Here are a handful of news-bites from around the world included in the October issue of EN. May these encourage us as well as spur us on to pray for our brothers and sisters around the world facing severe persecution.
Bahrain: land for church
It was reported in August that Bahrain’s monarch has granted a plot of land for the building of a new (Catholic) church in a bold move that goes against a recent Saudi fatwa calling for the destruction of all churches in the Arabian Peninsula.
A senior church leader thanked King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, a Sunni Muslim, and his ruling family ‘for their magnanimous gesture of goodwill’ in providing a 9,000-square-metre piece of land for a church building in Awali. Barnabas Fund
Hawaii: marriage upheld
A federal court in August upheld a law defining marriage as the union between one man and one woman.
Hawaii passed a marriage amendment in 1998 with 69% of the vote, and the August 8 ruling affirms that amendment. However, the fight for marriage in Hawaii is not over — in 2011, legislators passed a bill creating same-sex civil unions, part of a strategy by same-sex marriage advocates to challenge state marriage amendments and laws. Religion Today
Laos: 300 follow Christ
Christian leader Bountheung of Borikhamxai Province in Central Laos was arrested on the charge of converting 300 Lao citizens to the Christian faith in late August.
The 300 residents from the village of Nongpong freely decided to follow the Christian faith in May after meeting Bountheung. The local authorities have ordered the 300 Christians to renounce their faith in exchange for the right to remain in the village, despite the fact that the converts and Bountheung himself are registered as permanent residents. Christian Solidarity Worldwide
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