Religion Today Summaries - Dec. 17, 2009

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Dec. 17, 2009

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

  • UK Registar Who Refused to Conduct Gay Ceremony Loses Case
  • Billy Graham Remembers Evangelist Oral Roberts
  • Victims of Gojra Violence Slowly Healing
  • Catholic Newspaper's Battle Goes to Malaysia High Court

UK Registar Who Refused to Conduct Gay Ceremony Loses Case

Christian Today reports that a Christian registrar has lost her appeal against a north London council after it disciplined her for refusing to conduct same-sex civil partnership ceremonies. Lillian Ladele was ordered to perform ceremonies for same-sex couples in July, despite saying her refusal as a "matter of religious conscience." The Islington Council then fired her. An intial hearing decided in Ladele's favor, but an appeals court said that Ladele had not faced religious discrimination, though she had been treated unfairly. Wednesday's ruling called Ladele's case "sympathetic" but not meeting "the requirements of a modern liberal democracy." Mike Judge, head of communications at The Christian Institute for Ladele's defense, said, "Looking at the matter more widely, government regulations in this area have not done enough to protect religious liberty.

Billy Graham Remembers Evangelist Oral Roberts

Popular evangelist Billy Graham remembered his longtime friend Oral Roberts kindly yesterday, just hours after the 91-year-old evangelist died. "Oral Roberts was a man of God, and a great friend in ministry. I loved him as a brother. We had many quiet conversations over the years. I invited Oral to speak at one of our early international conferences on evangelism held in Berlin in the 1960s," Graham said. "Just three weeks ago, I was privileged to talk to Oral over the telephone. During the short conversation, he said to me that he was near the end of his life's journey. I look forward to the day that I will see Oral and [his wife] Evelyn Roberts again in Heaven--our eternal home." A public memorial service to honor evangelist Oral Roberts, founder of Oral Roberts Evangelistic Association (OREA) and Oral Roberts University (ORU), has been scheduled for 2 p.m. Central Time, Monday, Dec. 21 at ORU.

Victims of Gojra Violence Slowly Healing

ASSIST News Service reports that many of the Pakistani Christians affected by violence in Punjab Province are still in shock, but say they are slowly being "healed." The July 30 violence, which resulted in the burning of more than 50 houses and four churches in Korian village, was sparked by rumors that a Christian, Mr. Talib Masih, and his family, had desecrated the Qur'an (the Holy Book of Muslims) during a marriage ceremony. On Aug. 1, the violence escalated dramatically when Muslim extremists burned to death seven Christians. At least 68 homes and two churches were burned down in the nearby Christian Colony of Gojra. But the residents of these two villages are encouraged by the legal and relief efforts of the government of Punjab and are feeling "healed." Some 101 accused of participating in the incidents have been arrested and so far the cases of 189 those also accused have been sent to the court.

Catholic Newspaper's Battle Goes to Malaysia High Court

The Christian Post reports that a Catholic newspaper's ability to use "Allah" as a translation for God in Malaysia has reached the country's high court. Authorities banned newspaper's usage of the term, saying it only referred to the Muslim god and could confuse Muslims. ""In our country, if one refers to Allah or mentions kalimah Allah, it will bring to one's mind that it refers to the god for Muslims. Kalimah Allah is sacred to the Muslims and put at the highest position, and its sanctity must be protected," said Senior Federal Counsel Datuk Kamaluddin. The Catholic newspaper, The Herald, say the word has been used as an accurate translation for centuries. The newspaper's lead counsel, Porres Royan, argued Monday that the word "Allah" was essential for worship and faith instruction within the country's Bahasa Malaysia-speaking Catholic community.