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Religion Today Summaries - Aug. 22, 2006

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Aug. 22, 2006

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

  • Sunday School Teacher Dumped for Being Female
  • U.S. Churches Key in Integrating Mexicans into U.S., Says Study
  • Chinese Journalist Released from Custody, but Loses Job
  • Graham's Ministry Launches New Youth Evangelism Training Project

Sunday School Teacher Dumped for Being Female

CNN.com reports that The First Baptist Church of Watertown, NY, dismissed a Sunday School teacher with 54 years of service to the church on August 9 because the church had adopted a literal biblical interpretation that prohibits women from teaching men. Mary Lambert was notified by letter of the decision, which she says came without warning, and which she has publicly criticized. The letter quoted First Timothy, where the Apostle Paul writes, "I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent." The Rev. Timothy LaBouf issued a statement saying his stance against women teaching men in Sunday school would not affect his decisions as a city councilman in Watertown, where the city manager is a woman. "I believe that a woman can perform any job and fulfill any responsibility that she desires to" outside of the church, LaBouf wrote. The board said in a statement that other issues were behind Lambert's dismissal, but those issues were not listed.

U.S. Churches Key in Integrating Mexicans into U.S., Says Study

U.S. Catholic and Protestant churches are major channels for integrating Mexican immigrants into U.S. society and helping them participate in political life, Catholic News Service reports. A new study by the Woodrow Wilson Center's Mexico Institute also found that American churches help Mexicans reaffirm their national identity in their new world and help immigrants advance their social and political concerns in the U.S. Titled "Invisible No More: Mexican Migrant Civic Participation in the United States," the study was released Aug. 17 based on research papers presented at a conference last November. The papers discussed how churches and other U.S. organizations were helping Mexicans become part of U.S. society. The study said that more than 11 million people in the United States were born in Mexico, which is about 3 percent of the U.S. population.

Chinese Journalist Released from Custody, but Loses Job

Chinese authorities last Thursday (August 17) released Zan Aizong, a journalist who reported the Hangzhou City police using force to demolish an unregistered church building and beating of hundreds of believers on July 29. Compass Direct News reports that Zan, 37, the former China Ocean News Zhejiang Province bureau chief, was arrested on Aug. 11 for “spreading rumors and disturbing social order.” Two days before his arrest, Zan received a notice from his employer that he was “no more suitable for the job.” As a journalist, Zan said in a telephone interview on Sunday (August 20), “my responsibility is to report the truth, even though it means losing my job.” According to a friend, Zan is a "one-month long baptized Christian."

Graham's Ministry Launches New Youth Evangelism Training Project

A well-known ministry has kicked off a new campaign to help young teenagers and pre-teens deepen their faith. AgapePress reports the aim of the campaign is to help Christian youth nationwide become better equipped when it comes to sharing their faith. "Dare to Be a Daniel," or D2DB, is a ministry of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) that targets children age 9 to 14 years old, offering these young believers a number of resources to help them learn how to express their faith and win souls for God. Primary among these resources is an evangelism training kit, which is based on the biblical story of Daniel and includes a study guide and an interactive CD-ROM. Upon completion of the study guide, each child receives an ID card and opportunities to take part in more activities through a special Internet site. On the D2BD website, participants can access an online training manual with scripture memory verses and exercises, a message board where they can meet other young "Daniels" who are taking a stand for Christ in their own schools and neighborhoods, and other tools.