Religion Today Summaries - Apr. 2, 2008

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Apr. 2, 2008

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

  • Evangelicals Less Likely to Divorce, Barna Survey Says
  • Perkins: Evangelicals Facing New Issues
  • Ethiopia Releases Suspected Instigator of Church Attacks
  • Copeland, Dollar Fail to Meet Deadline

Evangelicals Less Likely to Divorce, Barna Survey Says

Evangelicals are less likely than the overall population to divorce, although one out of every four evangelicals who are or have been married nevertheless have gone through at least one divorce, according to a new study by The Barna Group. Baptist Press reports that Barna's telephone survey found that, among all U.S. adults who have been married, 33 percent have been divorced at least once. By comparison, 26 percent of evangelicals who have been married have been divorced. The poll did not ask evangelicals whether the divorce occurred before or after their salvation experience. George Barna commmented, "There no longer seems to be much of a stigma attached to divorce; it is now seen as an unavoidable rite of passage. Interviews with young adults suggest that they want their initial marriage to last, but are not particularly optimistic about that possibility."

Perkins: Evangelicals Facing New Issues

Baptist Press reports that conservative evangelical Christians continue to influence government policies, but they also are facing the challenge of responding to additional issues, pro-family leaders said in a National Press Club panel discussion. Speaking on whether religious conservatives have lost their clout, Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, said they have not. "Religious right and evangelical, social conservatives are having a pronounced impact on the shaping of the policy in this country," he said. "I think evangelical, Bible-believing Christians who are concerned about their community and their country have always had a broad perspective of the issues. It's just that the issues are changing, and [evangelicals] are working through trying to come up with responses to those issues," Perkins said. Those issues include the "value of life, immigration, poverty and justice, racial reconciliation, religious liberties, rebuilding the family, the environment and global warming," said Harry Jackson, chairman of the High Impact Leadership Coalition and senior pastor of Hope Christian Church.

Ethiopia Releases Suspected Instigator of Church Attacks

Compass Direct News reports that Ethiopian judicial authorities have released a prominent local official accused of instigating deadly church assaults that left one Christian dead and 17 wounded last month. Local Christians confirmed that Hussein Beriso, house speaker of the Nensebo District Council, has been released on bail by a court in southern Ethiopia’s Oromo region. But 20 other Muslim suspects arrested over the machete attacks against two churches in Nensebo Chebi village on March 2 remain jailed, a local source said. Four of the culprits under arrest have reportedly confessed that they helped to kill Tula Mosisa, 45, and wound 17 others in the planned raids against the Kale Hiwot and Birhane Wongel Baptist churches in Nensebo Chebi. Local Christians insist that Beriso was personally involved in “buying and distributing machetes” for Muslims involved in the simultaneous attacks, which occurred during Sunday morning worship services in the two village churches.

Copeland, Dollar Fail to Meet Deadline

Two television ministries still are refusing to comply fully with a U.S. Senate committee's probe into their financial records, Baptist Press reports. Televangelists Kenneth Copeland and Creflo Dollar failed to provide the requested information by the March 31 deadline, according to a written release from Sen. Charles Grassley, R.-Iowa, the minority leader on the Finance Committee. Sen. Max Baucus, D.-Mont., the committee's chairman, and Grassley had asked Copeland and Dollar, plus fellow televangelist Eddie Long, to submit the documentation they are seeking by the end of March. Long and three other televangelists have either complied, have begun doing so or have committed to fulfill the request, the written release from Grassley said. According to the release, Long will provide information April 15; Randy and Paula White have shipped their initial set of answers; Benny Hinn submitted a second collection of documents March 28; Joyce Meyer has fulfilled the request.