Religion Today Summaries - July 16, 2010

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - July 16, 2010

Daily briefs of the top Christian news and persecution stories impacting believers around the world.

In today's edition:

  • European Churches Lobby for Crucifixes in Italian Schools
  • Publishers, Author Sue over 'The Shack'
  • Uzbekistan: Two Short-Term Imprisonments, Raids Continue
  • Storm Rips through Tent City in Haiti

European Churches Lobby for Crucifixes in Italian Schools

Religion News Service reports that Catholic and Orthodox bishops from across Europe are lobbying the European Court of Human Rights to revoke a judgment against crucifixes in Italian public schools. The ruling on the case's appeal will likely apply to all 47 member countries of the Council of Europe. "We hope people's religious feelings will be taken into account," the Italian (Catholic) Bishops' Conference said in a statement last month. "A decision not to penalize the presence of the cross and religious symbols in the public sphere would reflect the principle of subsidiarity which regulates relations between states and European institutions." The Strasbourg, France-based court ruled last November that the display of crucifixes in Italian schools breached the rights of non-Catholics. Italy, supported by other European nations, launched an appeal against the ruling on June 30.

Publishers, Author Sue over 'The Shack'

The Los Angeles Times reports that the best-selling novel "The Shack" is once again the center of controversy, this time between author William Paul Young and publishers. Young showed the manuscript to pastors Wayne Jacobsen and Brad Cummings, who created Windblown Media to publish the book. After it made the New York Times' bestseller list, Hachette Book Group worked out a deal with Winblown, and the novel continued to sell well, about 12 million copies to date. However, Young is now suing Jacobsen and Cummings for missing royalties he alleges were lost in improper accounting practices. Jacobsen and Cummings, who did not even have a written agreement with their friend Young until Hachette entered the picture, are countersuing. They say they edited and rewrote the manuscript so extensively they were supposed to be named as co-authors. "The Shack" sells thousands of copies every week as the royalties continue to pile up.

Uzbekistan: Two Short-Term Imprisonments, Raids Continue

ASSIST News Service reports that two more Protestants have been punished with short stays in Uzbekistan's prisons. The 10-day prison terms handed down to Lepes Omarov and another Protestant on July 8 are the latest of seven similar sentences over religious activity. All religious activity in Karakalpakstan, Uzbekistan, outside state-approved mosques and one Russian Orthodox church, is banned. Elsewhere in Uzbekistan, a Protestant in Tashkent Region was given a written warning that "as the leader of an illegally functioning cell of Protestant tendency" he was breaking the law by holding religious services and sharing his faith and risks prosecution. Two Baptists were also targeted by an "anti-terror" operation for offering Christians books, which were confiscated and destroyed.

Storm Rips through Tent City in Haiti

Mission News Network reports that Haiti's rainy season hit earthquake-stricken areas with a vengence this week. The American Refugee Committee reports that flash floods and rain knocked over almost 100 tents in one camp. Ron Sparks with Baptist Haiti Mission says, "The tent cities in the Port-au-Prince area received a lot of damage by wind, and so when the rain comes, obviously they're not prepared to withstand the wetness." Six months after a 7.0 magnitude earthquake rocked the capital of Port-au-Prince, many dwelling still lie in ruins. Sparks explains that "we've built over a dozen permanent homes for individual families, and we've helped to build or repair well over an additional 50 homes. All the schools are back up and running, and the churches are meeting regularly," which is key to their outreach.