Praise and Prayer

Pray: Gambia arrests British missionary couple-Gambia has arrested a British missionary couple and a prosecutor charged them on Thursday with distributing "seditious" reports about the West African country.

Fiona and David Fulton, who have lived in the former British colony for nine years, were paraded on state television late on Wednesday then charged in a Banjul court on Thursday.

The prosecution accused the couple of writing letters to individuals and organizations abroad to "bring into hatred or contempt, to excite disaffection against the President of the Republic and the government of the Gambia."

The couple pleaded not guilty and have been granted bail of 125,000 pounds each but the authorities have seized their travel documents and ordered them to report to the police daily.

The couple first visited Gambia as tourists, but later returned as missionaries, the website of the Westhoughton Pentecostal Church near Bolton said.

David became the chaplain for the Gambian army and Fiona was in charge of the chaplaincy at the airport.

Gambian President Yahya Jammeh, who believes he has herbal treatments that can cure AIDS, has tolerated little dissent since he seized power in a 1994 military coup in mainland Africa's smallest country.

Institute on Religion and Public Policy


Pray: Christian Groups Fear Abortion Rights Bill-First on the Obama administration's to-do list: a stimulus package, bailouts, andabortion? Given the imperatives of the economic crisis, picking an abortion fight early on would seem highly unlikely.

But the Roman Catholic Church is coordinating a national postcard campaign next month to oppose the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA). Abortion opponents fear the new Democratic majority in Washington could succeed in passing the decades-old bill and Barack Obama would make good on what he told Planned Parenthood in July: "The first thing I'd do as president is sign the Freedom of Choice Act."

The bill could wipe out federal and state restrictions on abortion such as parental notification and informed
consent laws. Some say FOCA is so broad it would also imperil "conscience clauses" that protect hospitals and doctors who refuse to perform abortions because of their convictions. That's led some Catholic leaders to threaten to close their hospitals if FOCA forced them to provide abortions.

Institute on Religion and Public Policy


Pray: New Report Says Global Hunger Crisis Is Worsening-Religion News Service reports that the number of people living in extreme poverty has grown by 100 million, and the number of hungry people has increased by 75 million in the last two years, according to a report issued Nov. 24 by the Bread for the World Institute.

The report by the Christian anti-hunger group calls on Congress and President-elect Barack Obama to strengthen U.S. foreign assistance programs, making them more effective in fighting global hunger and poverty. "As we grapple with the economic crisis, we need to pay attention to the damage it's doing to the world's poorest people," said the Rev. David Beckmann, president of the institute.

Religion Today Summaries


Praise: Conservatives Unveil New Anglican Church-CNN reports that conservative Anglicans in North America officially broke with the U.S. Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church in Canada on Wednesday night, forming a rival "province" with a new constitution.

"Some of us have been praying for this for decades," said Michael W. Howell, who attended the service, in a statement. "Instead of focusing on things that divide us, we as orthodox Anglicans are focusing on the things that unite us." Bishop Robert Duncan of the Pittsburgh, Pa., diocese said in a statement, "The public release of our draft constitution is an important concrete step toward the goal of a biblical, missionary and united Anglican Church in North America." Four dioceses have left the Episcopal Church for this more theologically conservative body: Pittsburgh, Pa.; Quincy, Illinois; Fort Worth, Texas; and San Joaquin, California.

Religion Today Summaries

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