Religion Today Summaries - July 30, 2008

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - July 30, 2008

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

  • Man Admits Church Shooting, Says Liberals Should Die
  • Anti-Christian Violence Up in Pre-Election India
  • Moscow, Kiev Both Claim Victory in Church Dispute
  • Hurricane Relief Afoot in Rio Grande Valley

Man Admits Church Shooting, Says Liberals Should Die

CNN reports that the man accused of storming a Unitarian church in Knoxville told police that the church's liberal teachings incited the rampage which killed two and injured seven. J. David Adkisson reportedly blamed liberals and Democrats for the country's decline, and, "Because he could not get to the leaders of the liberal movement ... he would then target those that had voted them into office," according to the affidavit. A letter found in his vehicle also pointed to frustration at his unemployment as a motive. Linda Kraeger, 61, and Greg McKendry, 60, were killed in the shooting Sunday, police said. The Associated Press reports that three others who were shot are in serious condition and a fourth is stable.

Anti-Christian Violence Up in Pre-Election India

Compass Direct News reports that as elections approach in Madhya Pradesh state, Christian leaders say their community is increasingly targeted as part of an effort by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to consolidate Hindu nationalist (Hindutva) votes. “This year alone, since January we have recorded 35 major incidents of atrocities against the Christian community,” Father Anand Muttungal, spokesman for the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Madhya Pradesh, told Compass. With elections scheduled for December, the Hindu extremist BJP already has begun saber-rattling against the Christian community. Indira Iyengar, a former member of the Madhya Pradesh State Minority Commission, noted that at election time the BJP tends to divide voters along religious lines and physically attack minorities. “[They] will do so even more and would like to show Hindus that they are the only saviors of Hinduism,” she said, “and that if they do not protect the Hindus, they will all become Christians or Muslims.”

Moscow, Kiev Both Claim Victory in Ukraine Church Dispute

International Herald Tribune reports that leaders in Moscow and Kiev are both claiming the spiritual leader of the Orthodox church is on their side after a weekend meeting with him. Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko is working to create an independent Ukrainian Orthodox church in accord with his campaign to shake Ukraine's history of Russian influence. "I am glad that the Patriarch is backing the aspiration of the Ukrainian people to have its own national local church," Yushchenko said in a statement. "Such aspirations are in line to all the principles of a national, state and of course church life." Meanwhile, Mikhail Prokopenko, a spokesman for the Moscow-based Russian church, disputed Yushchenko's claim, saying that Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople affirmed Moscow's leadership over the Ukrainian church, and that Bartholomew will not recognize a schism. Bartholomew's office declined immediate comment.

Hurricane Relief Afoot in Rio Grande Valley

Baptist Press reports that disaster relief volunteers from the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention are providing meals and assisting in cleanup in the Rio Grande Valley after Hurricane Dolly hit the far south Texas coast July 23. "Hurricane Dolly brought torrential rains and devastating winds to the area," Jim Richardson, SBTC disaster relief director, wrote in an e-mail. "Many of the families in Matamoros have been affected." Volunteers are cooking 10,000 meals a day for the Salvation Army canteens in McAllen, Richardson said. Churches from the Gulf Coast westward toward McAllen assessed damage from the storm to their buildings and communities the day after the storm. The 200,000 people without electricity July 24 had dropped to about 125,000 by the weekend, according to news reports. According to Moreno, the area's greatest needs are chainsaws and blue tarps to cover damaged buildings.