I check Christian News Headlines once in a while to see if I can grab something interesting off their site and have now noticed a new heading for news stories called Prayer Concerns.
Top story under that heading recently was the fact that there’s a high level of out-of-wedlock births going on in EU nations.
What kind of prayers are being asked for here, healthy births? Healthy moms? That the kids are wanted? That the moms aren’t teenagers? That Dad is still in the picture and willing to do his part to raise the kid? That a roof is overhead and there’s enough food for everyone?
The second story involved soldiers in the Congo and accusations of rape. Gang rape, to be precise. The New York Times story states that six men attacked a seven year old girl, and she was only one of 21 victims. And the number of women attacked over the past few years far surpasses 15,000, which was the total population of my home town in 2006.
Both United Nations officials said that the organization must work harder to bring the perpetrators or their commanding officers to trial. They also said that the United Nations must be more active in trying to prevent rapes as soon as they hear that rebel fighters are on the move.
The first reports of clashes came in late July, but it took weeks for word of the large number of rapes to emerge.
United Nations peacekeepers are stationed about 20 miles away from where the rapes took place, but none visited until Aug. 2, when a patrol passed through one village. United Nations officials said no villagers had come forward initially about the rapes.
What’s the main religion of the Congo? Catholics and Protestants make up 90% of believers, but there’s no shortage of belief in witchcraft and sorcery either, some of which winds up mixing with the dominant faiths.
Christian students may employ sorcery with the objective of improving their individual exam scores or of helping their school’s soccer team win in competition against their opponents. Sophisticated urbanites, faced with disease in a family member, may patronize indigenous healers and diviners. And Congolese practicing traditional African religions may also go to both established Christian clergy and breakaway Christian sects in search of spiritual assistance. In the search for spiritual resources, the Congolese have frequently displayed a marked openness and pragmatism.
The third story involved Iranian companies covertly paying the Taliban to kill American soldiers and the fourth was another story out of the Congo, where fishermen ignored the plight of victims of a capsized boat, choosing to loot the burning vessel instead.
I guess my question ultimately winds up being, why these four stories? I can see praying for the souls of the dead soldiers and 20 boat passengers and praying for those poor abused girls and women, but why the first story? Compared to the absolute tragedies of the other three, the fact that Mom and Dad aren’t married should barely need mention.
So why is it the first story? Do they appear by order of publication or does someone somewhere decide which story needs to be the top story? I’m just curious about the first story’s inclusion here, I guess.