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Religion Today Summaries - Aug. 29, 2008

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Aug. 29, 2008

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

  • Orissa: Christians in Hiding as Violence Continues
  • Laos: Christians Ordered to Renounce Faith
  • 'Fireproof' Supporters Mobilize Moviegoers for Opening
  • Southern Baptists Lead Get-Out-the-Vote Prayer

Orissa: Christians in Hiding as Violence Continues

Mission News Network reports that the violence in India's Orissa state continues, and Christian groups are contributing to attacks on rival Hindu groups. Officials have issued orders to shoot on site anyone who breaks the imposed curfew. According to one anonymous ministry leader, the situation has quelled most Christian outreach and ministry. "Where we had programs, the Christians are no longer living there. In cases where they haven't fled, there is enough fear created where it will be a while before they have the courage to gather together--whether it be in a church service, or children's program, or in the evening with our literacy classes." Mission India works through indigenous Christians, but many of them have fled to the forests and few are still attending literacy programs.

Laos: Christians Ordered to Renounce Faith

Compass Direct News reports that the chief of Boukham village in Savannakhet province, Laos today ordered the families of three detained Christians in Savannakhet province to sign documents renouncing their faith. Human Rights Watch for Lao Religious Freedom reported that the family members refused. A crackdown in other parts of Laos continued, with new incidents reported this week in Attapue and Borikhamxay provinces. On Aug. 25, the chief of Donphai village in Attapue province summoned Christians and fined them for holding a church service during local animistic ceremonies. In Borikhamxay province, officials continued to pressure 22 Christian families comprising 150 people in Toongpankham village who have refused to give up their faith. Village officials had torn down their church building in January, then in mid-August harassed church members for not meeting in a proper worship facility.

'Fireproof' Supporters Mobilize Moviegoers for Opening

The Christian Post reports that Christians across are the country are ready to greet the next Christian blockbuster from the makers of "Facing the Giants." Sherwood Pictures, the moviemaking ministry of Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Ga., is working to mobilize viewers and supporters for a strong opening weekend, hoping that will extend the movie's reach even further. Directed and produced by brothers and associate pastors Alex and Stephen Kendrick, “Fireproof” stars actor Kirk Cameron playing a fireman with a desperate marriage on the verge divorce. According to the Christian Post, the movie has earned the support of more than 50 marriage ministries for its pro-marriage message. The film opens the weekend of Sept. 26-28. 

Southern Baptists Lead Get-Out-the-Vote Prayer

Southern Baptists are coupling their values-voter registration drive with a nationwide prayer campaign, the 40/40 Prayer Vigil. According to the Associated Press, the campaign seeks "spiritual renewal for families and churches, and God's favor for public officials who are guided by the Bible." According to Rev. Richard Land, head of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, more than 1,300 churches have registered for the prayer campaign, set to run from Sept. 24 to Nov. 2. "Our vision statement is an American society that affirms and practices Judeo-Christian values rooted in biblical authority," Land said. "America will be better off if people who are voting are seeking God's guidance."