Religion Today Summaries - Aug. 14, 2009

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Aug. 14, 2009

Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:

  • U.S. Religious Freedom Panel Adds India to Watch List
  • Southern Baptist Agency Head Resigns Amid Criticism
  • Focus on the Family Faces 'Serious' Budget Shortfall
  • 1,000 Found Alive in Typhoon-Raked Taiwan Towns

U.S. Religious Freedom Panel Adds India to Watch List

The Christian Post reports that a U.S. panel has added India to its watch list for violations of religious freedoms. “It is extremely disappointing that India, which has a multitude of religious communities, has done so little to protect and bring justice to its religious minorities under siege,” said U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) chair Leonard Leo. “USCIRF’s India chapter was released this week to mark the one-year anniversary of the start of the anti-Christian violence in Orissa.” At least 40 people were killed, while tens of thousands were displaced when their homes and churches were torched by Hindu radicals. Orissa state government did little to stop the violence, and has only recently convicted several people involved in the violence.

Southern Baptist Agency Head Resigns Amid Criticism

Religion News Service reports that the president of the Southern Baptist Convention's domestic missions agency resigned Tuesday (Aug. 11) after questions were raised about his management of the agency. Three of Geoff Hammond's closest associates -- Steve Reid, Dennis Culbreth and Brandon Pickett – also resigned. Hammond's resignation takes effect immediately, Tim Patterson, chairman of the agency's trustee board, said in a statement after a daylong meeting. "(T)his is a personnel matter and we will keep the details of today's discussion confidential," he said. An email circulated among trustees prior to the meeting stated that Hammond made unauthorized decisions while failing to meet with a management coach. Richard Harris, who has served at NAMB and its predecessor Home Mission Board (HMB) for nearly 30 years, will head the organization until an interim president is installed.

Focus on the Family Faces 'Serious' Budget Shortfall

The Associated Press reports that Focus on the Family ministry has handed its "Love Won Out" ex-gay conferences to another ministry in light of a "serious budget shortfall." Exodus International, a network of groups promoting freedom from homosexuality, will take on the conferences. "Right now we're facing a serious budget shortfall that threatens our ability to reach out to parents, families and married couples who count on our help," said Jim Daly, Focus on the Family's president and CEO. "Income is down nearly $6 million from what we expected and planned for this year. I want to assure you that we're committed to good stewardship AND living within our means, just as so many families are today." Focus on the Family, founded by child psychologist James Dobson, is on pace to fall $6 million short of a $138 million budget for the fiscal year that began last October.

1,000 Found Alive in Typhoon-Raked Taiwan Towns

The Associated Press reports that hundreds are still missing after a typhoon swept through a remote area of Taiwan over the weekend. At least 1,000 people have been rescued from three remote villages. Authorities have only been able to confirm a handful of people missing, making it hard to determine how many people may still be left. Heavy rains hampered rescue and relief efforts in Kaohsiung county, where most rescuers most unaccounted people may be trapped. The village of Shiao Lin was destroyed by a mudslide Sunday, leaving hundreds of people homeless. One man said that whatever the Shiao Lin death toll, he was never going back. "The place is finished," said Luo Shun-chi, 36. "There is no way I could return."