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Religion Today Summaries - Aug. 13, 2007

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Aug. 13, 2007

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

  • Egypt Detains Christian Rights Advocates 
  • Taliban: No More Hostage Killing for Now
  • Legal Group to Inform Pastors, Leaders of Constitutional Rights
  • Southwestern Baptist Seminary to Offer Women-Only Program in Homemaking

Egypt Detains Christian Rights Advocates

Egyptian police detained the head of a Christian rights group Thursday after he held a high-publicity, online chat session with a controversial Muslim convert to Christianity, the group’s international leader said. The convert, Mohammed Ahmed Hegazy, has filed suit to legally change his identification card from Muslim to Christian. Hegazy’s lawyer withdrew from the case this week amid death threats and public outrage in Egypt. The Egyptian head of the Christian rights group who chatted online with the convert, Dr. Adel Fawzy Faltas, 61, was arrested from his Cairo home Thursday afternoon at 2:40 p.m., said Nader Fawzy, head of the Canada-based Middle East Christian Association. State Security Investigation officials (SSI) held Faltas and Ezzat in New Cairo’s fifth district today, but transferred them to SSI headquarters in Lazoghly tonight. “I am now the advocate for these men,” lawyer Ramses Raouf el-Nagar told Compass Direct News from New Cairo today. El-Nagar has also agreed to take on Hegazy’s case.

Taliban: No More Hostage Killing for Now

The Christian Post reports that the Taliban said Friday that it will not kill any of the remaining 21 South Korean hostages before its face-to-face meetings with the delegation from South Korea. The group of 23 hostages - two have since been killed - were abducted on July 19, and since then nearly a dozen deadlines and threats have passed. With a deadlock in negotiations over the Taliban’s proposed prisoner-rebel exchange, the militant group has been working with South Korea on setting up a face-to-face meeting to discuss other options. However, a location has not yet been set where both parties feel safe.

Legal Group to Inform Pastors, Leaders of Constitutional Rights

OneNewsNow.com reports that Christian law firm Pacific Justic Institute is helping pastors know their legal rights when it comes to impacting their community for Christ. PJI will host half-day seminars at no charge for pastors and lay church leaders. Topics covered include: overcoming obstacles to securing building permits for church facilities, access to the public square, and navigating moral issues regarding staff, volunteers and attendees. "These seminars instruct pastors on their rights on the defensive mode, in order to [learn] how to protect themselves from being sued, how to deal with employees and attendee issues, and things that are coming up today they need to be aware of," PJI president Brad Dacus said.

Southwestern Baptist Seminary to Offer Women-Only Program in Homemaking

According to an Associated Press story, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth will, this fall, introduce a new, women-only academic program in homemaking. The 23-hour concentration will count toward a B.A. in humanities. The program is aimed at helping establish what Southwestern's president Paige Patterson calls biblical family and gender roles. The 23 hours of coursework consists of: seven hours of nutrition/meal preparation, seven hours of textile design/"clothing construction," three hours of general homemaking, three hours on "the value of a child," and three hours on the "biblical model for the home and family." Women will be taught with an eye toward hospitality as well as children's spiritual, physical and emotional development. The program is not without its critics, even among Southern Baptists, some of whom say a degree concentration in how to be a Christian housewife is not useful, and a waste of resources. It's the second time this year that SWBTS has been in the news regarding its position on women. In March, former Southwestern theology professor Sheri Klouda filed a federal lawsuit against the school and Patterson, alleging she was fired from her tenure-track position because she was a woman.