Religious News From Around the Web, Jan 6th 2020

Nine Years for Pastor, Armed Church Security? Interfaith Award, Truth or Guns? Sikhs Help in Fires, Evangelicals Polled, Falun Gong “Cult”

Chinese Sentence Christian Pastor to Nine Years in Prison

President George W. Bush meets with Chinese Human Rights activists, from left:  Li Baiguang,  Wang Yi, and Yu Jie in the Yellow Oval Room of the White House.
President George W. Bush meets with
Chinese Human Rights activists, from left:
Li Baiguang, Wang Yi, and
Yu Jie in the Yellow Oval Room of the White House.
Charged with “subverting state power.” Pastor Wang Yi ran afoul of Chinese authorities for founding an unlicensed Christian church and was sentenced to nine years in prison. In 2006, Wang Yi was invited to the White House to meet then-President George Bush. “Beijing must release him and end its intensifying repression of Christians and members of all other religious groups,” said U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Wang Yi’s Early Rain Covenant Church in Chengdu, Sichuan, has about 500 members.

After Shooting, Churches Differ on Use of Armed Security
When a shotgun-wielding man killed two people inside the West Freeway Church of Christ in White Settlement, Texas, a church deacon and former law enforcement officer killed the shooter with a single shot to the head. He was called a hero by many in the state, as he most likely prevented the killing of others in attendance. But church officials in Texas differ as to whether church security should be armed. Reverend Katheryn Barlow-Williams, for example, of Central Presbyterian Church in Austin, cited the example of Jesus: “He was being arrested and about to be crucified,” she said, “Peter picked up a sword and Jesus said ‘put it back down.’” Barlow-Williams said her church would rather operate from faith than fear.

Retired Buddhist Sensei to Receive Interfaith Award
A former Methodist Minister who became a Buddhist leader will receive an award from Manitoba’s Lieutenant Governor for the Advancement of Interreligious Understanding at a Government House ceremony. Sensei Fredrich Ulrich contributed to the community and brought people together to understand each other, said the president of the Manitoba Multifaith Council. Ulrich said Buddha taught that we should “Avoid killing, avoid stealing, avoid lying, avoid sexual abuse, avoid drugs and chemicals that pollute the body and mind.”

Truth Stronger than Guns
Dalai LamaThe Dalai Lama when asked what message he had for the Chinese government, said “We have the power of truth while Communist China has the power of the gun. The power of truth will be much stronger than the power of the gun in the long run.” According to the Tibet Post, he also said: “Human beings, everyone must resolve to be content and happy, and lead peaceful lives. Peace lies in compassion and warm-heartedness and being a social animal, all human beings have compassion by birth.”

Sikhs Pitch in to Help Australian Firefighters and Evacuees

Beach evacuation at Batemans Bay by Alistair Prior
Beach evacuation at Batemans Bay by Alistair Prior
Fifty fires are raging in New South Wales and Victoria, covering an area the size of West Virginia, with 1,400 homes destroyed and 20 people dead. Among the many people providing help to those driven from their homes are a Sikh restaurateur and Melbourne-based Sikh Volunteers Australia. Kanwaljit Singh and his wife Kamaljit Kaur, owners of the Desi Grill restaurant in Bairnsdale, provided hundreds of free meals of curry and rice to firefighters and evacuees. Sikh Volunteers Australia usually provides free food twice a week to those in need around Melbourne.

Poll of White Evangelicals
A recent poll of evangelical Christians highlight major differences with other religious groups especially on matters related to abortion and LGBTQ policy. Evangelical support for Trump is squarely linked to his anti-abortion stance, according to Rev. Franklin Graham. In other respects, the AP-NORC poll found evangelicals in agreement with more liberal policies on immigration and aid to the poor.

Shen Yun Labeled “Falun Gong Cult” by Communist China
Shen YunAmericans may not realize that Shen Yun dance troupe performances have hit a political nerve in mainland China. The Communist government has labeled Shen Yun – which was founded in the United States in 2006 by Falun Gong practitioners – an “anti-society cult” and has attempted to undermine support and stop performances around the world. The dance troupe has some five touring companies and downplays its connection to Falun Gong, the religious meditation practice suppressed in China. “The company’s mission is to revive traditional Chinese culture,” said a Shen Yun release. “This culture has a history of 5,000 years, but has been nearly destroyed by the Communist Party and its campaigns such as the Cultural Revolution. Since being established in 2006, Shen Yun has been subject to various forms of attack by Beijing, which sees this organization as a threat. The Communist Party, for example, does not allow this performance of traditional Chinese culture to play in China.”