Religion Today Summaries - July 3, 2006

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - July 3, 2006

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

  • Faith Group Urges Churches to Keep Religion, Politics Separate

  • Four Pakistani Men Hanged to Death for Raping Christian Girl

  • Jews For Jesus to Launch Its Largest Outreach

  • Cuban Pastor Released after Spending Over Four Months in Prison

Faith Group Urges Churches to Keep Religion, Politics Separate

Saying partisan politics are tearing apart people of faith, a group of clergy members launched a campaign on Thursday urging their fellow ministers to ensure all political viewpoints are respected in their congregations, The Christian Post reports. The Texas Faith Network wants religious leaders to sign a pledge saying they will refrain from endorsing or appearing to endorse candidates or political parties and avoid involving their congregation with partisan organizations or campaigns. The 600-member Texas Faith Network is affiliated with the Texas Freedom Network, a group that calls itself a watchdog of the religious right.

Four Pakistani Men Hanged to Death for Raping Christian Girl

According to the Press Trust of India, four Pakistani men convicted of gang-raping a teenage Christian girl at gunpoint seven years ago were hanged to death last week after President Pervez Musharraf turned down their mercy plea. The men, all in their 30s, were convicted by an anti-terrorism court which sentenced them to death. Their verdict was upheld by a higher Islamic Court. The men were hanged at around 4:30 in the morning at a prison in the city of Faisalabad and their bodies handed over to relatives waiting outside the jail, according to prison officials. The incident dates back to 1999 when the four men broke into the home of the victim with the intention of robbery, and then took turns raping the girl, holding her at gunpoint while threatening her father against raising an alarm. Christians are a minority in the largely Muslim Pakistan, and the two groups generally live together peacefully. However, violence against women, particularly "honor" killings, are often reported.

Jews For Jesus to Launch Its Largest Outreach

New York City will be met with the most intensive evangelistic outreach to Jews in July, The Christian Post reports. "This will be one of the largest and most strategic outreaches to Jewish people in the history of the Jews For Jesus ministry," said Susan Perlman, associate executive director for Jews For Jesus. This summer's outreach is "unique" to all preceding ones, Perlman stated. "Jews for Jesus made a commitment... to have an evangelistic outreach that had an intensive evangelistic outreach with a follow-up component in every city in the world that had a Jewish population of 25,000 or more."

Cuban Pastor Released after Spending Over Four Months in Prison

ASSIST News reports that after spending more than four months in prison, a Cuban pastor has been released without charge. According to Christian Solidarity worldwide (CSW), Pastor Carlos Lamelas was unexpectedly freed last Monday, 126 days after being initially jailed. He was allowed to return home to his family in Havana. In a news release, CSW reported that Lamelas informed the organization that prison guards told him to prepare to leave as he waited for his wife to arrive at the prison for her official weekly visit. No reason was given for reason for his release, and Lamelas and his family are still awaiting clarification of his legal situation.

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