Religion Today Summaries - July 20, 2011

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - July 20, 2011

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

In today's edition:

Churches Divided on Hungary's New Religion Law

New Archbishop Takes Reins of Philadelphia

Haiti: Aid Efforts Deadlocked by Politics

Giant Replica of Noah's Ark Opens in Hong Kong

 

Churches Divided on Hungary's New Religion Law

Christian leaders in Hungary are divided over a restrictive new law on religion. Religion News Service reports that larger denominations have welcomed its curbs on church activities while smaller groups have voiced fears for their future. "We wanted a new law to make it more difficult to establish churches here -- and we're happy the present government has now done something," said Zoltan Tarr, general secretary of the Hungarian Reformed Church. Around a fifth of the country's 9.9 million people are members. Under the law, religious groups will need at least 1,000 members and a 20-year presence in Hungary to be recognized. Under the law, only 14 of 358 registered churches and religious associations will be granted legal recognition, while others will have to reapply for legal registration after two-thirds approval in parliament.

New Archbishop Takes Reins of Philadelphia

The Philadelphia region welcomed a new archbishop into its community yesterday. Archbihop Charles J. Chaput of Denver, who takes the reins from Cardinal Justin Rigali as the new Philadelphia archbishop, says he's not intimidated by the challenges dropped on his plate. The Philadelphia region has faced particular scrutiny in the clergy sex abuse scandal in the U.S. "No bishop will solve any issues on his own - he needs everyone involved. This is not my problem, it's our problem," said Chaput, according to CNN. "We'll find a way through it, because we really do believe the church is the body of Christ." The region's previous bishop, Justin Rigali, resigned but says his decision had nothing to do with the scandal, instead citing his age.

Haiti: Aid Efforts Deadlocked by Politics

Political infighting in Haiti means the new president, Michel Martelly, has been unable to make good on campaign promises made in the wake of Haiti's 2010 devastation. According to Mission Network News, multiple posts stand empty because of rejections by Parliament. The governmental instability has hampered almost all efforts to restore the disaster-plagued country. Bright Hope International, which has a container of supplies stuck at the docks, is one of the ministries dealing with the red tape. Jephthe Lucien, director of Pignon Ministries and Bright Hope's mission partner, says, "[sic] Customs officials fear losing their jobs by approving containers not supported by the Prime Minister's office. Unfortunately, it is backward thinking and part of the corruption culture mentality."

Giant Replica of Noah's Ark Opens in Hong Kong

Christian Today reports that the first actual size replica of Noah's Ark is finally open to the public in Hong Kong. The replica is part of an evangelical Christian theme park located on Ma Wan Island on a busy waterway. Christian organizations, funded by an evangelical Chinese businessman and his two brothers, known as the Kwok brothers, built the ark as per the dimensions given in the Book of Genesis, 300 cubits long, 50 cubits wide and 30 cubits high. The government of Hong Kong was also a partner in the building. The ark contains exhibits with rare animals such as a nautilus and a toucan, as well as a garden. A similar project to build a life-sized Noah’s Ark, as part of a biblical theme park by Ark Encounter in Kentucky, is also underway.

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