Religion Today Summaries - March 23, 2007

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - March 23, 2007

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

  • Cizik Gets no Rebuke from NAE Board
  • Leader of Church of God in Christ Dies
  • Born-again Voters Still a Force
  • 'Breakaway' Episcopal Churches Respond to Lawsuit over Property

Cizik Gets no Rebuke from NAE Board

Board members of the National Association of Evangelicals at their March 9 meeting took no action against VP Richard Cizik for his sometimes provocative statements on global warming, Baptist Press reports. Conservative Christian leaders had asked the board in a letter prior to the meeting to either discipline or terminate Cizik because he and others had used “the global warming controversy to shift emphasis away from the great moral issues of our time.” In place of these key issues has come a preoccupation with the causes and impact of climate change, which Dobson and the other leaders claimed have not been scientifically proven. The NAE board did adopt via near-unanimous vote a declaration on torture, though critics contend it fails to define what constitutes immoral behavior toward combatants. The global warming and torture issues demonstrate the broadening agenda of the NAE and its potential for losing touch with its constituency, some conservative evangelicals claim.

Leader of Church of God in Christ Dies

G.E. Patterson, the presiding bishop of the Church of God in Christ died of heart failure Tuesday. The Church Report says Patterson was 67. COGIC is a predominantly black Protestant denomination in the pentecostal/holiness tradition headquartered in Memphis, with 6 million members worldwide. Patterson was hospitalized in January for an undisclosed illness and told his followers in 2005 that he had prostate cancer. In November, he said he had considered stepping down but changed his mind after an outpouring of support. "If my body being afflicted can get us back to where God wants us to be, then I'm willing to suffer," said Patterson, who received a standing ovation.

Born-again Voters Still a Force

If the turnout for the 2008 presidential election is anything like that of 2000 and 2004, born again voters will cast roughly half of all ballots, according to a Baptist Press report quoting The Barna Group. “Born again Christians should not be underestimated. They represent half of Republican voters, two-fifths of registered Democrats, and one-third of independent voters,” said David Kinnaman, who directed the Barna study. “As the presidential primaries gear up and both parties try to attract the broadest group of voters, it will be to their benefit not to alienate the diverse Christian segment,” and “appealing to them must go beyond simply saying the right combination of messages or getting them to show up at the polls, but instead should genuinely connect with their perspectives and principles.”

'Breakaway' Episcopal Churches Respond to Lawsuit over Property

A reports says that the ten Anglican churches sued by the Diocese of Virginia have responded by asking the court to dismiss the lawsuits, claiming the Diocese has no basis to bring the legal action against them. The churches left the ECUSA because of its liberal policies and leaders in January. The breakaway churches say the defendants sued by the Diocese serve in various roles without compensation and are immune from the lawsuit under Virginia statute. Anglican archbishops have also asked both sides to back away from litigation over the property the churches sit on.