Religion Today Summaries - August 19, 2011

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - August 19, 2011

Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.

In today's edition:

  • Florida Teacher Suspended Due to Facebook Post on Gay Marriage
  • Motives for Church Burnings in Indonesia Questioned
  • First Biblically-Based Facebook Game Takes Players on Journey of Moses
  • Christian Music Festival May Have Sung its Last Tune


Florida Teacher Suspended Due to Facebook Post on Gay Marriage

The Christian Post reports that a Florida high school has suspended its 2010 Teacher of the Year over Facebook comments he made about gay marriage. Mount Dora High School social studies teacher Jerry Buell wrote on his personal Facebook page that same-sex union is a sin, that he "almost threw up" over the legalization of it in New York, and that gay marriages were part of a "cesspool." A former student submitted the comments to school district officials, who suspended Buell from the classroom and reassigned him to a clerical position at the district's administration building. Earlier this year the district enacted guidelines regarding social networking stating, "If you feel angry or passionate about a subject, it may not be the time to share your thoughts in a post – you should delay posting until you are calm and clearheaded. Always remember that no e-mail is ever fully deleted." An investigation into Buell's case is pending.\

Motives for Church Burnings in Indonesia Questioned

Suspected Islamists were behind the burning of three homes used as churches on Sumatra Island’s Riau Province this month, though a political motive may also have played a role, Compass Direct News reports. Muslim mobs burned the meeting places of a Batak Karo Protestant Church congregation and a Pentecostal Church in Indonesia group on August 1, and that of a Methodist Church of Indonesia on August 2, all in Kuantan Singingi district. Provincial leader Sahat Tarigan reportedly said about 100 people on motorcycles arrived at the house church at 11 p.m. on Aug. 1, throwing stones, threatening church members with knives and ultimately pouring gasoline and setting it on fire. A number of church members were inside painting at the time of the attack, but there were no casualties. The same mob also set a home on fire some five kilometers away, he said. Tarigan said area residents have never objected to any worship there, though Metrotvnews reported that a local Muslim said the site lacks a permit and that the singing bothers Muslims fasting by day for Ramadan. But the executive secretary of the Communion of Churches in Indonesia, Jeirry Sumampow, said he suspected political motives. An election in April in which all churches in the Kuantan Tengah sub-district backed the winning regent may have played a role, he said. At press time Riau Provincial Police had reportedly questioned 21 witnesses and arrested two suspects.

First Biblically-Based Facebook Game Takes Players on Journey of Moses

According to a Christian Newswire release, Hexify has developed a new game, Journey of Moses, to meet a void in the social media market for a biblically based game. The game incorporates high production quality, music, graphics, effects and the newest Facebook social features while telling the story of a very important historical figure. "Weaving throughout ancient Egypt and the Middle East, the Journey of Moses is a fun, immersive adventure game, complete with complex characters, engaging quests, puzzles and mysteries," said Brent Dusing, CEO of Hexify. "Whether you already play social games or you are interested in the story of Moses, we believe we have created a game that everyone can enjoy." Players will experience the many twists and turns as they explore milestones in the life of Moses - from growing up in the king's house as an Egyptian to his exile in the wilderness. Then, after an encounter at the burning bush, Moses' life is changed and he eventually leads the Israelites out of Pharaoh's rule. "We were careful to adhere to the accounts in the Bible and the overarching spirit of the story, even vetting certain aspects with theological leaders," said Dusing. To play the game, visit:

Christian Music Festival May Have Sung its Last Tune

The Ichthus Festival, the oldest Christian music festival in the U.S., just finished its 42nd year, but there's no guarantee of a 43rd, according to CNN's Belief Blog. "What happens in August and September will determine where we go and how we look at 2012," Ichthus Ministries CEO Mark Vermilion said. For the past six years, the concert series has been losing money. Ichthus Ministries says it has no choice but to sell the 110-acre festival site at a time when the real estate market is soft. "It's not our desire to move from the land," Vermilion says. "It doesn't make sense for us to own the land when we're using it one month out of the year." Ichthus began in 1970 when a seminary professor decided Christians needed their own version of Woodstock.