Religion Today Summaries - Aug. 8, 2007

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Aug. 8, 2007

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

  • Lutherans again Face Homosexuality Debate
  • Young Adults aren't Sticking with Church
  • Saudi Religious Police Arrest Man for Helping His Neighbor
  • Firefighters to Sue City over 'Gay Pride' Parade

Lutherans again Face Homosexuality Debate

According to The Christian Post, Evangelical Lutherans opened a churchwide assembly Monday and are slated to again open debate over the controversial issue of gay clergy and same-sex blessings. The biennial gathering in Chicago convenes more than 1,000 members of the ELCA, the nation's largest Lutheran denomination. The ELCA plans to continue its conversation on human sexuality and "the place of gay and lesbian people in ministry" although "we are still in the process of developing our social statement on human sexuality," ELCA presiding bishop the Rev. Mark S. Hanson said on Monday. In 2005, the ELCA Churchwide Assembly had voted in favor of maintaining its noncelibate gay and lesbian clergy ban. The issue was not expected to be brought up for debate again until 2009.

Young Adults aren't Sticking with Church

USA Today reports that seven in 10 Protestants ages 18 to 30 who went to church regularly in high school said they quit attending by age 23, according to a survey by LifeWay Research. 34% of those who left said they had not returned by age 30. That means about one in four Protestant young people have left the church. Ed Stetzer, director of LifeWay Research, commented, "This is sobering news that the church needs to change the way it does ministry." Associate Director Scott MConnell said, "It seems the teen years are like a free trial on a product. By 18, when it's their choice whether to buy in to church life, many don't feel engaged and welcome."

Saudi Religious Police Arrest Man for Helping His Neighbor

According to, members of Saudi Arabia's religious police arrested a Nigerian man who converted to Islam for being alone with a woman he was not married to or related to. It happened after the African man helped the sick woman by taking her to the hospital. The incident comes at a time when the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice is under unprecedented scrutiny over abuses committed while enforcing the kingdom's strict Wahhabi interpretation of Islam. Ibrahim Mohammed Lawal, a Nigerian student of Islam in Riyadh, learned that his 63-year-old neighbor was in need of medical attention and took her to the hospital. While checking on her condition several days later, he was arrested by members of the plain-clothed vice squad (the muttaween). Lawal, who had been in custody for "50 days and counting," said all he wanted to do was to return to his home country.

Firefighters to Sue City over 'Gay Pride' Parade reports that a religious legal organization on Monday announced plans to sue the City of San Diego after firefighters there were allegedly forced to participate in the city's "Gay Pride" parade and subjected to "vile sexual taunts." According to the Thomas More Law Center, four firefighters were forced to participate in the parade against their will and were "subjected to vile sexual taunts from homosexuals lining the parade route." The center has filed a request to sue the city - an administrative procedure - and expects to file a sexual harassment lawsuit in coming weeks. "These firefighters dedicated their lives to save the lives of others," Richard Thompson, president and chief counsel of the law center, said in a statement. "They did not sign on to become unwilling props to a controversial political and social agenda." According to the complaint filed with the city, the firemen of Engine 5 told their chief they did not want to appear in the parade but were told the morning of the parade that they were under orders to participate.