Religion News Summaries - Sept. 8, 2009

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion News Summaries - Sept. 8, 2009

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

  • Michigan Church Uses Satan to Launch New Outreach Campaign
  • Displaced War Victims in Sri Lanka Still Suffering
  • German Priest Allowed to Continue Condoms Work in Africa
  • Focus on the Family Pushes to Increase California Adoptions

Michigan Church Uses Satan to Launch New Outreach Campaign

Christian Today reports that one church is employing a bit of reverse psychology to make the community take notice. Metro South Church in Trenton, Mich., has put up billboards and signs signed by "Satan," who laments the church's commitment to the Gospel. " Makes Me Sick" says one sign. " Sucks," says another. "I've been trying so hard to work with you ... but you will not get rid of this Jesus thing," a man dressed a Satan says on the website. "I hate your church." The church's youth pastor says the marketing idea is meant to grab attention. "There's so much noise out there that if you don't do something that's a little bit more on the edge, people just ignore it," Adam Dorband said. The non-denominational church leaders say they hope the Trenton community will appreciate their congregation as a "different kind of church."

Displaced War Victims in Sri Lanka Still Suffering

Mission News Network reports that thousands of refugees remain trapped and displaced since Sri Lanka's civil war ended in May. According to one worker with Partners International, 280,000 people are living in camps in northern Sri Lanka. "[P]eople are detained. They don't have freedom of movement; they can't go out. And they are like prisoners." Thousands of these refugees are children or orphans wandering in the camps. Sri Lanka continues to holds thousands of ethnics Tamils in military-run camps as the government remains wary of the group, who found sometimes-friends with the rebel Tamil Tiger fighters. The rebels ultimately used thousands of civilians as human shields and deterrents. Partners International says the ministry is serving food to 10,500 people, and trying to support indigenous pastors already within the camps.

German Priest Allowed to Continue Condoms Work in Africa

Religion News Service reports that a German priest who distributes condoms to help stem the spread of HIV/AIDS can continue working at his South African clinic on one condition. He must give up the pulpit at a local Catholic church under a new deal with his bishop. The Rev. Stefan Hippler, who has worked in Africa for 12 years, served a German-speaking congregation in Cape Town, and also initiated an AIDS charity project called "Hope," which caters for HIV-positive children and parents. Hippler has urged a reconsideration of the Catholic Church's ban on condoms, saying the church's theology on AIDS is more than 40 years out-of-date. Last May, the German Catholic Bishops' Conference announced it would not renew his contract and recalled Hippler to the Diocese of Trier. Under a new agreement, however, Hippler's work will be financed by his diocese, not the bishops' conference.

Focus on the Family Pushes to Increase California Adoptions

Focus on the Family will pair with adoption agencies throughout California on September 19 to help match families with waiting children. Wait No More, a conference designed to encourage families to start the process of adoption, will focus on the thousands of waiting children in the state of California. The Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services and the Orange County Social Services will co-host the program. "Our message is simple," said Kelly Rosati, senior director of the Sanctity of Human Life division at Focus on the Family. "California's waiting kids deserve permanent homes. If even a portion of California's more than 10,000 churches got involved, this problem could be solved."