Religion Today Summaries - Mar. 13, 2009

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Mar. 13, 2009

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

  • International Aid Workers Kidnapped in Sudan's Darfur
  • Church Elders OK Merger of Coral Ridge, New City
  • NBC's 'Kings' Steals a Few Pages from the Bible
  • Somalia Votes to Implement Sharia Law



International Aid Workers Kidnapped in Sudan's Darfur

Reuters reports that five aid workers from Medecins Sans Frontiers (MSF) Belgium have been kidnapped from their base in Darfur, Sudan. "This will be a further blow to the delivery of humanitarian assistance in that area, so the consequences are also extremely worrying for the population, the civilians of Darfur," Christopher Stokes, General Director of MSF Belgium told reporters in Brussels. Armed men reportedly entered the base and ordered three international staff and two national staff to leave with them. MSF "is in the process of withdrawing its last teams from the field, from Darfur ... The only staff who will be staying there will be dedicated to the liberation of our colleagues," Stokes said. Although Sudan's foreign ministry condemned the kidnappings, the incident only increases an already tense situation. The International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir for war crimes in Darfur.

Church Elders OK Merger of Coral Ridge, New City

New City Church pastor Tullian Tchividjian has announced that the merger of his church and Coral Ridge Presbyterian will move forward after weeks of discussion, the Christian Post reported. Church elders of both churches unanimously approved the merger Monday evening. Coral Ridge extended an invitation to Tchividjian, 36, to become its new senior pastor seven weeks ago. Tchividjian tentatively accepted, but only if his whole church came with him. “Only if agreeable terms on all of these fronts can be reached and those terms approved by both church sessions would Tchividjian formally accept the call and the two [churches] become one,” New City announced. Tchividjian, who is the grandson of evangelist Billy Graham, expressed enthusiasm for the merge on his blog Wednesday. "God is clearly up to something big,” he wrote.

NBC's 'Kings' Steals a Few Pages from the Bible

USA Today reports that the new NBC drama, "Kings," bases its story on the Bible's account of King David. But the plot is more than "sandals and sand," which has some Christian groups upset. The drama transplants the story from ancient Israel into the modern-day kingdom of Gilboa, while retaining the "steamy" elements of David's less-than-perfect life. "One of the things that interested me is that David is one of the most classic heroes of all time and one of the most complicated," creator Michael Green said. "He starts out as a real innocent and becomes a very complex person later on." That complexity includes a relationship with "Jack," the character based on David's best friend Jonathan. In the drama, Jack is gay. "If homosexual activists are looking for examples of homosexuality in the Bible, they are better off looking at the story of Sodom and Gomorrah and what happened there instead of creating fiction out of thin air and wishful thinking," said Tom McCluskey of the Washington-based Family Research Council.

Somalia Votes to Implement Sharia Law

Mission News Network reports that Somalia's new government has voted to implement Islamic law throughout the country. Officials hope the move will weaken the hold of Islamist guerrillas, who gained a foothold by questioning the old government’s faithfulness to Islam. Somalia is already one of the world's worst persecutors of Christians, and Open Doors President Carl Moeller says this move will only decrease religious freedom. "We're very concerned about the nature of the way that this Sharia law is being forced into Somalia as a wedge to get a peace deal and for the condition of the Christians there," he said. "Many people will remember the desperately chaotic situation in Somalia in 1993. The truth of the matter is -- Somalia isn't any better today. And Christians continue to be the most vulnerable segment of that society."