Religion Today Summaries - July 19, 2010

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - July 19, 2010

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

In today's edition:

  • Pastor Compensation Keeps Up with Inflation
  • Vatican Issues Sex Abuse Guidelines after Crisis
  • Christian Teacher Wants to Pray on High Court Steps
  • Anglican Archbishop to Host Imams and clergy at Lambeth Palace

Pastor Compensation Keeps Up with Inflation

Baptist Press reports that compensation for full-time Southern Baptist pastors is rising slightly faster than inflation. However, the mounting cost of benefits is forcing churches to provide fewer pastors with medical insurance. These and other findings are part of the SBC Church Compensation Study, a survey of 11,674 staff positions in Southern Baptist churches. Adjusting for church size, the average full-time Southern Baptist senior pastor's compensation (salary and housing) rose 0.78 percent between 2008 and 2010. That rate of change was only slightly higher than the compounded 0.67 percent inflation rate for the same period. "Not all churches have paid non-pastoral staff, especially small churches," Scott McConnell, associate director of LifeWay Research, said. "Churches with these positions gave larger salary increases than the average church gave their senior pastor over the last two years."

Vatican Issues Sex Abuse Guidelines after Crisis

The Washington Times reports that the Vatican has revised its rules to respond to clerical abuse. The revisions target clerical sex abuse, priests who molest the mentally disabled, and priests who use child pornography. The revisions do not include a requirement for bishops to report abuse to police. Other provisions suggested by victims' advocates were also left out, leading advocates to call the changes no more than "administrative housekeeping." The Vatican's sex crimes prosecutor acknowledged it was "only a document." He said the rules deliberately avoided detailing civil procedure. "If civil law requires you report, you must obey civil law," Monsignor Charles Scicluna told reporters. But "it's not for canonical legislation to get itself involved with civil law."

Christian Teacher Wants to Pray on High Court Steps

Officials at the U.S. Supreme Court may be the object of lawsuit following a recent incident on the steps of the court, The Christian Post reports. Alliance Defense Fund has demanded officials state in writing that people can quietly pray on the court's grounds after an official told a teacher and her students they had to move. "There is no reason to silence Mrs. Rigo's activities since these activities do not attract attention, create a crowd, or give off the appearance of partiality," ADF Senior Counsel Nate Kellum argues in the letter. "The ban on private prayers cannot hope to survive First Amendment scrutiny." Maureen Rigo was with 10 students and three parents from Wickenburg Christian Academy in Arizona when the incident occurred on May 5. The official allegedly approached them when they bowed their head on the steps, telling them they could pray "but you can't do it here."

Anglican Archbishop to Host Imams and clergy at Lambeth Palace

Christian Today reports that the spiritual head of the Anglican Communion will soon host an interfaith event at Lambeth Palace. Fifty imams and clergy from 25 local areas are invited to the event, hosted by Dr. Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury. Andrew Stunell, Parliamentary Under Secretary at the Department of Communities and Local Government, will speak at the event. He says the meeting highlights the "similar goals" churches, mosques, charities and community groups share i helping their local communities. "That is what this conference is about - challenging ignorance and building effective, friendly working relationships, not only between clergy and imams but also between their congregations. Inter faith activity is an important component of the Big Society we want to build, in which people work together for the common good and to tackle shared problems."