Religion Today Summaries - May 30, 2006

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - May 30, 2006

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

  • Presbyterians Stand Against Torture

  • Christian, Jewish Women Promote Biblical Women's Rights

  • IBS Confronts, Tackles Addictions in the Church

  • Diverse Faith Groups Unite to Push for Federal Marriage Amendment

Presbyterians Stand Against Torture

Presbyterians from around the nation will convene in Chicago next week to speak out against torture and demand better treatment for prisoners under U.S. custody, The Christian Post reports. The meeting by the PC(USA)-affiliated No2Torture group is part of a month-long movement against torture that will be observed by a number of human rights, civil liberties and religious organizations in June. “Our confessions affirm that human beings are created in God’s image. Rooted in that affirmation, Presbyterian General Assemblies have consistently spoken against the use of torture and cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment,” said the Rev. Mark Koenig, the program’s associate for resources and publications. Organizers intend to define torture as a “crime against humanity” that cannot be justified, even in the name of fighting terrorism. The two-day event will kick off June 2 at First Presbyterian Church in LaGrange, Ill.

Rajasthan Anti-Conversion Bill Before India's President

A proposed anti-conversion bill that would severely limit the freedom of Gospel workers in Rajasthan state was rejected by its governor and is now with the president of India for his consideration. Gospel for Asia reports that if passed as a law, the bill would make conditions for sharing the Gospel in Rajasthan even more stringent than in other states where anti-conversion legislation has been passed. Under the bill's proposed conditions, even a third-party complaint of conversion activity can be evidence for arrest and imprisonment. Spreading a religious message or news in a public setting is prohibited under the bill, and offenders could face up to five years' imprisonment and a fine of about $1,000. Various secular human rights activists, along with religious minority groups, are protesting the controversial bill. Rajasthan's governor did not approve it on grounds that it would affect the fundamental right of religion.

IBS Confronts, Tackles Addictions in the Church

Although "addiction" is not regularly confronted in houses of worship, there is no difference between addiction in the church and outside of the church, according to the author behind the idea of a new addiction recovery resource. The Christian Post reports there are more than 50 million addicts in the United States under five areas: sex, alcoholism, illicit drug use, gambling and eating disorders. International Bible Society's director of Recovery Ministries, Mike Richards, Jr., said the most prevalent of these is sexual addiction. Recent reports suggest that as much as 50 percent of men in the pews and the pulpit said they viewed pornography within the past year, while an estimated 8-10 percent of the U.S. population are sex addicts. Are churches confronting the problem? Richards says not enough, which is why IBS has released a collection of "gritty, real-life" stories and testimonies telling the reality of what addiction is like and "how challenging but rewarding recovery is." IBS is also slated to release a DVD component on June 1 to convey the raw emotion and intensity of the journey of addiction and recovery.

Diverse Faith Groups Unite to Push for Federal Marriage Amendment

AgapePress reports that several major religious denominations have come together to urge the U.S. Senate to approve a marriage amendment to the Constitution of the United States. The Religious Coalition for Marriage has released a statement signed by 50 leaders and expressing support for the proposed federal marriage protection amendment. The Coalition is comprised of all eight U.S. Catholic cardinals, as well as officials of the Southern Baptist Convention, the Church of God in Christ, the Greek Orthodox Church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations, and the National Association of Evangelicals. While diverse in many ways, the groups represented share a singleness of purpose -- the protection of traditional marriage. As Dr. Richard Land of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention notes, this alliance of faith groups is "truly an historic coalition." He notes that this is the first time these churches, religious leaders, and institutions have coordinated their efforts on this scale.