents and their adoptive children last week, reports washingtonpost.com. “But the law may hit one community especially hard: evangelical Christians, who in the past five years have begun adopting in droves.”