Religion Today Summaries - Aug. 13, 2009

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Aug. 13, 2009

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

  • Christian Teen Flees Home, Fearing Honor Killing by Muslim Father
  • Zimbabwe: Crops Do Well, But Need for Aid Remains
  • Larger Churches More Likely to Be Conservative
  • World Evangelical Alliance Creates Human Trafficking Taskforce


Christian Teen Flees Home, Fearing Honor Killing by Muslim Father

ABC News reports that a Muslim teenager from Ohio fled home for Florida after her parents discovered she had converted to Christianity. Fathima Rifqa Bary, 17, says her father threatened her with an "honor killing" for abandoning her Muslim faith. A Florida judge placed Rifqa in foster care while child services investigate her claim. Her father, who went to Florida hoping to bring her back, claims he is not a menace to his daughter. The teen claims her mother said Rifqa was "dead" to her, and that her father threatened her when he found out about her secret faith. "They have to kill me because I'm a Christian," Rifqa, a native of Sri Lanka, said of her parents. "It's an honor [killing]. If they love me more than God, then they have to kill me," she explained. Rifqa left for Florida after contacting a church pastor and his wife through Facebook.

Zimbabwe: Crops Do Well, But Need for Aid Remains

Mission News Network reports that Zimbabwe's crops are growing again, but years of hardship still make food aid a necessity. About three-quarters of the 2 million tons of cereal needed is available domestically, as prices are still high and funds scarce on fertilizers, seeds and other farming requirements. Zimbabweans are hopeful that prices will smooth out, said Peter VanderMeulen, social justice director for the Christian Reformed Church, but church leaders say selective aid channels should remain open. Food donations are down and only half of the necessary assistance funds have come through. An estimated 22 million children in the country are severely malnourished, as clean water programs, children's education and other food assistance has lagged behind demand.

Larger Churches More Likely to Be Conservative

Baptist Press reports that a new Barna survey shows that attendees of larger Protestant congregations are more likely than those in smaller ones to have orthodox beliefs. According to the study of 3,000 adults, people who attend larger churches are the most likely to have biblical, orthodox beliefs on a number of issues: the sinlessness of Jesus, a belief in the importance of evangelism and the accuracy of Scripture, among others. The reason may lie in the relative size of different denominations. The data includes attendees of all Protestant denominations -- liberal and conservative ones -- and other surveys have shown that the larger the church, the more likely it is to be a conservative one. Only 21 percent of megachurches of more than 1,000 people are affiliated with mainline liberal Protestant denominations.

World Evangelical Alliance Creates Human Trafficking Taskforce

Christian Today reports that the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) has created a taskforce to raise the issue of human trafficking among its vast network. “The taskforce by conviction has the potential to develop skills of awareness for the WEA constituency of national alliances that represent 420 million. Looking at the atrocity of human trafficking may invoke lament where ‘tears flow like a river day and night’. (Lamentations 2:18a) Perhaps the taskforce is to release tears in God’s church as the door to which we produce strategic interventions of determination,” said spokesperson Commissioner Christine MacMillan, who also serves on the International Social Justice Commission of The Salvation Army. The taskforce will also run community-based projects in highly trafficked parts of the world and raise the issue of intervention with at-risk people.