Religion Today Summaries - January 19, 2012

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - January 19, 2012

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

In today's edition:

  • Nearly 60 Percent of Young People Leaving the Church
  • Laos Frees Christian Leaders, But Confiscates Churches
  • NYC's 40 Percent Abortion Rate Highest in the U.S.
  • Pro-Life Activists Call for Support of 'Sanctity of Human Life Sunday'


Nearly 60 Percent of Young People Leaving the Church

A recent study by the Barna Group found that almost 60 percent of Christian young people ages 15 to 29 have distanced themselves from active involvement in church, CBN News reports. David Kinnaman, president of theBarna Group, says a few reasons behind the mass exodus include young people finding churches "shallow," feeling that God is missing from services, and feeling that church is not a safe place to express doubts. He added that in many cases, churches have failed to equip young people to live "in but not of" the world. "[Young people] tell us that ... Christianity has become so hip, so watered-down, so about entertainment -- and they're looking for something of more substance," Kinnaman said. However, not all is lost: Kinnaman said this has led some young people to begin attending more traditional, conservative churches. "They want to feel that their faith matters, that they're learning the truth of Scripture," he said.

Laos Frees Christian Leaders, But Confiscates Churches

Seven Christian leaders who were detained and tortured for nearly a month in southern Laos have been released, but concerns remain about the confiscation of church buildings in the area, according to International Christian Concern. The Christians, who were arrested for violating their village's local traditional customs and spirit beliefs because of their Christian faith practices, were held in wooden stocks, sometimes combined with exposure to red fire ants as a form of torture, and forced to pay steep fines, saidSirikoon Prasertsee, director of the Human Rights Watch for Lao Religious Freedom. While pleased the church leaders were released, Prasertsee said he remained concerned about churches being confiscated nearby. Authorities have barred Christians from entering two church buildings in Savannakhet province, and 23 others are at risk of government seizure. The Christian minority in Laos is generally viewed as a threat to the communist government, although officials repeatedly deny human rights abuses against minorities.

NYC's 40 Percent Abortion Rate Highest in the U.S.

According to a recent report released by the local health department, the abortion rate in New York City is more than double the national average, CBN News reports. Statistics show that 40 percent of all pregnancies in the city end in abortion, the highest rate in the United States. More than 83,000 abortions were performed in 2010, down 1 percent from 2009. The report showed that the abortion rate was highest in the African-American community, with 60 percent of all pregnancies ending in abortion, and that pregnant teenagers had abortions 63 percent of the time.

Pro-Life Activists Call for Support of 'Sanctity of Human Life Sunday'

This Sunday, January 22, is Sanctity of Human Life Sunday, and pro-life activists are calling for national support. In a Jan. 13, 1984 proclamation, then-president Ronald Reagan designated the third Sunday of January as "National Sanctity of Human Life Day," a date chosen to coincide with the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court case that legalized abortion in America. In the now almost 40 years since Roe v. Wade, the Guttmacher Institute estimates that more than 50 million abortions have taken place in the U.S. Christian singer, author and pro-life activist Rebecca St. James is calling on Americans this Sunday to remember the pro-life cause and the mission of crisis pregnancy centers, who every day "empower women to choose life," she said. Recent statistics show Americans are increasingly supporting the pro-life agenda, she added, and emphasized the need to let their voices and funding make a difference.

Publication date: January 19, 2012