Religion Today Summaries - Nov. 20, 2009

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Nov. 20, 2009

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

  • Lutherans to Split over Gay Clergy
  • Exodus Opposes Uganda's Proposed Anti-Gay Law
  • U.S. Catholic Bishops Clarify Moral 'Confusion'
  • Violence in Columbia May Trigger Humanitarian Crisis, Group Says

Lutherans to Split over Gay Clergy

The Washington Times reports that conservative members in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America have announced an official break with the more liberal mother church. The steering committee of Lutheran CORE (Coalition for Renewal) said Wednesday they can no longer stay in the denomination because of differing views on biblical authority, especially on the issue of homosexuality. The ELCA announced in August that it would allow openly gay clergy. That decision, CORE said in a statement, created "a biblical and theological crisis throughout the ELCA and conflict in local congregations." The ELCA is the second major denomination to split over such issues, following the Episcopal Church's split last year. "We are not leaving the ELCA. The ELCA has left us," said Ryan Schwarz, a steering committee member from the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer in McLean, Va. '

Exodus Opposes Uganda's Proposed Anti-Gay Law

Bapist Press reports that Exodus International has sent a letter to Uganda's president, expressing concern over legislation that would prosecute homosexual behavior. The bill would require pastors, missionaries, health care providers and counselors to report people suspected of such behavior. The Christian ministry that seeks to assist homosexuals in overcoming unwanted same-sex attractions said in the letter that it believes homosexuality is not what God intended for individuals, but the proposed legislation is not the solution. "If homosexual behavior and knowledge of such behavior is criminalized and prosecuted, as proposed in this bill, church and ministry leaders will be unable to assist hurting men, women and youth who might otherwise seek help in addressing this personal issue," the letter, dated Nov. 16, said.

U.S. Catholic Bishops Clarify Moral 'Confusion'

Religion News Service reports that U.S. Catholic bishops on Tuesday (Nov. 17) issued detailed guidelines on marriage, reproductive technologies and health care for severely brain-damaged patients, responding to scientific advances and widespread "confusion" among their flocks. The bishops gathered in Baltimore, Md., for their semi-annual meeting also heard a preliminary report on the "causes and contexts" of the clergy sexual abuse scandal that resulted in some 14,000 abuse claims and cost the church $2.6 billion since 1950. Researchers from New York's John Jay College of Criminal Justice told the nearly 300 members of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops that homosexual orientation should not be linked to the sexual abuse, even as some church leaders have sought to make a link between gay priests and sexual abuse.

Violence in Columbia May Trigger Humanitarian Crisis, Group Says

The Christian Post reports that an international Lutheran relief group fears Columbia may crumble into a humanitarian crisis, as violence skyrockets and ministry partners face increased threats. "Violence in Córdoba and the impunity perpetrators enjoy is a threat not only to our partners, but to development as a whole," noted Michael Watt, Lutheran World Relief regional director for Latin America programs. "LWR has accompanied displaced communities in Colombia since 1996, but growing violence has required the organization to increase our focus on protection and emergency measures, while limiting our ability to support development and rehabilitation programming, such as improving rural families' livelihoods and facilitating a return home for IDPs," he added.