Religion Today Summaries - Sept. 11, 2008

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Sept. 11, 2008

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

  • Pakistan: Christians Receive Threat Letters
  • Megachurch Loses Property Battle to PC(USA)
  • Bishops Criticize Biden's Abortion Statements
  • ACLU Donates $1.2M to Defeat Calif. Marriage Amendment

Pakistan: Christians Receive Threat Letters

ASSIST News Service reports that at least nine Pakistani Christians of Shantinagar, a Christian village in Punjab province, have reportedly received letters threatening them to convert to Islam on Sept. 3, 2008, the Minorities Concern of Pakistan (MCP) has reported. The letters threatened death or eviction from the area in case the recipients did not convert to Islam. Last year, some Christian residents of Charsadda, Mardan and Peshawar in the conservative North West Frontier Province of Pakistan received letters threatening them to convert to Islam in 10 days or face death. Some 10 villagers of Shantinagar received an identical message twice last year, the MCP’s report said. The fresh letters, it said, did not mention any deadline. In 1997 the Christian village of Shantinagar was burnt and destroyed by a mob of about 2000 after Christians were allegedly accused of desecrating the Quran, the Muslim holy book, it said.

Megachurch Loses Property Battle to PC(USA)

The Christian Post reports that the legal wrangling stemming from churches that have split from their denomination and want to keep their property continues, as a two-year legal battle over Kirk of the Hills church property ended Tuesday. The Tusla, Okla., megachurch split from the PC(USA) in 2006, citing concerns that the denomination was leaving its biblical base. Country district judge Jefferson Sellers ruled against the church, saying the church property belongs to the PC(USA) and the Eastern Oklahoma Presbytery. “We are disappointed by this decision, but not surprised," co-pastor Tom Gray said in a statement. "We are hopeful that the Oklahoma Supreme Court will correct this injustice... All we have wanted was to keep the property we purchased and have considered our home for worship, teaching and fellowship for these many decades," Gray stated.

Bishops Criticize Biden's Abortion Statements

The Democratic nominee for vice president is facing heat from the Catholic church after speaking of his "personal and private" views on when human life begins on NBC's Meet the Press, according to OneNewsNow. In a statement, Cardinal Justin Rigali and Bishop William Lori said Sen. Joe Biden was correct in saying life begins at conception, but added that the church "does not teach this as matter of faith; it acknowledges it as a matter of objective fact." They added, "Protection of innocent human life is not an imposition of personal religious conviction but a demand of justice. House Speaker and fellow Democrat Nancy Pelosi was also recently accused have mispresenting church teaching after a similar appearance on Meet the Press.

ACLU Donates $1.2M to Defeat Calif. Marriage Amendment

Baptist Press reports that supporters of a constitutional marriage amendment in California are asking constituents to help match a $1.2 million donation the American Civil Liberties Union's northern California branch gave in recent days to help defeat the proposal. The ACLU's Sept. 3 gift to the No on 8, Equality for All campaign is the largest single gift yet to opponents of the amendment, known as Proposition 8, according to the California secretary of state's website. If passed this fall, the amendment would protect the natural definition of marriage and reverse a May decision by the California Supreme Court legalizing "gay marriage." "The ACLU is picking this fight for a reason," Steve Linder, finance director for, the leading organization supporting the amendment, wrote in an e-mail to constituents. "They know that if we fail, there will be nothing stopping them and their radical vision for a society dictated to by activist judges."