Religion Today Summaries - Dec. 15, 2009

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Dec. 15, 2009

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

  • Rick Warren Joins Thousands in Condemning Uganda Anti-Gay Bill
  • 'Islam Is a Dangerous Religion,' Most American Pastors Say
  • Church Bells across Britain Ring in Climate Appeal
  • Episcopal Head Responds to Election of Lesbian Bishop

Rick Warren Joins Thousands in Condemning Uganda Anti-Gay Bill

Baptist Press reports that megachurch pastor Rick Warren has joined a growing number of Christians in condemning a proposed law in Uganda that would require execution of some homosexuals. "The potential law is unjust, extreme and un-Christian toward homosexuals," said Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., in an open letter to pastors of Uganda. The proposed legislation would put the death penalty on practicing homosexuals who have HIV, and would force pastors, parents, and counselors to report homosexuals to authorities. He joined other evangelicals in condemning the bill. Andrew Marin, author of "Love Is an Orientation," and Dr. Warren Throckmorton, a Christian professor at Grove City College, started a Facebook group to spread awareness about the bill. That group has now grown to 10,000 members from various faiths.

'Islam Is a Dangerous Religion,' Most American Pastors Say

The Christian Post reports that American pastors mostly agree with the statement that Islam is a dangerous religion. According to a new survey by LifeWay Research, 45 percent of pastors strongly agree with the statement "I believe Islam is a dangerous religion," and 21 percent agree somewhat.  LifeWay Research President Ed Stetzer said, "It's important to note [that] our survey asked whether pastors viewed Islam as ‘dangerous,' but that does not necessarily mean ‘violent.'"  Stetzer said the survey's parameters include pastors who see Islam as a worldview or cultural threat, similar to the way many in Europe view Muslim immigrants. Still, the survey of 1,000 Protestant pastors shows that clergy are "concerned," he continued. The perceptive of Islam as "dangerous" varied widely along denominational and political lines.

Church Bells across Britain Ring in Climate Appeal

BBC News reports that churches in Britain have rung out their support for a deal at the Copenhagen climate conference in a traditional way - with chimes. Church bells throughout Britain chimed 350 times to signify the 350 parts per million some developing nations say is the safe upper concentration for carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Similar demonstrations have occurred in New Zealand, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Sweden and the U.S., coordinated by the World Council of Churches. The Church of England's spiritual head, Dr. Rowan Williams, has encouraged leaders in Copenhagen to reach some agreement.

Episcopal Head Responds to Election of Lesbian Bishop

The Christian Post reports that the head of the Episcopal Church has reserved enthusiastic support for the election of the denomination's first openly lesbian bishop. Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori urged "prayer and discernment" concerning the Rev. Canon Mary D. Glasspool in the Diocese of Los Angeles, perhaps recognizing the galvanizing effect the election could have on the splintering denomination. "The challenges of our current age include the ancient human desire to find a scapegoat, with the familiar targets in this society right now being Muslims and immigrants and gay people," said Schori, who has pushed for full inclusion of gays in the church hierarchy. "Jesus' own witness is to continually reject that kind of response, for it always ends in violence and diminution of life," she said.