Religion Today Summaries - June 25, 2008

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - June 25, 2008

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

  • Dobson Accuses Obama of 'Distorting' Bible
  • Pakistan: 16 Freed, Others Still Captive
  • Survey: Traditional Values Still Ideal
  • PCUSA Committee OKs Changes to Confession 

 Dobson Accuses Obama of 'Distorting' Bible

The Associated Press reports that evangelical leader Dr. James Dobson has accused Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama of "distorting" the Bible and pushing a "fruitcake interpretation" of the Constitution. The comments are part of yesterday's Focus on the Family radio program, and come shortly after Obama made overtures to meet with Dobson at Focus on the Family headquarters. The 18 minute radio segment highlights excerpts of a speech Obama gave in June 2006, in which Obama questioned the validity of going by a particular interpretation of Christianity, citing Dobson and civil rights leader Al Sharpton as opposite examples. Obama also highlighted the differences between laws in the book of Leviticus and the Sermon on the Mount. "I think he's deliberately distorting the traditional understanding of the Bible to fit his own worldview, his own confused theology," Dobson said."... He is dragging biblical understanding through the gutter."

Pakistan: 16 Freed, Others Still Captive

Christianity today reports that 16 Christians kidnapped in Pakistan have been released, but other abductees are still being held by militant Islamic group Lashkar-e-Islam. Reports state that 25 were kidnapped from Academy Town in northwestern Pakistan during a prayer meeting, according to Christian group CLAAS-UK. The abductions came after the Christians received letters a month ago demanding that they stop religious activities, which they refused to do. Although Christians have been increasingly singled out, threatened, and even kidnapped in Pakistan, this is the first large-scale abduction to occur. “The situation is very worrying as it is getting worse for Christians in Pakistan and this latest incident has only increased the sense of insecurity,” said Nasir Saeed, Director of CLAAS-UK, a group which supports persecuted Christians in Pakistan.

Survey: Traditional Values Still Ideal

A new Barna Group study finds that faith, integrity, purpose, and family still top the list when Americans rank what's important in life, reports the Christian Post. More than 75 percent of all American adults said their ideal life includes having good physical health (listed by 85 percent), living with a high degree of integrity (85 percent), having one marriage partner for life (80 percent), having a clear purpose for living (77 percent), having a close relationship with God (75 percent), and having close, personal friendships (74 percent), according to the survey released Monday. "Stability rules," George Barna, who has overseen this research since 1991, noted. "Out of nineteen factors, only two have seen even a ten-point shift in nearly two decades. That’s rather remarkable consistency.”

PCUSA Committee OKs Changes to Confession

The Christian Post reports that a committee in the Presbyterian Church (USA) approved changes to a translated version of a document of the Reformed Christian faith. Critics say the changes are a feint to minimize homosexual behavior as sin. PCUSA commissioners and delegates at their biennial General Assembly went into nearly seven hours of debate on overtures, or resolutions, that called for changes to the 1962 Miller-Osterhaven translation of the Heidelberg Catechism. Much of the controversy revolved around a reference to "homosexual perversion" that is not found in the original German text. Opponents of the current translation say they seek a more historically faithful and accurate translation, while proponents say the passage in question, question 87 in the 1962 translation, alludes to 1 Corinthians 6:9-10. The passage lists "homosexual perversion" as a block to coming into the kingdom of God.