Religion Today Summaries - May 5, 2011

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - May 5, 2011

Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.

In today's edition:

  • U.S. Marks 60th Annual National Day of Prayer
  • Nigerian Church Leaders Call for Probe into Election Violence
  • Protestant Pastors Detained and Interrogated in Cuba
  • Justices Sidestep Catholics' Case against San Francisco


U.S. Marks 60th Annual National Day of Prayer

Prayer events are taking place nationwide today as Americans observe the 60th annual National Day of Prayer. The day was first set aside in 1952 by a joint resolution of Congress and the bill was signed by President Harry Truman, and President Ronald Reagan designated its observance for the first Thursday of May in 1988. President Barack Obama issued a proclamation ahead of the day on April 29, saying, On this day, let us give thanks for the many blessings God has bestowed upon our Nation,” said Obama in the proclamation. “Let us rejoice for the blessing of freedom both to believe and to live our beliefs, and for the many other freedoms and opportunities that bring us together as one Nation.” This year's theme is, "A Mighty Fortress is Our God," which is taken from Psalm 91 in the Bible's Old Testament.

Nigerian Church Leaders Call for Probe into Election Violence

Compass Direct News reports that Christian leaders in Nigeria have called for an investigation into political violence that targeted churches and Christian homes last week. Pastor Emmanuel Nuhu Kure said at a press briefing in Kafanchan, Kaduna state that the religious component of the political violence should not be discounted. “How come the Muslim fighters... were neatly surrounding the walls of the Anglican Cathedral, and the Yoruba Baptist pastor’s house and setting them on fire while shooting, without any resistance, if it was not premeditated and planned?” Pastor Kure said. Christians suffered many casualties in Kaduna state after supporters of Muslim presidential candidate Muhammudu Buhari lost the April 16 federal election to Goodluck Jonathan, a Christian. Over the weekend Christian leaders in northern Nigeria called for a federal probe into the violence, saying more than 200 church buildings were burned. Dozens of Christians were killed in the violence.

Protestant Pastors Detained and Interrogated in Cuba

Three protestant pastors were detained and questioned by Cuban security agents in Camaguey over the past weekend. The pastors are all affiliated with the Apostolic Movement, a network of churches that has come under heavy pressure from the Cuban government over the past few years, according to Christian Solidarity Worldwide. Pastors Benito Rodríguez and Bárbara Guzmán were picked up by a group of high ranking state security agents and communist party officials on April 30 and held for two hours. They say they were under heavy pressure to cease holding church services in their home. The next day, officials interrupted the church service and demanded they show proof of their home ownership, despite the fact that Rodríguez has lived in the house his entire life. That same day, another pastor, Bernardo de Quesada Salomón, was detained and subjected to similar pressure in an effort to make him leave his pastoral work.

Justices Sidestep Catholics' Case against San Francisco

The Supreme Court on Monday (May 2) declined to hear a Catholic group's appeal accusing San Francisco supervisors of violating the Constitution when they disparaged the Catholic Church's opposition to gay adoptions. Religion News Service reports that, as usual, the Supreme Court did not comment on its refusal to hear the appeal, but Catholic League President Bill Donohue said his suit was still successful in some ways. "We haven't seen the same kind of vitriol directed at the Catholic Church. A message has been sent," he said. In 2006, San Francisco supervisors passed a resolution calling on the local archdiocese and its charitable programs to allow same-sex couples to adopt children. The nonbinding resolution called it "an insult to all San Franciscans when a foreign country, like the Vatican, meddles with and attempts to negatively influence this great city's existing and established customs and traditions."