Religion Today Summaries - Jan. 8, 2009

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Jan. 8, 2009

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

  • Palestinian Christians and Children Caught in the Middle
  • Israel Pauses Gaza Attack to Allow Aid
  • Christian School Sued for Expelling Lesbian Students
  • Group Lists Top 10 Christian Bashing Moments in U.S.

Palestinian Christians and Children Caught in the Middle

A Christian church leader in Gaza says children and Christians face threats from both sides in the Israeli/Hamas conflict. "The children wake up several times in the middle of the night, crying or even screaming from fear and memories that come back to their minds... They have seen bodies lying on the streets that used to be their playground," the leader said. Meanwhile, the Hamas-controlled government has allowed few people to leave. Many of Gaza's estimated 2,500 Christians were refused permits to leave Gaza to celebrate Christmas with family and friends. They feel trapped, said Open Doors USA President/CEO Carl Moeller. "They're not part of Hamas. They're not radical Islamic terrorists. And, they're not Israelis. So the Israelis see them as Palestinians, and the Palestinian terrorists see them as Christians who are not part of their Islamic movement. It's a tough place to be," Moeller said.

Israel Pauses Gaza Attack to Allow Aid

The New York Times reports that Israel and Hamas both agreed to halt fighting for three hours Wednesday to allow humanitarian aid into Gaza. United Nations officials have warned that a humanitarian crisis is growing in the area, where many are without power and running water as the fighting enters into its 13th day. Israeli officials said they will continue to keep a three-hour lull every other afternoon to allow Gaza's residents to "seek medical help, buy food and receive humanitarian supplies." About 660 people in Gaza have been killed; about a quarter of these were civilians, according to UN estimates. Israel faults Hamas for civilian casualties, as the terrorist organization mingles its offices, rocket locations, and members with the general population.

Christian School Sued for Expelling Lesbian Students

OneNewsNow reports that a Christian high school in California faces more time in the courtroom after it expelled two students for "lesbian conduct." According to Christian Legal Society (CLS) attorney Timothy Tracey, who is defending California Lutheran High School before the California Court of Appeals, the lawsuit threatens religious freedom for private schools. The students' parents "sued the school for sexual orientation discrimination under the California Unruh Act, which is the California public accommodations law, which prohibits sexual orientation discrimination," Tracey said. He continued, "The thrust of the case is whether or not a private, religious school like California Lutheran can expel students for failing to abide by their Christian code of conduct." The school has won the case in lower court, but the parents are appealing.

Group Lists Top 10 Christian Bashing Moments in U.S.

The Christian Post reports that the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission (CADC) has released in Top Ten list of 2008's "most egregious acts of Christian Bashing in America." The CADC ranked the assault of Proposition 8 supporters by radical homosexuals as number one, following by attacks on vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin for her faith. Bill Maher made the list twice, first with his film "Religulous" and then with his mockery of Pope Benedict XVI and the Church's sexual abuse scandals. "It is time for the Christian bashing to stop and for Christians to no longer be treated like second-class citizens," said Dr. Gary Cass, Chairman and CEO of CADC, in a statement. "Anti-Christian bigotry is real and growing. Those who engage in it should be exposed and called to account."