Religion Today Summaries - July 23, 2008

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - July 23, 2008

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

  • Christians Offer Hope to China Earthquake Victims
  • Group 'Ordains' Three Women as Priests
  • 'Focus on the Family' Inducted into Radio Hall of Fame
  • Power-Sharing Negotiations Begin with Mugabe

Christians Offer Hope to China Earthquake Victims

The Baptist Press reports that Christian workers who responded to a major earthquake in China are still at work, joining native Christians. In some cases, Christian aid workers were the first to respond to the May 12 quake in Sichuan province. And though the survivors' stories are heartbreaking, native Christians have quietly witnessed to their countrymen. Many of those in the hardest-hit areas have long been resistant to the Gospel, but Christians are reporting an openness and spiritual hunger that have not been seen previously. One worker wrote, "Chinese Christians must simply come, listen to the stories, love the survivors and offer them hope for the future. Some Chinese Christians are opening up their homes to the victims. Others from Beijing, Shanghai and other places around China are coming to give their time, money, love and hope." The 7.9 magnitude quake killed nearly 70,000 people and destroyed 5 million homes.

Group 'Ordains' Three Women as Priests

Three women have been "ordained" as priests in the Catholic church by a group not recognized by the Roman Catholic church at all, according to the Boston Globe. The Catholic church recently reiterated its position that only men may be ordained as priests, and the Archdiocese of Boston, where the ceremony took place Monday, said the women who participated had automatically excommunicated themselves. The ceremony was organized by Roman Catholic Womenpriests, an organization that believes female ordination is valid. After being vested with white chasubles and red stoles, the women presided over a service that included communion.

'Focus on the Family' Inducted into Radio Hall of Fame

The "Focus on the Family" radio program will soon be inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in the "national active" category, marking "at least 10 years of significant contributions to the industry on the national level." According to the Christian Post, however, multiple gay activists consider the inclusion of Dr. James Dobson, the group's founder, as an "affront" to the gay community due to his stance on homosexual marriage and other issues. The Christian Post reports that the program is heard on more than 1,000 stations across the United States by millions of listeners weekly, the 30-minute program is one of the largest and most respected resources for practical, emotional and spiritual support for families in the world.

Power-Sharing Negotiations Begin with Mugabe

Fox News reports that Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe will enter into power-sharing negotiations with opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai. Meanwhile, European Union diplomats have agreed to tighten sanctions against Mugabe in hopes of encouraging the deal with Tsvangirai. The Zimbabwe crisis has only deepened since elections in April, and state-sponsored violence since then has become widespread. Church officials in Zimbabwe fear the country may fall prey to a Rwanda-like genocide if the situation is not checked.