Religion Today Summaries - Aug. 4, 2009

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Aug. 4, 2009

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

  • Pakistan Christians Shut Schools to Mourn Killings
  • Gay, Lesbian Priests among Bishop Nominees by L.A. Diocese
  • Christians Fear Limits under European Equality Directive
  • Uzbekistan: Christian Camp Leaders May Face Charges

Pakistan Christians Shut Schools to Mourn Killings

The Associated Press reports that Christian schools and colleges in Pakistan are closed through Wednesday to mourn fellow Christians killed in weekend violence. At least eight Christians were killed after hundreds of Muslims burned dozens of houses in a Christian neighborhood Saturday. Christians say a banned Islamist group and Islamic clerics in the eastern city of Gojra incited the mob by falsely accusing a Christian of desecrating the Koran. "We are closing the schools to show our anger and concern," Bishop Sadiq Daniel told The Associated Press, noting the move was a peaceful tactic. "We want the government to bring all perpetrators of the crime to justice." Security forces monitored the city streets on Monday. Meanwhile, Christians say the violence shows the insufficiency of discriminatory laws that put religious minorities at a legal disadvantage.

Gay, Lesbian Priests among Bishop Nominees by L.A. Diocese

The Los Angeles Times reports that two of six priests nominated to become the Los Angeles diocese's next suffragan bishop are openly gay. The Rev. John L. Kirkley and the Rev. Canon Mary D. Glasspool are among the first openly gay bishops nominated since New Hampshire Bishop Gene Robinson's 2003 election catalyzed a church split. The Episcopal Church re-opened the position of bishop to gay and lesbians just last week at its annual convention. "I affirm each and every one of these candidates, and I am pleased with the wide diversity they offer this diocese," the current bishop, the Rt. Rev. Bruno, said in a statement Sunday. The day before, the Diocese of Minnesota also nominated priests for bishop, including the Rev. Bonnie Perry, a partnered lesbian.

Christians Fear Limits under European Equality Directive

Christian Today reports that Christians fear their religious liberty will suffer if the European Commission’s "equal treatment directive" is approved. Catholic Bishops in England, Wales and Scotland said the Church supports the "underlying moral principle" of the directive, but worry that the effort to prevent discrimination on a wide variety of bases - including sexual orientation and religious belief - could ultimately hinder the Church. The bishops feared such efforts would limit "the right of the Church and its members to act in accordance with Catholic belief," perhaps interfering with membership requirements and hiring practices. Christian Today notes that France, the Czech Republic and Germany are among the countries to have voted against the directive.

Uzbekistan: Christian Camp Leaders May Face Charges

Mission News Network reports that Christian leaders who organized a children's summer camp in Uzbekistan now face criminal charges. Camp Joy first experienced attacks from a government-sponsored newspaper, followed by accusations of misusing property and coercively instructing children about Christianity without their parents' consent. "It's just simply a ridiculous charge," said Joel Griffith of Slavic Gospel Association. "For any children that would come to this camp, their parents sign an agreement allowing them to be able to come there. It's well-known that they're Baptist; it's known what the Baptist church teaches." The Baptist group is registered with the Uzbekistan government, and had previously avoided harassment by Islamic extremists.