Religion Today Summaries - Feb. 26, 2007

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Feb. 26, 2007

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

  • Poll: More Americans Prefer Focus on Personal Faith over Changing Society
  • Anglican Primates Ask U.S. Episcopal Church to Restore Unity
  • Mohler, Atheist Debate Faith’s Contribution to Society
  • Christian Dies in Eritrean Military Jail

Poll: More Americans Prefer Focus on Personal Faith over Changing Society

The Christian Post reports that highly religious Americans are almost evenly split on whether it is best to live the best possible personally religious life or it is also necessary to spread their beliefs, a recent Gallup Poll found. The largest percentage of Americans label themselves as "somewhat religious" (39 percent). "Extremely" or "very religious" Americans check in at 37 percent. 23 percent say they are "not too religious" or "not religious at all." Among the highly religious people, 48 percent say it is sufficient to live the best possible personal life based on their religious beliefs and principles without having to spread their faith, echoing the findings of an earlier study by the Barna Research Group. That study found 46 percent of "evangelicals" less likely to say they have a personal responsibility to share their religious beliefs with others.

Anglican Primates Ask U.S. Episcopal Church to Restore Unity

According to Catholic News Service, following a mid-February meeting in Tanzania, the primates of the world Anglican Communion warned of "fracture" in the U.S. Episcopal Church and urged it to abide by a 1998 resolution that defines marriage as heterosexual and rejects blessing same-sex unions. They also asked the bishops to affirm that any candidate for bishop who is living in a same-sex relationship "shall not receive the necessary consent (for ordination) unless some new consensus on these matters emerges across the communion." The primates said: "At the heart of our tensions is the belief that the Episcopal Church has departed from the standard of teaching on human sexuality accepted by the communion in the 1998 Lambeth Resolution 1.10 by consenting to the episcopal election of a candidate living in a committed same-sex relationship and by permitting rites of blessing for same-sex unions. The episcopal ministry of a person living in a same-sex relationship is not acceptable to the majority of the communion."

Mohler, Atheist Debate Faith’s Contribution to Society

Though the Church has evidenced shortcomings in every era of history, Christians have done much more good than harm in Western society, R. Albert Mohler Jr. said Feb. 20 in the first online panelist chat on a faith-oriented website, Baptist Press reports. “The modern concerns for human rights, the rights of women, and the protection of the vulnerable have been driven by Christian concerns and the belief that every individual, male or female, is created in God’s image,” said Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. “This is a far more substantial basis for human rights than secular theory.” Participating in the chat with Mohler was author and atheist Susan Jacoby. On the question of organized religion’s impact on Western society, Jacoby argued that Christianity helped support evil practices such as slavery and the oppression of women. Mohler countered that Christian arguments were the force that ultimately led to the abolition of slavery, and that Christianity has always taught that all people are of equal worth.

Christian Dies in Eritrean Military Jail

An Eritrean Christian died in prison last week, four and a half years after the Eritrean regime jailed him for worshipping in a banned Protestant church, Compass Direct News reports. From the southern port city of Assab, local Christians confirmed the death of Magos Solomon Semere on Thursday (February 15) at the Adi-Nefase Military Confinement facility just outside Assab. According to one source, Semere, 30, died “due to physical torture and persistent pneumonia, for which he was forbidden proper medical treatment.” Semere’s death is the third known killing of a Christian for his faith since last October.

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