Religion Today Summaries - Aug. 30, 2010

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Aug. 30, 2010

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

In today's edition:

  • Freed American Arrives Home from North Korea
  • Atheist Doctors More Likely to Hasten Death, Study Finds
  • Wallis Apologizes to Olasky after Sojourners Funding Flap
  • 8 in 10 Church Members Think Sex Offenders Belong in Church

Freed American Arrives Home from North Korea

Former President Jimmy Carter has returned to the U.S. from North Korea with Aijalon Mahli Gomes, an American who has been imprisoned in the country since January, CNN reported. "For Aijalon, although returning home, the journey toward healing really just begins today," Gomes's family said. "Our family hopes that everyone will understand our strong need and desire to secure the privacy necessary for Aijalon to recover fully from this episode in his life." Gomes illegally entered North Korea from China. North Korean authorities arrested him and sentenced him to eight years of hard labor and a fine of about $600,000 for a "hostile act." The Carter Center in Atlanta released a statement saying, "At the request of President Carter, and for humanitarian purposes, Mr. Gomes was granted amnesty by the chairman of the National Defense Commission, Kim Jong-Il."

Atheist Doctors More Likely to Hasten Death, Study Finds

A new study in Britain found that doctors who described themselves "extremely" or "very nonreligious" were twice as likely to make decisions that could facilitate the end of a terminally ill patient's life. MSNBC reports that more than 2,923 doctors across Britain responded to the survey by Dr. Clive Seale, a professor at Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry. Doctors who described themselves as "extremely" or "very nonreligious" were nearly twice as likely to report having made decisions like providing continuous deep sedation, which could accelerate a patient's death. Seale also found that doctors who identified as "religious" were much less likely to discuss end of life treatment decisions with their patients. To ensure doctors are acting in accordance with their patients' wishes, Seale wrote that "nonreligious doctors should confess their predilections to their patients."

Wallis Apologizes to Olasky after Sojourners Funding Flap

Sojourners founder Jim Wallis issued an apology on Wednesday to journalist Marvin Olasky, a month after he called Olasky a liar. After Olasky alleged that Sojourners received funding from George Soros's Open Society Institute (OSI), Wallis roundly denied it and said, "Glenn Beck lies for a living. I'm sad to see Marvin Olasky doing the same thing." On Wednesday, he said, "I was wrong, out of anger at the insinuation about the dependence on these foundations, I was wrong to imply that like Beck, Marvin lies for a living," Wallis said, according to Christianity Today. "Glenn Beck does lie for a living. Marvin Olasky doesn't lie for a living; that's not something I should say about a brother in Christ." Olasky, however, said he had not received the apology on Wednesday.

8 in 10 Church Members Think Sex Offenders Belong in Church

Nearly 80 percent of the more than 2,500 respondents to the "Sex Offenders in the Church" survey, conducted by Christianity Today International (CTI), say they believe sex offenders belong in the church under appropriate supervision. At the same time, three-fourths of respondents' churches do not provide sex addiction ministries. The survey, conducted in early 2010, is the first of its kind to explore the attitudes and beliefs of pastors, church staff, lay leaders and other active Christians regarding whether to allow sex offenders to participate in faith communities. Approximately 62 percent of survey respondents say they either are not sure or do not believe a sex offender can be rehabilitated to the point where they no longer pose a threat to others. Eighty-two percent say they look to a repentant attitude as the number one determining factor in deciding whether or not a sex offender should be welcomed in the church.