Religion Today Summaries - June 12, 2007

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - June 12, 2007

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

  • Colson Warns Baptists about Islam, Atheism
  • Religious Groups Alarmed at Treatment of UN Trafficking Expert
  • Prison Makes History with Baptist Seminary
  • Christian Reformed Church to Consider Women as Ministers

Colson Warns Baptists about Islam, Atheism

According to The Christian Post, Chuck Colson warned a gathering of Southern Baptist pastors Sunday against what he described as two dire threats: the deadly marriage of Islam and fascism and a new, militant atheism growing in popularity in the West. Colson called on Christians to do a better job of explaining Christianity's worldview. He went on to say, "Islamo-fascism is evil incarnate... Islamists are very different. We will die for what we believe. They will kill for what they believe."

Religious Groups Alarmed at Treatment of UN Trafficking Expert

A top U.N. official in Bangladesh is facing charges of corruption, but critics say the military backed government is trying to prevent her from carrying out her mandate as the world body's special investigator on human trafficking, reports. Bangladesh's government accuses Sigma Huda, an advocate attached to the U.N.'s Human Rights Council, of corruption. Her husband Nazmul Huda, a former communications minister, was jailed without trial last February on similar charges. Janice Raymond, co-executive director of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW), claims the restrictions are the latest attempt by the government to harass Huda, who serves as U.N. special rapporteur on trafficking. An outspoken critic of violence against women, especially fatwa-related violence, Huda is the current president of the Bangladesh Women Lawyers Association, as well as a CATW board member for the Asia Pacific region.

Prison Makes History with Baptist Seminary

At Mississippi's Parchman Penitentiary, 17 inmates and their families gathered in the prison's visitation building to celebrate a first in the state's prison system's history - a seminary graduation ceremony. Baptist Press reports the inmates made up the first graduating class of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary's new Parchman extension center which began offering classes in 2005. The program at Parchman was jumpstarted by Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour's wife Marsha. Shortly after her husband took office in 2004, she began to press for a more robust educational program within the prison system. "I found out they didn't have anything like this, and I challenged Haley's staff to look at different models to see what other prisons were doing," Marsha Barbour said. From the first program in Angola, La., to the one in Parchman, a third is set to begin at a Georgia prison in the fall or spring to transform the lives of inmates from the inside out.

Christian Reformed Church to Consider Women as Ministers

WZZM reports that nearly 12,000 have gathered for the 150th anniversary of the Christian Reformed Church, which will hold it's annual synod meeting over the next several days. One of the main topics of discussion will be whether or not to allow women to serve as ministers within the CRC. Also being discussed are strategies for changing the denominations's declining membership. John Witvliet from Calvin College said, "There is a tremendous amount of intention on planting new churches and expanding ministry opportunities and I think the common theme we have heard, especially throughout this week of celebration is when we are focused on helping people who need hope, a lot of those issues recede into the background."