Religion Today Summaries - July 2, 2010

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - July 2, 2010

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

In today's edition:

  • High-Profile Defendant Convicted in Orissa
  • Wisconsin High Court Upholds Gay Marriage Ban
  • 50th Catholic Parish Closes in Cleveland
  • Presbyterians May Change Definition of Marriage

High-Profile Defendant Convicted in Orissa

ASSIST News Service reports a high-profile defendant in connection with the anti-Christian violence in India's Orissa state has been sentenced to seven years in prison. Manoj Pradhan faced 14 charges related to the murder of Parikhita Naik on Aug. 27, 2008, when Hindu extremists tried to purge Christians from Orissa state. The victim was one of at least 70 killed in the violence, although total victims may have been in the hundreds. Stuart Windsor, Christian Solidarity Worldwide's National Director, said, "This is a very significant boost to the cause of justice in Orissa, and the authorities are to be congratulated for bringing Mr. Pradhan to justice. We continue to encourage the state government of Orissa to ensure that all perpetrators and inciters of the 2008 violence are brought to justice, that victims are rehabilitated properly, and that community reconciliation is pursued."

Wisconsin High Court Upholds Gay Marriage Ban

The Christian Post reports that the Wisconsin Supreme Court has upheld the state's ban on same-sex civil unions. The court unanimously affirmed that the state's traditional "marriage amendment was adopted by the people of Wisconsin using the process prescribed by the constitution, and is properly now part of our constitution." The state approved the amendment with 59 percent of the vote in 2006, but the amendment was challenged the following year. The amendment reads, "Only a marriage between one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in this state. A legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals shall not be valid or recognized in this state." Traditional marriage supporters cheered the decisions. "Marriage and the will of the people are the clear winners in this decision," said Julaine Appling, president of Wisconsin Family Council."

50th Catholic Parish Closes in Cleveland

As the Roman Catholic Church responds to falling church membership across the U.S., the diocese in Cleveland recently closed the last of 50 parishes slated for downsizing. The Associated Press reports that many of the shuttered churches were older, ethnic parishes reported to have falling attendance, financial problems or trouble finding a priest. "I'm brokenhearted," said Madeleine Smith, a lifelong parishioner at St. Emeric's, an old Hungarian parish. "My parents were married here. My grandparents were members before the church was built." The diocese's closings also reflect a trend in downtown Cleveland, in which people are increasingly leaving the inner city for the suburbs. "We have done all in our power to keep our churches open," said Bob Kloos, vice president of Endangered Catholics, a local group that has tried to fight the closings. "And we witness the unacceptable loss of yet another vibrant, ethnic treasure."

Presbyterians May Change Definition of Marriage

Christian Newswire reports that the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) will consider multiple resolutions related to same-sex marriage at its General Assembly next week. Among the proposed constitutional amendments is one to change the definition of marriage in the PCUSA Book of Order. The effect would be to allow churches to host and ministers to officiate at same-sex marriages. Other proposals would interpret the PCUSA constitution as allowing any state-recognized same-sex marriage to be celebrated as a Christian marriage. The Final Report of the Special Committee on Civil Union and Christian Marriage asserts that "members of the PC(USA) cannot agree" on "the place of covenanted same-gender partnerships in the Christian community" and must therefore show "mutual forbearance."