Religion Today Summaries - June 25, 2009

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - June 25, 2009

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

  • Spiritual Profile of Gay Adults Provides Surprising Insights
  • South Korean Churches Urge Food Aid for North Korea
  • SBC Sever Ties with Texas Church over Gay Members
  • Pakistan: Christian's Son Tortured, Imprisoned

Spiritual Profile of Gay Adults Provides Surprising Insights

The Barna Group reports that the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) community is not as "godless, hedonistic, Christian bash[ing]" as evangelical Christians think, said George Barna. A new study by the group shows that 60 percent of gay adults describe their faith as "very important" in their life, compared to 72 percent of straight adults. The groups differed most obviously when defining God's character. Only 43 percent of the gays identify with an orthodox, biblical perception of God, compared to 71 percent of heterosexuals. Gays tend to avoid the local church and church traditions. “It is interesting to see that most homosexuals, who have some history within the Christian Church, have rejected orthodox biblical teachings and principles – but, in many cases, to nearly the same degree that the heterosexual Christian population has rejected those same teachings and principles," Barna said.

South Korean Churches Urge Food Aid for North Korea

Religion News Service reports that a South Korean group of churches is urging its member congregations and organizations to join a campaign to give North Korean children milk and bread "without any precondition." The National Council of Churches in Korea said it would mobilize its churches for "urgent support to people in North Korea in the situation of the present critical antagonistic political arrangement on the Korean peninsula ..." The council said the campaign is the result of discussions with its North Korean counterpart, the Korean Christian Federation, held in Beijing last March. The campaign includes a Week of National Reconciliation in June that encourages churches to have special worship services with prayers for the people of North Korea. The campaign will send 20-kilogram packs of flour and 8,000 cans of powdered milk.

SBC Sever Ties with Texas Church over Gay Members

Religion News Service reports that the Southern Baptist Convention yearly meeting has resolutely focused on the future – with one exception. The denomination kept one eye on past battles with an overwhelming vote to break ties with a gay-friendly church in Fort Worth, Texas. The decision to expel Broadway Baptist Church came with no discussion from the more than 8,000 Baptists attending the meeting in Louisville, Ky. What got more attention was a new report from the denomination's LifeWay Research, which concluded that SBC membership could drop by close to 50 percent by 2050 if it doesn't do more to reverse its image as an aging and mostly white religious body. Members of the SBC's Executive Committee met with leaders of the church in February and concluded that the church was not in "friendly cooperation" with the denomination because it welcomes gays.

Pakistan: Christian's Son Tortured, Imprisoned

Compass Direct News reports that a 37-year-old Christian is languishing in a Sialkot jail after police broke his backbone because his father was preaching Christ. According to a local advocacy group, Arshad Masih had been in a hospital – chained to his bed on false robbery charges – after police torture that began Dec. 28, 2008 left him incapacitated. He was discharged from General Hospital in Lahore on Saturday (June 20) and returned to jail despite efforts by the Community Development Initiative (CDI), a support group that is providing Masih legal assistance. Hajipura police detained Masih on Dec. 28 on orders from the Sadar police station in Gujranwala, where Masih’s father, Iqbal Masih, had been preaching Christ. The elder Masih told Compass that objections to his efforts led to false accusations of robbery against his son.