Daily briefs of the top Christian news and persecution stories impacting believers around the world.
In today's edition:
- Princeton Review Names Most, Least Religious Campuses
- Minn. Pastor Back in Pulpit after Gay Report
- Belarusian Church Faces Massive Fine for 'Pollution'
- Conservatives Will Appeal Vote for 'Ground Zero Mosque'
Princeton Review Names Most, Least Religious Campuses
Religion News Service reports that Brigham Young University was named the nation's most religious campus, and Sarah Lawrence College the least religious, in new rankings released Tuesday. The Princeton Review released the 2011 edition of their yearly assessment of "The Best 373 Colleges," which included rankings of the most and least religious students. Catholic-affiliated Thomas Aquinas College and Christian liberal arts school Wheaton College followed BYU. "It is true that not very many of our students practice organized religion," said Allen Green, dean of studies and student life at Sarah Lawrence College, "though we do have active, even growing, Christian, Jewish and Muslim groups and popular spiritual space." All the rankings included in The Princeton Review's tome are compiled from approximately 122,000 survey results from students at the 373 schools surveyed. An average of 325 students commented from each school.
Minn. Pastor Back in Pulpit after Gay Report
The Associated Press reports that a Lutheran pastor has been reinstated after being outed for his membership in support group for Christians who struggle with same-sex attraction. The Rev. Tom Brock told his Minneapolis congregation on Sunday that he has never acted on his attraction. In June, the Minnesota gay magazine Lavender reported Brock's attendance at the support group, even though he's said he opposes openly gay clergy. "I am a 57-year-old virgin," Brock told the Hope Lutheran congregation during services upon returning to the pulpit on Sunday. A task force from the church said they found no evidence Brock ever had gay sex. Brock said he intends to step down as senior pastor at Hope Lutheran, but will retain his affiliation with the church. He told the AP he hopes to have a wider national audience with a new message: "You can have this struggle with same-sex attraction, say no to it, and still follow Christ."
Belarusian Church Faces Massive Fine for 'Pollution'
ASSIST News Service reports that New Life Pentecostal Church in Belarus' capital Minsk has had a massive fine imposed on it for alleged "environmental damage." The church faces an earlier fine as well, bringing the total fines to more than US $89,000. Sergei Lukanin, the church's lawyer, said the church will pay neither fine, arguing that if there is any pollution at the site it dates from the time before the church owned the property. He insisted that the church has kept the building and site in good order. Meanwhile, two small Pentecostal churches in villages near Minsk have been fined for using the properties they own for worship services. "Raising such sums is difficult for such a small community," said a member of the Pentecostal Union handling these two cases. "The fear is that officials could do this again - the mechanism is there."
Conservatives Will Appeal Vote for 'Ground Zero Mosque'
Religion News Service reports that a conservative religious law firm plans to appeal a decision that grants a green light for the construction of an Islamic community center two blocks from Ground Zero. The Washington-based American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) opposes the construction of the Cordoba House in lower Manhattan. They say the building currently at the site "stands as an iconic part of the cultural and historical fabric of America." The New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission on Tuesday (Aug. 3) voted unanimously not to grant historic status to the site, eliminating a key hurdle that allows planning and construction to go forward. The ACLJ, which represents a retired New York City firefighter, called the vote "deeply offensive," adding that they are "poised to file legal action on behalf of our client to challenge this flawed decision and put a stop to this project."