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Religion Today Summaries - Dec. 26, 2008

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Dec. 26, 2008

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

  • Bush Signs Enhanced Anti-Trafficking Bill
  • Bangladesh Election Vulnerable to Terrorism
  • Sacred Texts: Vatican Embraces iTunes Prayer Book
  • Rick Warren's Biggest Critics: Other Pastors

Bush Signs Enhanced Anti-Trafficking Bill

Baptist Press reports President Bush signed into law Dec. 23 a bill to strengthen efforts to fight human trafficking in the United States and other countries. The William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act won approval from many human rights activists, as well as Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC). "It's a tremendous victory," Land told Baptist Press after the ceremony, which he attended. "This bill will significantly assist the United States government in impeding the trafficking of women and child for sexual purposes," he said. "It's a tremendously important new tool available to law enforcement officials in prosecuting those who traffic in human flesh. It will make a real difference to the victims of sex trafficking."

Bangladesh Election Vulnerable to Terrorism

ASSIST News Service reports that WEA's Religious Liberty Prayer ministry issued a prayer bulletin outlining the perpetual tug-of-war for Bangladesh between pro-secular and Islamic forces. The bulletin stressed the great need for prayer for Bangladesh, as the election will  pit the Awami League -- which led Bangladesh to independence and stands for secular politics and Bengali (as distinct from Islamic) culture -- against the pro-Pakistan, pro-Islam Bangladesh National Party (BNP) which has always used its power to advance Islamic nationalism and Islamisation. The greatest threat to these elections -- which are arguably the most crucial and pivotal since the country's independence -- is Islamic terrorism. The elections will take place Dec. 29.

Sacred Texts: Vatican Embraces iTunes Prayer Book

The Christian Post reports that that even the Vatican is going digital. A new technology developed by a tech-savvy Italian priest "brings the book of daily prayers used by priests straight onto iPhones." The iBreviary application was developed by a tech-savvy Italian priest, the Rev. Paolo Padrini,and recorded about 10,000 downloads during its free trial period in Italy. The application was officially released early December. The application includes the Breviary prayer book in five languages with more to come. Monsignor Paul Tighe, secretary of the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Social Communications, praised the new application Monday, saying the Church "is learning to use the new technologies primarily as a tool or as a mean of evangelizing, as a way of being able to share its own message with the world." Padrini's proceeds are going to charity.

Rick Warren's Biggest Critics: Other Pastors

The Associated Press reports that although megachurch pastor Rick Warren has received much criticism from gay rights groups for his role in Obama's inauguration, some of his worst critics are closer to home. "The comments from many of the evangelicals further to the right of him are often critical for his lax stance on their passionate issues," said Scott Thumma, a professor at Connecticut's Hartford Seminary who researches megachurches and writes about the challenges for gay and lesbian Christians. Warren supports traditional marriage and pro-life causes, but has raised issues such as the HIV/AIDS epidemic and the practice of torture for military prisoners to the same level.