Religion Today Summaries - Aug. 31, 2007

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Aug. 31, 2007

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

  • All 19 Korean Hostages Released
  • Ted Haggard Told to 'Get a Job'
  • Governor in India Objects to ‘Anti-Conversion’ Bill
  • Billy Graham Home after Hospitalization

All 19 Korean Hostages Released

The Christian Post reports that the final three South Korean hostages have been released, bringing the total to seven the number of those freed on Thursday in what looks like the end of the six-week hostage drama. Two women and one man were handed over to the International Committee of the Red Cross in Afghanistan, hours after a handover of four hostages earlier in the day. All 19 hostages were released over the course of five handovers Wednesday and Thursday. The group will be heading to Kabul before returning home via Dubai.

Ted Haggard Told to 'Get a Job'

According to the Rocky Mountain News, disgraced former Colorado megachurch pastor Ted Haggard, now living in Phoenix, met this week in with the the four-man committee of overseers charged with his spiritual restoration. At issue: last week, Haggard emailed a Colorado Springs reporter asking that supporters send contributions to a nonprofit mission run by a twice-convicted sex offender. He was looking for financial support while he and his wife pursue two-year counseling degrees, and mentioned plans to move into a Phoenix halfway house to minister to the "broken people" there. "Mr. Haggard's solicitation for personal support was inappropriate," his church supervisors said. "Mr. Haggard will not be moving in or working with the Phoenix Dream Center. He will not be doing any ministry. He will be seeking secular employment to support himself." The 50-year-old Haggard, the former president of the National Association of Evangelicals, was fired last year as pastor of New Life Church in Colorado Springs after he admitted to unspecified "sexual immorality" involving a male prostitute.

Governor in India Objects to ‘Anti-Conversion’ Bill

Compass Direct News reports the governor of Chhattisgarh has objected to excessive government control and a religious double standard in a state “anti-conversion” amendment bill proposed by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Chhattisgarh Gov. Ekkadu Srinivasan Lakshmi Narsimhan raised objections to two provisions – obtaining permission from the district collector (administrative head) before any conversion, “and allowing people to return to Hinduism and not treating this as conversion,” reported news agency Press Trust of India on August 22. Gov. Narsimhan has reportedly referred the bill to the state law department for assessment. Such “anti-conversion” laws are used to levy spurious accusations of “forced conversion” at Christians. Similar bills introduced by the BJP are facing obstacles in three other states: Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.

Billy Graham Home after Hospitalization

Evangelist Billy Graham was discharged from the hospital early this afternoon and has returned to his mountain home in nearby Montreat, NC, his staff reported. He left by private vehicle and made the 20-minute drive home without incident. Mr. Graham was brought to Mission Health & Hospitals in Asheville, NC early on Saturday, August 18 for treatment of intestinal bleeding. During the hospitalization, his care was directed by internal medicine specialist Lucian Rice, MD, and gastroenterologist Will Harlan, MD. As Mr. Graham recovered, he was closely monitored for signs of ongoing bleeding. The study did not show any additional areas of bleeding in the small intestine. Dr. Rice, Mr. Graham's personal physician, said shortly before his discharge that he believes the evangelist will continue to regain his strength. "We have been pleased that he has been able to come back from this incident as well as he has," Dr. Rice said. "He will continue to have therapy at home, and I feel that he can have a very good recovery."