Religion Today Summaries - Dec. 4, 2007

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Dec. 4, 2007

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

  • Clinton's 'Gutsy' Church Appearance Softens Evangelicals
  • Hotel Bibles at Risk
  • Evangelist’s House Burned in India
  • Thrivent Financial for Lutherans to Build 322 Habitat Houses in '08

Clinton's 'Gutsy' Church Appearance Softens Evangelicals

The Christian Post reports that Hillary Clinton made a “gutsy move” by appearing at a conservative evangelical megachurch to talk about AIDS. Initially, some felt ill at ease over the New York senator’s appearance at the Global Summit on AIDS and the Church hosted by Saddleback Valley Community Church because of her support for abortion and gay rights. However, her emphasis on her Christian faith – which she regularly backed with Bible quotations – and concerns for the AIDS pandemic softened some evangelicals’ view of the candidate often painted by conservatives as liberal, calculative and cold. “I saw a softer side of her that I haven’t seen before,” said Saddleback Church member Cindy Logan. “She was very articulate. I liked her approach. I liked the fact that she’s been to Africa, she’s been with people who have been affected by AIDS, and she’s here because of her heart for people. I appreciated that.”

Hotel Bibles at Risk

According to, trends in hotels appear to be moving away from traditionally placed Gideon Bibles. The American Hotel and Lodging Association says use of religious materials in rooms at luxury hotels has dropped by 18 percent since 2001. Instead, many upscale hotels that cater to a younger leisure travel demographic are adding amenities like condoms, intimacy kits, and sexually oriented games. Even so, Myer Hotels of Branson, MO still holds strong. Marketing spokesman Chris Myer says their hotels contain Bibles on display on top of the dresser, open and book-marked. "We get great comments on that," Myer said, adding that he thinks items like "intimacy kits" are still not mainline hospitality fare, but the exception. Still, Myer admits to noticing the Bible-removal trend, chalking it up to the politically correct atmosphere of cultural warfare.

Evangelist’s House Burned in India

Hindu radicals have torched an evangelist’s house in India, ASSIST News Service reports. The Nov. 27 attack occurred in Gavelapally village, Medak district, Andhra Pradesh. According to, Pastor Nathaniel, 23, his 18-year-old wife and other relatives were sleeping after concluding a prayer meeting. Unknown individuals taking advantage of the darkness set the house (which also doubled as prayer hall) on fire. The family had been in bed since about 10.30 p.m. when the heat and smoke woke them up at about midnight. The fire consumed the family’s 300 square foot house, as well as two cows and a dozen chickens. Nathnaniel’s family was unharmed, but he lost everything he owned. The report carried by  said it is believed Hindus radicals attacked the evangelist’s house because of his faith in Jesus Christ.

Thrivent Financial for Lutherans to Build 322 Habitat Houses in '08

With the addition of $20 million, Thrivent Financial for Lutherans is expanding its four-year commitment to $125 million to help build additional Habitat for Humanity houses nationwide, according to a Religion News Service release. Thrivent Builds with Habitat for Humanity will build 322 houses in 42 states in 2008. An additional 200 Thrivent Financial volunteer teams will travel to help build homes along the Gulf Coast and overseas next year. "Having made the largest four-year commitment in Habitat's history, Thrivent Financial has created an incredible model for corporate involvement," said Jonathan Reckford, CEO of Habitat for Humanity International. "It has helped us increase the number of U.S. Habitat homes built by nearly 6 percent and added a new dimension for those interested in building homes abroad."