Religion Today Summaries - Dec. 21, 2010

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Dec. 21, 2010

Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.

In today's edition:

  • Poll: 4 in 10 Americans Believe in Creationism
  • Pastors Flock to Facebook, Twitter
  • Senate Votes to End Ban on Openly Gay Troops
  • Links between Murders in Turkey and ‘Masterminds' Expected


Poll: 4 in 10 Americans Believe in Creationism

A new Gallup poll reveals that 40 per cent of Americans believe in creationism - that is, that God created humans in their present form about 10,000 years ago. The Christian Post reports that the statist is a slight decline from 2008, when 44 percent agreed with this point of view. Meanwhile, almost the same number believe in "theistic evolution," or the viewpoint that God guided the evolutionary process to create life. Those statistics vary by church attendance, as 60 percent of weekly churchgoers agreed with a creationist viewpoint, and 47 percent of people who attend church at least every month also stood by creationism. Americans who seldom or never attend church are more likely to say God guided the process of evolution (39 percent).

Pastors Flock to Facebook, Twitter

USA Today says an increasing number of clergy are joining the ranks of Facebook and Twitter. "I feel my job as a pastor is to connect and network with people," said Corey Baker, pastor of First Assembly West, a small church in Cape Coral, Fla. "That's what all this does." Megachurches like the Seattle-based Mars Hill Church have used sites like YouTube for years to connect with new visitors who might be intimidated by talking to the pastor, but feel comfortable leaving a brief note on social media. While some pastors have said the networking sites can lead to temptation, others say having their pastor as a virtual friend encourages virtue. Howard Coachman, 59, a member of First Assembly West, says having his pastor as a Facebook friend reminds him to self-edit. "It keeps me from going out and getting in the weeds, because I think, 'Pastor Corey might read this,'" Coachman says.

Senate Votes to End Ban on Openly Gay Troops

Following the Pentagon's controversial poll supporting the end of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," the Senate voted on Saturday to overturn the military policy. The Associated Press reports that President Obama is expected to sign the bill into law this week. Under the bill, the Clinton-era policy will end a few months after the signing. Alliance Defense Fund says allowing openly gay men and women in the military will quickly have ramifications for military chaplains. "The first official casualty of this hurried vote may well be the religious freedom of chaplains and service members," said ADF Litigation Counsel Daniel Blomberg in a statement. "No Americans, and especially not our troops, should be forced to abandon their religious beliefs. We hope that our nation's leaders will work to ensure that none of our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines are ever made to choose between serving their country or obeying their God as result of this damaging policy decision," he added.

Links between Murders in Turkey and ‘Masterminds' Expected

Attorneys prosecuting the murder of three Christians in southeastern Turkey say they are close to linking the knifemen who slayed them to the masterminds who put them up to it, Compass Direct News reports. Two witnesses, Veysel Şahin and Ercan Gelni - whose testimony the court previously blocked - will be allowed to testify about the plans behind the killings in Malatya. The court will also protect a witness whose testimony would have possibly put him in danger. The latest court hearing was on Dec. 3. On April 18, 2007, two Turkish Christians, Necati Aydin and Ugur Yuksel, and German Christian Tilmann Geske, were bound, tortured and then murdered at the office of Zirve Publishing Co., a Christian publishing house in Malatya. Prosecutors have contended that the killings were related to a larger conspiracy by the military and nationalists to destabilize the government by targeting minorities in Turkish society.