Religion Today Summaries - August 26, 2011

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - August 26, 2011

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

In today's edition:

  • Continued Arrests of Iranian Christians
  • Florida Teacher Exonerated, Reinstated
  • Faith Being Protected More in the Workplace
  • Quake-Damaged National Cathedral Faces Millions in Repairs


Continued Arrests of Iranian Christians

A Christian human rights agency has received reports that Abdolreza “Matthias” Haghnejad, a pastor in the evangelical Church of Iran denomination has again been arrested. The arrest by Iranian authorities in Rasht occurred on Aug. 17 while Haghnejad was making a pastoral visit. According to a news release from Christian Solidarity Worldwide, Haghnejad's family has no idea of his current location, or the charges against him. It is believed he is being held without access to an attorney. Earlier this year, the pastor was detained and charged, then acquitted, along with ten other members of his denomination, of activities against the (Iranian) order. He was also arrested in 2006. CSW said Haghnejad's re-arrest occurred amidst reports of another escalation in governmental pressure on Christians. CSW said in August a consignment of 6,500 Bibles was confiscated while being transported between the cities of Zanjan and Ahbar in the north-western province of Zanjan. Commenting on the seizure, Dr. Majid Abhari, advisor to the social issues committee of the Iranian parliament, said that Christian missionaries were attempting to deceive people, especially the youth, with an expensive propaganda campaign.

Florida Teacher Exonerated, Reinstated

OneNewsNow reports that Lake County School District of Florida has reinstated Mount Dora High School social studies teacher Jerry Buell, who was removed from the classroom last week over comments he posted on his personal Facebook page expressing his disapproval of the legalization of homosexual marriage in New York. Buell, a 2010 Teacher of the Year, had been temporarily transferred to an administrative assignment. After receiving a complaint from a former Mount Dora student, the school district voiced concern that some of Buell's students might have been offended by his Facebook comments, and that he may have violated the district's anti-discrimination policies. Liberty Counsel's Harry Mihet commented on the ruling: "I'm pleased to report that... both the constitution and common sense prevailed in the Lake County School District of Florida. The school board completed its... investigation and concluded that Jerry Buell has done absolutely nothing wrong, has done nothing that would warrant disciplinary action, and therefore has reinstated him effective immediately."

Faith Being Protected More in the Workplace

As world-renowned apologists gather for Southern Evangelical Seminary’s Conference on the subject this October, Christians in several places are standing up for freedom of faith in the workplace. According to a Hamilton Strategies release, new measures domestically and abroad are aiming to protect workers’ religious freedoms in the workplace—and more Christians are finding that they must intelligently defend their faith at their jobs every day. In Australia, Christians expressed disappointment after the Equality and Human Rights Commission seemed to backtrack on its pledge to protect Christians in the workplace after saying that they will no longer fight for “reasonable accommodation” of religious beliefs. This summer, the commission intervened in four cases of religious discrimination in the workplace. In New York City , a measure was passed that will significantly enhance religion-based protections for employees working in the city. Although the bill was initiated by the Sikh community, it will protect workers of all faiths. “This bill sends the message that people should not have to choose between serving our city and adhering to their religious beliefs,” stated the city council member who spearheaded the law. “All Americans should receive the full embrace of our country’s constitutional freedoms.”

Quake-Damaged National Cathedral Faces Millions in Repairs
Religion News Service

The iconic Washington National Cathedral, already struggling with financial problems, faces millions of dollars in repair costs from the damage inflicted by Tuesday's (Aug. 23) East Coast earthquake. And nothing is covered by insurance, according to a church official. Clergy and a team of architects and engineers spent the day after the magnitude 5.8 quake assessing the cathedral, and found significant damage, including fallen carved angels on the church's roof, cracks in flying buttresses, and missing finials from the pinnacles of the central tower. "We run a very tight budget here at the cathedral and we have had our financial challenges that we've worked through very well," the Very Rev. Samuel Lloyd, dean of the cathedral, said Wednesday. "But there is nothing in our budget that would allow us to step up and do this," he said. Officially, the cathedral is the mother church of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, but bills itself as a "house of prayer for all people."