Religion Today Summaries - Apr. 18, 2007

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Apr. 18, 2007

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

  • Virginia Tech: Shock, Sorrow, Prayers and Questions
  • SBC Prez Says '20/20' Segment on Sexual Predators on Churches One-Sided
  • Underground Church Worker Beheaded in Kashmir
  • Christian Boy in Nigeria Escapes from Muslim Kidnappers

Virginia Tech: Shock, Sorrow, Prayers and Questions

Groups and politicians on both sides of the Second Amendment debate have issued statements on the mass murder at Virginia Tech, but with details still sketchy, the anticipated debate on gun control has not yet erupted, reports. As of Tuesday morning, police were still trying to confirm that the same gunman was involved in the separate shooting incidents on campus. Questions still swirl about the timeline: Police responded to the first deadly shooting in the dormitory at 7:15 a.m., but it wasn't until 9:26 a.m. that the university sent an email telling students about it. The second shooting was reported at 9:30 a.m., and the school issued a second email at 9:50 warning everyone, "A gunman is loose on campus" and to take cover. A third email at 10:16 a.m. announced the cancelation of all classes; and a fourth email at 10:52 a.m. warned of "a multiple shooting with multiple victims" in Norris Hall. Republican Sen. John Warner of Virginia called the shooting an "incomprehensible act of violence," and a "senseless tragedy." Sen. James Webb of Virginia said he was "truly saddened" by the "senseless act."

SBC Prez Says '20/20' Segment on Sexual Predators on Churches One-Sided

Much is being done and more can be done to protect children from sexual predators within Southern Baptist churches, but an ABC News "20/20" segment on the issue April 13 amounted to "yellow journalism," SBC President Frank Page says in a Baptist Press report. The segment focused on child sexual predators within Protestant churches, focusing on 10-20 occurrences within Southern Baptists' 40,000 churches. In introducing the 16-minute segment, 20/20's Elizabeth Vargas said, "What surprised us ... is how little is being done to stop it." ABC's Jim Avila used the term "preacher predators." Avila interviewed Page for roughly two hours recently, but in the end used just a few seconds of the interview, and Page said, left out what the denomination is doing to address the problem. "Much is being done right now and much is being done on the local level," Page, pastor of First Baptist Church in Taylors, S.C., told Baptist Press. "They did not want to include that because it would have tainted their piece."

Underground Church Worker Beheaded in Kashmir

ASSIST News Service reports that an active member of the Salem Voice Ministries underground House Church in Kashmir was brutally murdered on Saturday, April 14, according to news sources in India. Manzoor Ahmad Chat, 33, was beheaded by Hizbul militants on Saturday before dawn. Local police recovered the head and the remains of his body from villages in Pulwama District. Manzoor and his family became believers in Jesus Christ after converting from Islam and regularly attended prayer services held by the SVM (Underground) House Church, where he was a prayer leader. On Friday he was traveling by scooter to carry out his work duties. While he was going he met two believers and reminded them about the prayer meetings, but on the way he was kidnapped by the militants, according to police reports. On Saturday, people in the village of Pinglena found Manzoor's headless body in a nearby paddy field. They also found the head kept in a polythene bag near the mosque.

Christian Boy in Nigeria Escapes from Muslim Kidnappers

A Christian boy kidnapped in November by Muslims who intended to convert him to Islam escaped last month and has returned to his family home, Compass Direct News reports. After four months in captivity, 13-year-old Victor Udo Usen fled from his Muslim captors on March 6 and ran to a shop run by his mother in the Mabera area of Sokoto, capital of the northern state of Sokoto. Esther Udo Usen, Victor’s mother, told Compass that she was in her shop when Victor came in. “He told me he escaped, and I had to contact his father immediately,” she said. “We arranged through a family friend to take him out of the city.”