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Religion Today Summaries - Aug. 15, 2008

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Aug. 15, 2008

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

  • Baptist World Aid Support Relief Programs in Georgia Conflict
  • Osteen Wife Cleared of Charges againt Flight Attendant
  • Nepal: Terrorists Target Indian Priests
  • Episcopal Priests Propose Aligning with Catholic Church

Baptist World Aid Support Relief Programs in Georgia Conflict

ASSIST News Service reports that the conflict between Georgia and Russia continues without a cease-fire, Baptist leaders are working toward aid and support. Malkhaz Songulashvili, the Presiding Bishop of the Evangelical Baptist Church of Georgia, in an email report to Ethics Daily, said “We pray that the conflict is peacefully resolved and opposing sides reconciled, mutual forgiveness and acceptance exercised. We mourn the death[s]... from both sides.” Paul Montacute, director of Baptist World Aid (BWAid) said: “We condemn this wanton taking of human life, and mourn the death and suffering of all the peoples of this region." Baptist World Aid (BWAid), the relief and development arm of the Baptist World Alliance, is responding to cries for help from those caught up in the recent conflict between Russia and Georgia. An initial grant of $10,000 has been made available to Georgian Baptists so that they can help those in need. Donations to assist Georgian Baptists in their relief programs can be made to Baptist World Aid (www.bwanet.org/bwaid).

Osteen Wife Cleared of Charges againt Flight Attendant

A civil jury unamimously cleared Victoria Osteen, wife of Houston megachurch pastor Joel Osteen, of charges that she physically and verbally abused a flight attendant in 2005, Fox News reports. Sharon Brown sought $405,000 in for mental and physical pain after Osteen allegedly became angry and threw her against a bathroom door and elbowed her in the left breast after a spill on her first class seat was not cleaned up quickly enough. Osteen denied any physical contact and her attorney maintained that the incident was completely made up. Osteen thanked and praised God after the verdict. "I'm glad it's over," Victoria Osteen said afterward. "I expected it because it's the truth and I know the truth always stands firm."

Nepal: Terrorists Target Indian Priests

Compass Direct News reports that Father John Prakash Moyalan, the 62-year-old Catholic priest killed on July 1 by an underground militant Hindu organization in Nepal, might have been alive today – had he not been an Indian, according to the Himalayan republic’s Christian community. With the law-and-order situation in the new republic plummeting since elections in April and relations with southern neighbor India becoming increasingly acrimonious, Christian leaders here said Indian Catholics in Nepal are facing a greater threat from Hindu extremists. The extremists blame New Delhi for the May 28 ouster of Nepal’s Hindu king Gyanendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev and the transformation of the world’s only Hindu kingdom into a secular state. Father John Vianney, head of the Pastoral Animation Centre (PAC) in Lalitpur, said PAC received five to six calls after the gunning down of Fr. Moyalan in Sirsiya town in south Nepal, the most volatile region in the country since the abolition of the monarchy. “Fr. Prakash’s attackers took away his cellular phone,” Fr. Vianney told Compass. “Then they began calling the numbers stored in it, demanding money.”

Episcopal Priests Propose Aligning with Catholic Church

Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that four Episcopal priests in Fort Worth have had enough with the Episcopal church in the United States - and say the majority of clergy in their diocese are ready to realign with the Catholic church, citing similar positions on opposing same-sex marriage and ordination of women and homosexuals. The four priests spoke privately with Bishop Kevil Vann of the Forth Worth Catholic Diocese in June, meeting with the permission and support of Forth Worth Episcopal Diocese Bishop Jack Iker. Iker, however, maintains they do not speak on behalf of him or the entire diocese and "[t]here is no proposal under consideration, either publicly or privately, for the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth to become part of the Roman Catholic Church," he said in the statement.