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Religion Today Summaries - Aug. 7, 2007

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Aug. 7, 2007

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

  • Taliban Renews Threats to Kill Hostages; Warns of More Kidnappings
  • 'Religious Fundamentalism Affecting Kerala,' India
  • State in India Hurdles Over Block of ‘Anti-Conversion’ Bill
  • Jamaica's Anglican Church to Modernize Hymnals with Reggae Songs

Taliban Renews Threats to Kill Hostages; Warns of More Kidnappings

According to The Christian Post, "the Taliban issued fresh threats to kill the remaining Korean Christian hostages and warned that the insurgents intend to continue to kidnap foreigners in Afghanistan. The threats came as President Bush and Afghan President Hamid Karzai meet at the presidential retreat Camp David to discuss Afghanistan’s deteriorating security problems and other issues including the 21 Korean hostages still held by the Taliban. 'In the past two days there has not been any contact between us and the Koreans or the Kabul administration,' said purported Taliban spokesman Yousuf Ahmadi Sunday. 'So the killing of the hostages is inevitable and since we’ve not set a deadline for them, they could be killed at any moment, any time,' he added.

'Religious Fundamentalism Affecting Kerala,' India

An Indian Member of Parliament says that “religious fundamentalism” is affecting the “spirit of social harmony” in the state of Kerala, ASSIST News Service reports. Jairam Ramesh represents Andhra Pradesh in the upper house of the Indian Parliament. “It is unfortunate to see Kerala losing its tradition of social harmony,” he said. “Now, there is Hindu, Christian and Muslim fundamentalism in Kerala, which ultimately destroys the social harmony and it is not at all proper to cover up this sad truth.” The minister added that secularism had given freedom to everybody to practice the religion of his or her choice.

State in India Hurdles Over Block of ‘Anti-Conversion’ Bill

The state government of Gujarat has decided to implement the dormant “anti-conversion” law, passed by the state assembly in 2003, after the governor’s refusal to approve the anti-conversion amendment bill of 2006. The state government ruled by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on August 1 officially declared that it would reactivate the 2003 anti-conversion law that could not be implemented at the time due to legal complications, reported The Indian Express. The BJP’s declaration came a day after Gov. Nawal Kishore Sharma returned the Gujarat Freedom of Religion (Amendment) Bill, 2006, saying the proposed measure “violated the right to religious freedom.” Dr. John Dayal, member of Indian government’s National Integration Council and secretary general of the All India Christian Council, told Compass Direct News the various anti-conversion bills and laws encourage “bigotry and hate campaigns.”

Jamaica's Anglican Church to Modernize Hymnals with Reggae Songs

An Associated Press story tells how Anglican church hymnals in Jamaica will soon include songs by late reggae legends (and devout Rastafarians) Bob Marley and Peter Tosh. Marley's "One Love" and Tosh's "Psalm 27" will be the first reggae tunes to appear in songbooks alongside traditional worship music on the island, said church leaders preparing a new collection of hymns. Church spokesman Rev. Ernle Gordon said on Friday that members of the Anglican Church of Jamaica were enthusiastic about including the reggae musicians' music in the hymnals, despite their sometimes vocal opposition to Christianity.