Religion Today Summaries - Aug. 18, 2008

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Aug. 18, 2008

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

  • Malaysia: Court Denies Woman's Appeal to Leave Islam
  • Presidential Race Tightens As Faith Voters Rethink
  • Sudan: Relative Peace Allows Outdoor Worship Event
  • Settlement Brings End to 9-Year 'Left Behind' Dispute

Malaysia: Court Denies Woman's Appeal to Leave Islam

Compass Direct News reports that a civil court on Aug. 5 denied a woman’s appeal to renounce Islam in favor of Christianity, highlighting the jurisdictional disputes in Malaysia’s dual legal system. Lim Yoke Khoon had filed a suit in her original ethnic Chinese name to renounce Islam and embrace Christianity. In a 2-1 majority ruling, the Shah Alam Court of Appeal denied her case on a technicality: According to judges Tengku Baharudin Shah Tengku Mahmud and Sulong Mat Jeraie, Lim had ceased to exist under her original name when she converted to Islam and assumed a new name, Noorashikin Lim binti Abdullah. The 35-year-old Lim is reportedly expected to appeal to the country’s top civil court. A public forum to discuss such jurisdictional disputes, in this case the dual court system’s effect on families of people who convert to Islam, was scheduled for Saturday (Aug. 9), but Muslim protestors succeeded in halting it after only one hour.

Presidential Race Tightens As Faith Voters Rethink

A new study by The Barna Group shows that while faith voters are waffling more on their candidate decisions, but Barack Obama's slight fall in popularity hasn't translated decided voters for John McCain. According to the nationwide study, Obama still leads 43 percent to McCain's 34 percent, and is still favored by 18 of 19 faith communities surveyed. In June, Obama led by 50 percent to McCain's 35 percent. The survey noted that McCain still holds the evangelical community 61 percent to 17 percent, but that level of support is significantly down from June, when he was favored with 78 percent. “While some Christian voters seem to be questioning their early support for Obama, the McCain candidacy does not seem to be gaining momentum among evangelicals,” the report said.

Sudan: Relative Peace Allows Outdoor Worship Event

A break in fighting - perhaps even a tentative peace - has come to southern Sudan, allowing planning for an large, outdoor evangelistic meeting for the first time in years, according to Mission News Network. American evangelist Sammy Tippit will join the event as a keynote speaker. Tippit believes the people are Southern Sudan are uniquely ready for the Gospel. "When I go into an area that's been torn apart, the people are ready; they're open; they're hungry for the good news of the Gospel. So it'll be interesting to see," he said. According to Tippit, many of his initial contact were refugees living in northern Sudan who have now been able to return home.

Settlement Brings End to 9-Year 'Left Behind' Dispute

The Christian Post reports that a legal dispute between the "Left Behind" film series and the series authors has finally ended after almost a decade. Co-author Timothy LaHaye sued filmmaker Cloud Ten Pictures and co-producer Namesake Entertainment after the first three films' video release in 2000, claiming the producers skimped on film quality and breached contract. The authors were also frustrated by the film's video release and distribution through mainly Christian venues, saying they hoped to reach a wider audience. "We are thrilled to finally have this behind us," announced André van Heerden, CEO of Cloud Ten Pictures Inc. "While we received repeated judgments from the Courts that validated our rights, we were unable until now to finally put this lawsuit behind us."