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Religion Today Summaries - Aug. 18, 2009

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Aug. 18, 2009

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

  • Pakistani Christians Forced into Refugee Camps
  • Lutheran Gay Policies Face Close Vote
  • German Church Finds Shelter for Out-of-Town Fathers
  • 'Rock the River' Draws Thousands of Teens

Pakistani Christians Forced into Refugee Camps

The Christian Post reports that Pakistani Christians in Islamabad don't believe the apologies they've heard after a Muslim mob killed eight Christians. There, about 2,000 Christians have been “forced to live in a refugee camp" after being evicted from their land. They allege that their faith alone made them targets. “We are constitutionally bound to protect the life and property of the minorities and to look after the interests of the minorities in this country," said Shahbaz Bhatti, the minister of minority affairs and a Pakistani Christian. Area Christians, however, say the government has done nothing for the religious minority. “Twenty million Christians are living like slaves in Islamic Republic of Pakistan: Where is freedom for Christians?" a public statement from Pakistan Christian Post, led by editor Dr. Nazir S. Bhatti, read.

Lutheran Gay Policies Face Close Vote

The Washington Times reports that the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America could swing either way on votes relating to homosexuality and openly gay clergy. "We recognize we're in for some long conversation this week," said Virginia Synod Bishop James F. Mauney, who oversees 42,000 members in 163 churches across the state. "I am hopeful that our worship will guide our conversation and we will be guided by the Holy Spirit." The votes will decide whether the pulpit is open to openly gay clergy as well as celibate gay clergy. The church convention will also vote on two proposed documents, the social statement "Human Sexuality: Gift and Trust" and a report on the role of committed same-sex couples in the Lutheran church.

German Church Finds Shelter for Out-of-Town Fathers

Religion News Service reports that one church in Munich, Germany, has jumped online to help children of divorce keep in touch with their parents. The project, "My Daddy's Coming!" is a new take on "couch-surfing," where out-of-town visitors connect online with locals who are willing to host a stranger on a couch or in a guest room for a short time. The Web site helps fathers who have children in Munich register their intention to come see their families. Local hosts who participate can help the dads save on hotel costs and, hopefully, make the visits more frequent. "Children don't get divorced," reads the Web site (www.alleinerziehen-evangelisch.de, which translated means "raising kids alone -- Lutheran"). The Web site does not differentiate by creed. However, it does require fathers to provide proof of residence and identity before they can enroll in the system.

'Rock the River' Draws Thousands of Teens

Baptist Press reports that more than 65,000 people gathered at the Gateway Arch in St. Louis for the second stop on the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association's "Rock the River" tour. "There were more than 65,000 in attendance, around 800 spiritual decisions made, 538 salvations, 300 decibels of sound, I was wearing 100 SPF sunscreen, I went through four quarts of water, and it all made for one remarkable day," Bruce McCoy, president of the Missouri Baptist Convention and pastor of Canaan Baptist Church in St. Louis, said. The event featured music from various Christian music artists popular among teens and early-twenty-somethings, all building towards the day's Gospel presentations by Franklin Graham. Though people of all ages attended Rock the River at the Arch, the vast majority fell between the ages of 15 and 25.