Religion Today Summaries - April 23, 2010

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - April 23, 2010

Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.

In today's edition:

  • New Evidence Stalls Murder Trial in Malatya, Turkey
  • Federal Court Says Church Bells Are Constitutional
  • Casting Crowns Wins Artist of Year at Dove Awards
  • Church Takes to the Streets, Internet for Internet Evangelism Day

New Evidence Stalls Murder Trial in Malatya, Turkey

Compass Direct News reports that defense lawyers' absence and new evidence kept a court in Malatya, Turkey, from concluding the case of the murders of three Christians. Turkish Christians Necati Aydin and Ugur Yuksel and German Christian Tilmann Geske, who worked at a publishing house that distributed Christian material in this southeastern Turkish city, were found murdered three years ago. In churches and at various memorial services on Sunday (April 18), Christians around Turkey commemorated the deaths of the three slain men. The Malatya murders have become a milestone for the Turkish church, which is also eager for closure on the murder case and justice for those responsible. "For the church, it's another one of those events in life which we don't understand but entrust it to the hands of a loving God who we believe in," said Zekai Tanyar, chairman of the Association of Protestant Churches in Turkey.

Federal Court Says Church Bells Are Constitutional

Religion News Service reports that a federal court has ruled a Phoenix city ordinance trying to limit the sound of church bells is an unconstitutional impingement on religious expression. In 2007, one day after Christ the King Cathedral moved to a space near a fire station, neighbors complained the church's electronic bells -- rung every hour, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. -- violated the city's noise ordinance. Although the church attempted to appease neighbors by erecting a buffer on its speakers and passing out informational flyers, the city filed a misdemeanor complaint last year. The church's pastor, Bishop Rick Painter, was found guilty in city court and sentenced to 10 days in jail and three years probation, though he never served time in jail. On Monday, the federal court ruled in favor of the church bells, saying the city cannot prohibit "sound generated in the course of religious expression."

Casting Crowns Wins Artist of Year at Dove Awards

The Associated Press reports that Christian music group Casting Crowns took home the Dove Awards biggest prize on Wednesday, claiming their first Artist of the Year award. "To me it's extra special because the fans were voting," Casting Crowns leader Mark Hall said. "It really wasn't anywhere on our radar." This was the first year fans were able to vote for the award. The group has won "Group of the Year" for the past five years as well. Dove Awards also went to Sidewalk Prophets for New Artist of the Year, Brandon Heath for Male Vocalist of the Year for the second time, and newcomer Francesca Battistelli for Female Vocalist. Producer and songwriter Jason Ingram was the night's big winner with four awards.

Church Takes to the Streets, Internet for Internet Evangelism Day

Christian Newswire reports that churches worldwide will participate in Internet Evangelism Day on Sunday, but one church is going further than most. City Church, now in beta, officially launches on October 10 in 100 cities across South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia -- and on the Internet at "There are some outstanding ministries out there doing multi-site ministry and internet campus ministry very well," said the Rev. Jamie Osborne, senior pastor of City Church. "But I am not sure any single church has ever tried to launch in 100 cities at once." Osborne says the venture is an effort to connect the culture to the church. "The last 15 years have changed our world for ever," said Tony Whittaker, coordinator of Internet Evangelism Day. "Digital media are transforming the way we communicate, behave and even think. If Facebook was a country, it would have the fourth largest population in the world."