Religion Today Summaries - Sept. 30, 2008

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Sept. 30, 2008

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

  • 'Fireproof' Opens Fourth at Box Office
  • Land Joins Protest of Ahmadinejad Dinner
  • Flooding Hits Orissa; National Gov't May Take Control
  • Kenya: Islamists Attack Church in Northern Town

'Fireproof' Opens Fourth at Box Office

The latest edition from Sherwood Baptist Church's media arm, "Fireproof," took the no. 4 spot at the box office this weekend, despite opening in just 800 theaters nationwide. The Christian Post reports that the latest film from the makers of "Facing the Giants" had the second highest grossing opening weekend for a film released in under 1,000 theaters this year, garnering $6.5 million. Those figures belie the mere $500,000 budget that produced the film, which stars "Growing Pains" star Kirk Cameron. “Faith-based audiences have much clout at the Box Office,” explained Media By Numbers. The film had been screened to Christian pastors and leaders throughout the summer, hoping to build support for the all-important opening weekend. The pro-marriage film tells the story of firefighter Caleb Holt, a firefighter who decides to give his failing marriage one more chance.

Land Joins Protest of Ahmadinejad Dinner

Southern Baptist ethicist Richard Land was among those who rallied to protest Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's dinner meeting with members of the World Council of Churches, the Baptist Press reports. Land and others said it amounted to legitimizing a dictator who supports terrorism and denies the Holocaust. "You can put lipstick on a pig, but it's still a pig. And you can call a murderous dictator 'His Excellency,' but he is still a murderous dictator," Land, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, said at the rally. According to Religion News Service, Ahmadinejad dined with 300 religious and political leaders Thursday night (Sept. 26), but the event that drew condemnation and protest offered far less dialogue than advertised. Ahmadinejad was allowed to speak for 45-minutes, and allowed little room for conversation.

Flooding Hits Orissa; National Gov't May Take Control

ASSIST News Service reports that India's federal government has threatened to act on constitutional provisions to take over local government in Orissa and Karnataka in order to protect freedom of religion. The warning sets up a potential showdown between the federal and state governments over control of the two states, which are both led by Hindu nationalist parties. Radical Hindu leaders have made veiled threats against the central government should it make such a move. The move by India’s federal government came last week just as another disaster began unfolding in the state. Monsoon rains triggered flooding, which killed at least 17 people and affected more than 2.4 million others. The floods, the worst in the state in more than 50 years, swept across roads and made travel between the state capital of Bhubaneswar and surrounding districts impossible.

Kenya: Islamists Attack Church in Northern Town

Compass Direct News reports that a longstanding effort to replace a church with a mosque in Kenya’s northern town of Garissa culminated in an attack by 50 Muslim youths this month that left the worship building in ruins. The gang stormed the building of Redeemed Gospel Church on Sept. 14 and pelted the congregation with stones, sending many Christians fleeing while others became embroiled in fistfights. Church leaders said the Muslim mob also destroyed pews, damaged the church building’s walls of corrugated iron, smashed the glass-mounted pulpit and burned the church banner with its stand. Government security intelligence had reported that Muslims planned to destroy the church if it continued to operate within the residential area. A missionary said that Muslims have distributed leaflets threatening to destroy all churches in Garissa. “It is quite unfair that the Redeemed Gospel Church has been displaced and is now praying under a tree in an open space with no amenities,” he said.