Religion Today Summaries - Aug. 6, 2008

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Aug. 6, 2008

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

  • Top Hamas Leader's Son Converts to Christianity
  • BYU, Notre Dame, Wheaton 'Most Religious' U.S. Colleges, Survey Says
  • IBS-STL Challenges Churches to End Modern Day Slavery
  • Unitarians Rededicate Church Where Gunman Killed Two

Top Hamas Leader's Son Converts to Christianity

According to The Christian Post, the son of a top Hamas leader has converted to Christianity, an Israeli newspaper reported. Masab Yousef, son of West Bank Hamas leader Sheik Hassan Yousef, revealed in an exclusive interview with Haaretz newspaper that he has left Islam and is now a Christian. Yousef's family previously did not know of his faith. "[T]his interview will open many people's eyes, it will shake Islam from the roots, and I'm not exaggerating," Yousef, 30, said. Yousef is now living in the United States. "I was about to become one of those homeless people [in the U.S.]," he confessed, "but people from the church are helping me. I'm dependent on them." He also dreams that someday he can return to his homeland and prays his family will someday accept Jesus Christ as their savior.

BYU, Notre Dame, Wheaton 'Most Religious' U.S. Colleges, Survey Says

The Princeton Review's annual college rankings list, which is entirely based upon student responses, listed, among other things, the country's 20 "Most Religious" colleges. The survey is designed to help prospective students answer the question: "How do you know that you'll be comfortable — and that others will be comfortable with you — at your chosen college? We dish the dirt about demographic backgrounds, lifestyle attitudes, and religion on campus." 120,000 students at 368 colleges and universities were asked to what degree they agreed with the statement, "Students are very religious at my college." The top 10 were revealed to be: Brigham Young University (UT), University of Notre Dame (IN), Wheaton College (IL), Grove City College (PA), Hillsdale College (MI), University of Dallas (TX), Thomas Aquinas College (CA), College of the Ozarks (AR), Furman University (SC), and Samford University (AL). Other major colleges making the list include Baylor, Texas A&M, Auburn, and the University of Utah. The United States Air Force Academy's inclusion may prove surprising to some. Interestingly, Brandeis University in Waltham, MA came in as the No. 18 most religious college, while also making the "most liberal students" list. Ranking as the "Least Religious" institutions of higher education were Lewis & Clark College (OR); Eugene Lang College (NY); Reed College, known to some in evangelical circles as the Portland, Oregon school Donald Miller writes extensively about in his book Blue Like Jazz; Bennington College (VT); and Bard College (NY).

IBS-STL Challenges Churches to End Modern Day Slavery

According to a report by Mission Network News, an estimated 800,000 people are trafficked across borders each year. To combat this modern day slave trade, IBS-STL Global is partnering with Bristol Bay Production and World Changers, LLC. The organizations share a common goal of changing the world by ending human trafficking, so they have created a resource kit to help churches engage in the battle. The kit includes: Amazing Grace DVD, World-Changers Live to Serve book by Bob Beltz and Walt Kallestad, Five-week, small-group discussion guide, and Once Blind: The Life of John Newton book by Kay Marshall Strom. Many countries rationalize human trafficking as an economic necessity. China, India, Brazil, Mexico and Russia are among the countries on the U.S. list of worst offenders, though the United States itself has its share of offenders.

Unitarians Rededicate Church Where Gunman Killed Two

Religion News Service reports that Unitarian Univeralists in Knoxville, Tenn., reopened their doors on Sunday (Aug. 3), just one week after a gunman opened fire during a production of a church musical and left two people dead. "This sanctuary, which has been defiled by violence, we rededicate to peace. This holy place, which has been desecrated by an act of hatred, we reconsecrate for love," the Rev. Chris Buice told an overflow crowd at Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church. Joined by two former ministers, Buice praised the congregation's commitment to progressive social justice in the face of violence. "(The gunman) came into this space with a desire to do an act of hatred. But he has unleashed unspeakable acts of love," Buice said. According to Knoxville police, Jim D. Adkisson, 58, opened fire during a July 27 performance of the musical, "Annie," killing two and wounding seven. In a letter found in Adkisson's car, the shooter blamed the church's liberal teachings for his current unemployment.