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Religion Today Summaries - Aug. 26, 2009

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Aug. 26, 2009

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

  • Lutheran Churches Blast ELCA for Gay Clergy Policy
  • Somali Christian Shot Dead near Kenya Border
  • Cuba: Hefty Fine for Pastor's Wife Who Miscarried
  • In Egypt, One Christian Must Keep Running

Lutheran Churches Blast ELCA for Gay Clergy Policy

Religion News Service reports that the leaders of two conservative Lutheran denominations blasted the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America for approving a measure on Friday (Aug. 21) to allow non-celibate gay clergy. Both the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod and the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod said the ELCA's new policy goes against Scripture by condoning a practice that they say is sinful. "We are saddened that a group with the name Lutheran would take another decisive step away from the clear teaching of the Bible, which was the foundation of the Lutheran Reformation," said the Rev. Mark Schroeder, president of the 390,000-member Wisconsin Synod. The three churches have had tense relations for years. The ELCA, which was formed as a result of a merger in 1988, has taken more progressive stands on a number of issues.

Somali Christian Shot Dead near Kenya Border

Compass Direct News reports that Muslim extremists seeking evidence that a Somali man had converted from Islam to Christianity shot him dead on Aug. 18) near the Somali border with Kenya. According to underground Christians in the war-torn nation, al Shabaab rebels killed 41-year-old Ahmed Matan in Bulahawa, Somalia. Matan had been a member of an underground church since 2001. The early morning shooting comes at a time when Islamist groups led by al Shabaab are hunting down converts to Christianity as they seek to establish sharia (Islamic law) throughout Somalia. Ismael, who fled the area in 2005, said he received a telephone call from Matan two weeks ago in which the convert told him that monitoring by the Islamic extremists kept him from leaving his home and carrying out his small-trade business across the border in Mandera, in eastern Kenya.

Cuba: Hefty Fine for Pastor's Wife Who Miscarried

ASSIST News Service reports that a Cuban pastor's wife who miscarred after a neighbour attacked her, is being fined the equivalent of over two months salary. Authorities have accused Gilianys Meneses Rodriguez of of "disturbing the public order" on that day. She is being fined 600 pesos ($648.00 USD), which is twice the average monthly salary in Cuba, for being attacked on the street by the wife of a neighbour in December 2008. According to a Christian Solidarity spokesperson, "The attack was the latest in a campaign of harassment against the Rodriguez family, carried out with the tacit support of the authorities. This is due to the families' involvement in the Interdenominational Fellowship of Evangelical Pastors and Ministers in Cuba (Spanish acronym; CIMPEC) decision to leave the Cuban Council of Churches (CCC.)"

In Egypt, One Christian Must Keep Running

Los Angeles Times reports that Christian convert Maher El Gohary sees little of his native Egypt's beauty, spending most of his time behind locked doors. Gohary and his daughter, Dina, change apartments every few months to avoid being found out for their faith. The consequences could be death. "Islam is the only thing Egyptians are 150% sure of. If you reject Islam, you shake their belief and you are an apostate, an infidel," he said. "I can see in the eyes of Muslims how much my conversion has really hurt them." Religious freedom might exist in writing, but Muslim clerics hold the real power. Converts such as Gohary "should be killed by authorities," says Abdul Aziz Zakareya, a cleric and former professor at Al Azhar University. "Public conversions can lead to very dangerous consequences. The spreading of a phenomenon like this in a Muslim society can cause many unwanted results and tensions between Muslims and non-Muslims."