Religion Today Summaries - Feb. 9, 2009

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Feb. 9, 2009

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

  • Obama Revamps Faith-Based Offices, But Decisions Remain
  • Anglicans Continue Gay-Ordination Moratorium, Cool to New Province
  • Pakistan: Blasphemy Charge against Teen Forces Family into Hiding
  • Christian Groups Answer Atheists With Own Ads on British Buses



Obama Revamps Faith-Based Offices, But Decisions Remain

Baptist Press reports that President Obama named Joshua DuBois Feb. 5 to head the newly named White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships and established an advisory council. Obama signed an executive order bringing changes to what was known as the Office of Faith-based and Community Initiatives created under President George W. Bush. The White House said the newly designed office would be a resource for secular and faith-based organizations as they serve their communities. The office also will have a role in helping the administration address such social needs as reducing "the need for abortion" and in assisting the National Security Council in fostering interfaith relationships globally. The president must still decide whether religious groups participating in the initiative may discriminate by hiring only those of their own faith.

Anglicans Continue Gay Ordination Moratorium, Cool to New Province

The Christian Post reports that the annual meeting of Anglican primates ended Thursday with a plea that member churches maintain a 5-year-old moratorium on ordaining another openly gay bishop. Anglican leaders hope the move will help prevent further disintegration of the 77 million-member Communion, which has been wracked with disagreements over biblical authority and theology. The summit also included discussion of a new province formed by breakaway Anglicans in the United States. An Anglican advisory panel said it "foresees formidable problems in the way ahead," and that the new province could become a "haven for discontented groups," driving the Communion even farther apart. "If a way forward is to be found and mutual trust to be re-established, it is imperative that further aggravation and acts which cause offense, misunderstanding or hostility cease," the Anglican leaders said Thursday.

Pakistan: Blasphemy Charge against Teen Forces Family into Hiding

ASSIST News Service reports that a Pakistani Christian family has gone into hiding after a grade 9 student was accused of blasphemy by his Muslim classmate last week. After Naveed Aziz, 14, misplaced Christian literature belonging to his brother, a classmate from a hard-line Muslim background found it and accused Naveed of blasphemy when he asked for it back. Teachers at the government-run school tried to hush up the matter after learning that there was no blasphemous content in the literature. Nonetheless, Muslim organizations in the area incited students of other schools and colleges to implicate Naveed in a blasphemy case. Police finally arrested Naveed. His brother, Shafique, who is a pastor, turned himself in hoping to assist his brother, but both were allegedly tortured. The brothers' family fled after receiving multiple threats from radical Islamists.

Christian Groups Answer Atheists With Own Ads on British Buses

The Washington Post reports that atheist bus ads in London have inspired an answering ad from three Christian groups. The initial set of ads, reading, "There is probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life," prompted both outrage and amusement, and spread to several other countries. Now, the Christian Party will put up ads on similar buses, which say, "There is a God. BELIEVE. Don't worry and enjoy your life." The Trinitarian Bible Society will also respond with ads in the next few days, posting a line from Psalm 53:1: "The fool hath said in his heart, ‘There is no God.’" Stephen Green, national director of lobbying group Christian Voice, expressed enthusiasm for the responses. "The forces of darkness are in retreat," he said.