Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who came to power in 2014, has stopped Compassion International from passing funds to its partners in the country, alleging that the organization is illegally trying to convert people to Christianity through its work over the last 48 years. Fueled by a deep suspicion of Christian organizations threatening India’s character as a Hindu nation, the Indian government has ordered that “prior clearance” would be required before funds could be transferred to Compassion’s partners, Christianity Today reports. Compassion says that after months of unsuccessfully trying to obtain this clearance, the organization has concluded it is “fiction” and that it has not been offered an explanation for the action, which was issued in February 2016. To learn more about Compassion International and child sponsorship opportunities, click here.
Lutheran World Relief has issued its 2017 Early Warning Forecast, which provides an overview of “global hot spots” that will command the attention and resources of the international community over the next year, a news release reports. Topping this year’s list is the refugee crisis fueled by armed conflict in Syria and Iraq, among others the organization is actively monitoring. LWR is already responding to many of these issues to help mitigate the worst effects of a crisis, develop disaster response plans and strengthen community resilience. The list also includes areas in which LWR sees signs of hope, including peace in Columbia and economic growth in the ‘Two Africas.’
Former Catholic Charities Diocese of Cleveland employee Michelle Medrick has been charged with bank fraud, stealing $2 million from the organization. According to the Associated Press, Medrick has agreed to plead guilty to the crime, which prosecutors say began in 2008. Authorities also say the money was stolen from a Catholic Charities facility called Parmadale in Cuyahoga Country that provides foster care and adoption services as well as residences for children with behavioral problems.
The Nonprofit Times reports that political controversy associated with the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships has died down under President Obama’s leadership. Established by President George W. Bush, the program is now led by Melissa Rogers, a First Amendment lawyer and director of the Center for Religion and Public Affairs and Wake Forest University Divinity School. She took over from Joshua DuBois in March 2013. The office’s original goal was to level the playing field for religious groups to compete for federal funding as long as they respect the separation of church and state and don’t use the money to proselytize. The organizations must meet certain standards to receive funding. According to Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy, who served on a task force for President Obama to bring the office more in line with the Constitution and was critical of Bush’s faith initiative, Rogers is doing a great job in her role keeping church and state separate, noting it “doesn’t seem to be as political” as during Bush’s tenure.