Religion Today Summaries - Aug. 19, 2008

Religion Today Summaries - Aug. 19, 2008

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

  • Church-Hosted Forum Gets Personal, Practical
  • Relief Orgs Make Their Way to Georgian Refugees
  • Nigeria: Islamist Group Attacking Christians in Kwara State
  • Evangelicals Warn McCain on Running Mate Choice

Church-Hosted Forum Gets Personal, Practical

Megachurch pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church helped Americans compare "apples-to-apples" in a Civil Forum with presidential hopefuls Barack Obama and John McCain on Saturday, the Christian Post reported. Warren asked the two candidates the same set of questions on stewardship, leadership, worldview and America's role in the world. “Now, we believe in the separation of church and state,” Warren said in his introduction before heading into the first round of questions with Obama, “but we do not believe in the separation of faith and politics because faith is just a world view and everybody has some kind of world view.” Questions were contributed by pastors, church leaders and issue experts, and included the topics of abortion and same-sex marriage.

Relief Orgs Make Their Way to Georgian Refugees

Mission News Network reports that at least 100,000 people have fled the South Ossetia conflict north into Russia and south into Georgia proper. Relief organization World Vision is in both refugee destinations, providing medical relief, shelter and food to those who have fled. World Vision's Rachel Wolfe also noted that many families have been separated, creating a huge child-care need. In a press release, Medical Teams International also announced preparations to airship more than $100,000 in medical supplies to families in the conflict, partnering with Project Hope and the U.S. State Department. Southern Baptists are also organizing an assessment team to evaluate the situation after fighting stop, Baptist Press reports. "The humanitarian needs here are growing exponentially, faster than the combined agencies can keep up," warned David Womble, national director of World Vision in Georgia told MNN. "We continue to look at the tip of the iceberg."

Nigeria: Islamist Group Attacking Christians in Kwara State

Blaming the death of their leader on Christian prayers, an Islamist group that launched a hate campaign in response to an evangelistic event in 2004 is reportedly attacking Christians in this Kwara state capital with renewed virulence, area Christians told Compass Direct News. At least three Christians have died and several others have been injured in attacks with machetes and other weapons since June, clergymen said. They said the attacks began after the May death from car crash injuries of Dr. Ali Olukade, head of a local group of Islamists called Tibliq, possibly patterned after the worldwide Tablighi Jamaat missionary movement. The Kwara chapter of CAN has received 10 reports of Christians attacked by the Muslim extremists in the past two months, Rev. Cornelius Fawenu, secretary of the Kwara chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) said, adding that he believes unreported assaults on Christians average about four daily.

Evangelicals Warn McCain on Running Mate Choice

Conservative evangelical leaders warned Friday that Sen. John McCain risks losing the election if he chooses a running mate who supports abortion rights, according to Religion News Service. A panel of prominent anti-abortion advocates, including former presidential candidate Gov. Mike Huckabee, urged voters to make an abortion and other "life issues" a priority this November. "I believe that if Sen. McCain chooses a pro-abortion (running mate), he will give the election to Sen. Obama," said Bishop Harry Jackson, chairman of the Maryland-based High Impact Leadership Coalition. "It would be tantamount to political suicide." Earlier this week, McCain told The Weekly Standard that he would consider selecting a running mate, such as former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge or Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., who supports abortion rights.