Religion Today Summaries - Sept. 1, 2008

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Sept. 1, 2008

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

  • Gustav Prompts Relief Teams' Preparations
  • Grant Aims to Expand Pro-Gay Church
  • Man Donates $3M Lottery Ticket to Church
  • China Missed Chance to Improve Rights Image, Says U.S.

Gustav Prompts Relief Teams' Preparations

Baptist Press reports that as Hurricane Gustav churns toward the Louisiana-Mississippi Gulf Coast region, Southern Baptist disaster relief units in Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Virginia have been put on alert for a possible response. Gustav, which made landfall in Kingston, Jamaica, this week, is expected to reach Category 3 hurricane status by the time it makes predicted landfall on the Gulf Coast Tuesday. The National Weather Service said the storm possibly could reach Category 5 status by then. Disaster relief coordinators at the North American Mission Board have already been in contact with the American Red Cross and Salvation Army which have requested that Baptists be prepared to provide more than 310,000 meals per day in response to the storm.

Grant Aims to Expand Pro-Gay Church

A $1.2 million grant given to the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Foundation's Institute for Welcoming Resources and five partner organizations will be spent increasing the "capacity and voice of Christian organizations that support gays and lesbians," according to the Christian Post. For Kermit Rainman, social research analyst for Focus on the Family, calls the move a "false doctrine [that]is playing out in denomination after denomination, with increasing discord." According to the Post, more than 3,100 churches throughout the country already give explicit welcome to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people for full membership and interaction in their congregations.

Man Donates $3M Lottery Ticket to Church

What would you do with a $3 million lottery ticket? The Associated Press reports that Pastor Bertrand Crabbe of the True North Community Church of Port Jefferson, N.Y., received an unexpected gift last week when a church member donated the ticket to the church, saying, "This was why God put the ticket in his hands." The man wishes to remain anonymous. The independent Christian church will receive more than $102,000 a year through 2028, according to the state lottery. The ticket was bought July 19. The same day, Crabbe said, the man with the ticket "called me, invited me to his home, told me he had won and his intentions. He said he wanted to bless the church." Crabbe said the first year's money will go towards charities that fight human trafficking.

China Missed Chance to Improve Rights Image, Says U.S.

The Christian Post reports that China missed a golden opportunity to show an improved human rights and religious freedom image during the Olympic Games, the White House said. "It was maybe an opportunity missed for the Chinese to demonstrate their willingness to be more open and to allow more freedom of speech, freedom of religion, while the world was watching," said White House spokesman Tony Fratto earlier this week, according to Reuters. China should have allowed peaceful protestors to demonstrate without interferance, he said. Bush pressured the Chinese government towards greater religious freedom, but was told not to interfere with China's internal affairs.