Religion Today Summaries - Sept. 23, 2010

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Sept. 23, 2010

Daily briefs of the top Christian news and persecution stories impacting believers around the world.

In today's edition:

  • Christians Respond to Blocked Repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"
  • Men Allege Sexual Coercion by Prominent Atlanta Pastor
  • Ethiopian Christian Stabbed For Leaving Islam
  • Pastor at Center of Quran Burn Could Face $200,000 Bill

Christians Respond to Blocked Repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"

After the U.S. Senate failed to repeal the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy on Tuesday afternoon, many Christians breathed a sigh of relief. Republicans voted to continue debate on the measure, which would overturn bans on openly gay men and women serving in the armed forces, effectively delaying the vote until after midterm elections in November. "Along with millions of social conservatives, I am delighted that the Senate has turned back a substantial challenge to the 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy," said Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. "Making the military a lab for social innovation and experiment in a time of two wars is foolhardy and dangerous." Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, said, "This is a victory for the men and women who serve our nation in uniform. At least for now they will not be used to advance a radical social agenda."

Men Allege Sexual Coercion by Prominent Atlanta Pastor

CNN reports that two young men belonging to an Atlanta megachurch have accused the pastor of coercing them into sex. The suits, filed Tuesday in DeKalb County, Georgia, allege that Pastor Eddie Long used his position as a spiritual authority and bishop to manipulate young male members and employees of his 25,000-member New Birth Missionary Baptist Church. Long, who CNN called one of the nation's top black preachers, "categorically and adamantly denies these allegations," said spokesman Art Franklin. One of the men, 21-year-old Anthony Flagg, says Long took him on multiple overnight trips for sexual encounters. "Everybody knows that a bishop or church pastor ... cannot have any sort of sexual relations or sexual relationship with one of your parishioners," Flagg's lawyer, B.J. Bernstein, said at a news conference Tuesday evening. "And even worse to have it with two young men who trusted him and got to know him at a very young age."

Ethiopian Christian Stabbed For Leaving Islam

A new convert from Islam to Christianity in Ethiopia was stabbed for standing by his faith, Worthy News reports. Three Muslim men allegedly attacked Muhammad Ali in the city of Dufti on Sept. 13, bringing him to a mosque and demanding that he pray. When he refused, they stabbed him on the hip with a knife. Police arrested two suspects, but Christians believe at least one of them will be released soon. "The Ethiopian constitution guarantees freedom of religion, but sadly Christians living in Muslim-dominated parts of the country suffer persecution at the hands of radicals," said Jonathan Racho, ICC's Regional Manager for Africa. "The only way to tackle this heinous violation of religious freedom is by bringing the perpetrators of the attacks to justice. We urge the Ethiopian officials to properly punish all individuals responsible for attacking Ali."

Pastor at Center of Quran Burn Could Face $200,000 Bill

Religion News Service reports that the Florida pastor who abruptly called off plans to burn hundreds of Qurans could still face a $200,000 bill from law enforcement agencies that were called in to provide security at the protest. Pastor Terry Jones of the Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Fla., pulled the planned protest on Sept. 11 after pressure from top U.S. and world leaders, including President Obama and Defense Secretary Robert Gates. The Gainesville Police Department and the Alachua County Sheriff's Office each expect to bill Jones' church about $100,000 each, in addition to an expected bill from the City of Gainesville, according to The Gainesville Sun. Police officials told The Sun that nearly all of their 286 officers worked security on Sept. 11 -- the same day as a massive University of Florida home football game -- and sheriff's officials said 160 of the 242 deputies working that day were assigned to the church.