Religion Today Summaries - Dec. 25, 2009

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Dec. 25, 2009

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

  • Covenant to Bind Anglicans Sent out to Churches
  • 5 Years after Tsunami, Affected Countries Prepare Again
  • Christmas Season Attacks on Iraqi Christians Kill 5

Covenant to Bind Anglicans Sent out to Churches

Religion News Service reports that the final draft of a document aimed at mediating disputes between liberals and conservatives in the global has been sent to all 38 provinces for approval. The Anglican Communion, which has 77 million members worldwide, has been bitterly divided over homosexuality, orthodoxy, and scriptural interpretation since the election of an openly gay bishop in New Hampshire in 2003. Archbishop Rowan Williams, the spiritual leader of Anglicanism, said the document, called a "covenant," is "not going to be a penal code" but rather "a practical, sensible and Christian way of dealing with our conflicts." The nine-page covenant does not mention homosexuality, but says provinces that take "controversial" actions could face "relational consequences," including limitations on their membership in the communion.

5 Years after Tsunami, Affected Countries Prepare Again

The Wall Street Journal reports that Indonesia and other countries bordering the Indian Ocean have spent the last five years working to minimize the effects of another tsunami. The day after Christmas in 2004, a devastating tsunami surprised thousands of unwarned people, claiming around 187,000 lives. Another 43,000 people are still missing. The tsunami devastated hundreds of thousands of homes in Aceh, Indonesia, alone, destroying infrastructure and cultivated land. Since then, warning systems have been installed and - more importantly - many areas have participated in drills so civilians know where to head for high ground. Such warning systems saved lives this year after the Samoa tsunami earlier this month. Still, warning systems are not in place in all areas, especially in remote regions. Eighty percent of tsunami casualties tend to occur before any official warning arrives, giving people in the wave's path little time to escape

Christmas Season Attacks on Iraqi Christians Kill 5

ASSIST News Service reports that five people were killed Dec. 15 when two Assyrian churches and a church school were attacked in a series of terrorist bombings in Mosul. Several bombs had exploded shortly before in Baghdad. A newborn infant was killed and another 40 people were wounded. The U.S. military said they have detained several al-Qaeda members responsible for the attacks. The bombings were only the latest in a consistent stream of attacks against the Assyrian Christian population in Iraq. Nearly 50 churches have been attacked since 2004, leaving hundreds of thousands of Assyrians internally displaced, or living as refugees in neighboring countries. In September and October of 2008, prior to Iraqi provincial elections, a wave of attacks displaced the Christian population from Mosul, causing them to flee to other areas of Iraq and nearby countries.