Religion Today Summaries - May 26, 2008

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - May 26, 2008

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

  • Burma to Accept 'All' Aid Workers to Help Cyclone Survivors
  • Algeria: Court Pressures Woman to Renounce Christ
  • Survey: 16 Percent of Science Teachers are Creationists
  • Protesters in Germany Harass 15,000 Strong Christian Youth Festival

Burma to Accept 'All' Aid Workers to Help Cyclone Survivors

After weeks of refusing access to foreign relief experts, the junta in Burma finally agreed to allow badly needed aid for cyclone victims into the country, according to FOX News. The agreement comes after U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon met with Burma's effective ruler, Senior Gen Than Shwe, on Friday. Ban said the government also agreed to let in aid "via civilian ships and small boats," suggesting that foreign military ships may not be allowed to dock. Questions remain as to when the agreement will take effect, but a senior U.N. official present at the meeting said Than Shwe gave a "green light" for areas that were previously untouchable to workers, such as the hardest-hit region of the Irrawaddy Delta. International aid agencies now stand poised to act as soon as they find out the "practical details" of the country's new commitment. "This is a significant step forward, and could be a turning point in the aid response," said Brian Agland, who heads the U.S.-based aid group CARE in Burma.

Algeria: Court Pressures Woman to Renounce Christ

Compass Direct News reports that an Algerian public prosecutor has demanded a three-year sentence for a convert to Christianity in western Algeria for practicing her faith “without license.” Habiba Kouider, 35, was plucked off an inter-city bus outside of her home town of Tiaret on March 29 when police found several Bibles and books on Christianity in her hand bag.Algerian daily el Watan reported on Wednesday (May 21) that Kouider “refused to give up her new faith under the pressure,” prompting the prosecutor to bring charges against her. At the hearing, Kouider’s defense lawyer told the court that the charge against her client did not exist in the law. “There is no trace of a possible reason to try individuals for the ‘practice of non-Muslim worship without authorization,’” Khelloudja Khalfoun said, according to el Watan.

Survey: 16 Percent of Science Teachers are Creationists

According to a recent national survey, 16 percent of U.S. science teachers are creationists, the Christian Post reports. The study, conducted by faculty at Pennsylvania State University, found that creationism continues to be taught in many classrooms despite judicial blocks. A majority of the almost 1,000 teachers surveyed said that they spent at least three to 10 hours of class time covering evolution, while a quarter those surveyed said they also taught creationism and intelligent design - about half of whom said they believed these to be "valid, scientific alternative to Darwinian explanations for the origin of species.” Four states have passed "Academic Freedom" bills protecting teachers' and students'rights to challenge Darwinism without fear of backlash.

Protesters in Germany Harass 15,000 Strong Christian Youth Festival reports that about 450 protestors physically and verbally assaulted some of the 15,000 Christians peacefully gathered for the April 30 opening day of the Christival German youth festival. The "No Christival" protest gathered only hundreds of meters from the festival. About 100 of the self-described "antisexist alliance" protestors broke down barricades, while other No Christival members set off fireworks and chanted anti-God slogans. Attacks on Christians continued throughout the festival that concluded May 4, and Christival hosts reported that some attendees were mobbed and had beer bottles thrown at them. The Christival events are part of a series of attacks on Christians that has recently reported.