Religion Today Summaries - Aug. 11, 2010

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Aug. 11, 2010

Daily briefs of the top Christian news and persecution stories impacting believers around the world.

In today's edition:

  • Religious Broadcasters Mourn the Death Sen. Ted Stevens
  • Harvest Crusades Deliver Message of Hope to 118,000 Southern Californians
  • Kenyan Church Leaders Defend Opposition to Constitution
  • New Believers Arrested in Iran

Religious Broadcasters Mourn the Death Sen. Ted Stevens

The National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) released a statement yesterday in remembrance of former Senator Ted Stevens. Senator Stevens and four others were killed in a plane crash, Monday evening in Alaska. "During his tenure in the United States Senate, Ted Stevens was an enormously influential friend of broadcasters and a staunch defender of religious freedom. And he had a special interest in Christian broadcasters," said Dr. Frank Wright, NRB President & CEO. NRB had a long-standing relationship with Sen. Stevens while he was the Chairman, and then the Ranking Member, of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. "Every time we met with Sen. Stevens, he would name Christian radio stations in Alaska with which he was intimately familiar, and ask questions about those stations," remembers Bob Powers, NRB's Vice President of Government Relations. In 2006, Sen. Stevens was honored with NRB's "Faith and Freedom Award." It is given annually to that Member of Congress who most clearly demonstrates a stalwart commitment to defend religious liberty.

Harvest Crusades Deliver Message of Hope To 118,000 Southern Californians

"Hope" was the central message of the 21st annual Southern California Harvest Crusades with Greg Laurie this past weekend, August 6 - 8, reports ASSIST News. The theme appeared to strike a chord with Southland residents as more than 118,000 people packed out Angel Stadium of Anaheim over three nights, many of whom came seeking spiritual answers. A news release sent out by Harvest Crusades said the annual event with Greg Laurie has been a "mainstay in Southern California since 1990, drawning more than 4.1 million people to evangelistic outreach events around the world." The 2010 Southern California Harvest was hosted by more than 300 local churches and supported by more than 6,000 volunteers.

Kenyan Church Leaders Defend Opposition to Constitution

Religion News Service reports that Kenyan church leaders have rejected calls for an apology after they campaigned against a new constitution that was overwhelmingly supported by voters in a referendum. "There is no need to apologize. The voice of the church is the voice of prophecy and we did nothing wrong in taking a stand over this law," said Anglican Bishop Julius Kalu of Mombasa. The new constitution places restrictions on the powers of the president and would institute a bill of rights for citizens. It was drawn up after violence claimed more than 1,000 lives following a disputed election in 2007. Many Christian leaders in Kenya campaigned against the constitution because of fears that it will allow abortion, entrench Islamic legal courts and limit freedom of worship. Following the Aug. 5 referendum, the National Civil Society Congress urged the church leaders to apologize for their opposition. Deacon Daniel Yumbya of Africa Brotherhood Church alleged that some church leaders had given out misleading information on the constitution, particularly the abortion clause. Church leaders said they had no regrets for campaigning against the law, even as top politicians appealed to people to forget their referendum differences and build a united country.

New Believers Arrested in Iran reports that on July 18, Iranian government security forces arrested 15 Christian converts traveling to the city of Bojnoord to meet with other believers, according to Farsi Christian News Network (FCNN). In what appeared to be a coordinated effort, security forces stopped the Christians' bus in Mashhad, the capital of Razavi Khorasan, Iran. Authorities boarded the bus, arrested 15 believers and took them to the Ministry of Information's central detention center. According to FCNN, the believers were subjected to harsh and inhumane interrogations. After being held for a week, 13 of the Christians were conditionally released after signing promissory notes and posting bail. At last report, the two remaining detainees, 48-year-old Reza and 23-year-old Ehsan Behrooz, remained in detention because they refused to sign any forms or post bail.