Religion Today Summaries - July 11, 2007

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - July 11, 2007

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

  • Radical Islam Called Largest Threat to Global Religious Freedom
  • Two Pastors Shot Dead in Colombia
  • 231,000 Celebrate Faith in Formerly Communist Ukraine
  • Creation Museum opens 'Dinosaur Den'

Radical Islam Called Largest Threat to Global Religious Freedom

A conservative watchdog group has issued a report claiming that religious freedom is deteriorating worldwide and that radical Islam is the largest threat to people's ability to worship according to their beliefs, reports. The findings by the Center for Religious Freedom were presented on Monday and come in advance of the publication of the book, "Religious Freedom in the World 2007," to be released next year. The report cited Burma, Eritrea, Iran, Iraq, the Maldives, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Tibet, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan as nations with the worst religious freedom records of the 100 countries surveyed.

Two Pastors Shot Dead in Colombia

Members of the leftist guerilla group FARC are believed to be responsible for the deaths of two Pentecostal pastors who were assassinated last week in southern Colombia, ASSIST News Service reports. Pastor Humberto Mendez, age 63, and Pastor Joel Cruz Garcia, age 27, were approached at around 8:00 PM on July 5 as they preached at an open-air service in the village of El Dorado. According to church representatives, a group of armed men wearing camouflage clothing called the pastors by name and led them away. The bodies of the two men were found the next day 40 meters apart; both had been shot in the head. While authorities and church leaders seem to agree that FARC committed the murders, the motive is unclear. The families of the pastors have said that they never received any warnings or threats from any group.

231,000 Celebrate Faith in Formerly Communist Ukraine

Sixteen years ago in Kiev an event like this would not have been allowed. Even today in Russia it would be forbidden. Yet this weekend was a grand nationwide expression of religious freedom as more than 231,000 who were formerly subjugated to strict communist rule gathered to celebrate and openly choose their faith. The Franklin Graham Festival, July 6-8, drew 124,586 to Olympic Stadium in Ukraine's capital of Kiev, plus more than 107,000 who participated in the event via live satellite broadcast in 104 additional venues across the country. On the second night of the Festival, more than 40,000 people stood in the rain as thousands poured onto the field at the end of Graham’s message. By the end of the weekend, 6,694 people responded to the invitation to follow Jesus.

Creation Museum opens 'Dinosaur Den'

Baptist Press reports that the Creation Museum, which opened Memorial Day weekend, unveiled a new dinosaur exhibit July 4 that likely will become a favorite of visitors. Dubbed the "Dinosaur Den," the exhibit is 4,500 square feet and two stories high, and features sculpted dinosaurs, dinosaur bones and soon will have real dinosaur eggs. Through videos and displays, the new exhibit teaches visitors about dinosaurs and where they fit into the biblical creation account. "We are so thankful to have the resources to build a quality exhibit devoted to the very creatures so closely associated with the arguments about creation and evolution," Ken Ham, co-founder and president of Answers in Genesis, said in a statement.