Religion Today Summaries - Aug. 21, 2009

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Aug. 21, 2009

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

  • Iraqi Bishops Worried after Blasts in Baghdad
  • Lutherans Narrowly Adopt New Sexuality Statement
  • Fiji Methodists Continue Standoff with Government
  • India: Young Believer Beaten by Angry Villagers

Iraqi Bishops Worried after Blasts in Baghdad

Catholic News Services reports that two Catholic bishops in Baghdad worry that more deadly attacks are forthcoming. Targeted blasts around the city killed 95 people and wounded more than 500 on Aug. 19. "With these acts of violence, we are losing everything," Chaldean Auxiliary Bishop Shlemon Warduni said. "When there's no peace, we can't study, we can't pray, we can't work; we can't even walk." Warduni appealed to the international community and his fellow Iraqis for unselfish behavior. "The peace depends on love; to love one another and to do the best for each other, not out of selfishness," he said. "Please, we ask the world to pray for Iraq." Our Lady of Fatima Church was badly damaged in the attacks, but Christians do not believe the church was specifically targeted.

Lutherans Narrowly Adopt New Sexuality Statement

The Christian Post reports that nation's largest Lutheran denomination narrowly passed a new social statement on human sexuality Wednesday. Voting members at the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) convention adopted "Human Sexuality: Gift and Trust" with exactly two-thirds of the vote. The statement addresses various issues related to the "trust and bound conscience" of sexuality, including a controversial statement on homosexuality. The statement supports "lifelong monogamous same-gender relationships" despite attempts to amend that section. "I doubt very much that I've ever been present at an election with that many votes cast coming out exactly two-thirds," said Rev. Peter Strommen, who served as chair of the Task Force for ELCA Studies on Sexuality. "We're naturally very glad that it passed."

Fiji Methodists Continue Standoff with Government

Religion News Service reports that nine Methodist leaders in Fiji who appeared in court on charges of breaching public emergency regulations have been released on bail. They will face another hearing Sept. 24. The nine leaders, including the church's president and general secretary, pleaded not guilty to the charges. "For the last three weeks the leaders have been forbidden to speak, preach or take part in meetings, making life almost impossible for a church whose spiritual life-blood is based on gathering together," the British Methodist Church said in an Aug. 13 statement. The Methodist Church in Fiji has been negotiating with authorities after the government canceled the church's massive annual conference and hymn-singing conference to assure political stability. Almost one-third of Fiji's people belong to the Methodist church.

India: Young Believer Beaten by Angry Villagers

ASSIST News Service reports that Haran Jin, a Christian man in Jharkhand, India, was badly beaten last week while serving on an outreach team. Haran, along with his pastor, Gospel for Asia-supported missionary Tej Kishen Roy, and several other believers from their church were handing out Gospel tracts in a village when the attack occurred. When the villagers realized what the Christians were doing, several of them went after the outreach team and beat them. Several of the believers sustained injuries, but Haran's were the worst. Haran also suffers the anger of his family, who still follows the village's traditional religion and is upset with Haran for choosing to follow Christ.