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Religion Today Summaries - July 21, 2011

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - July 21, 2011

Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.

In today's edition:

  • U.N. Calls Somalia Drought the 'Worst Humanitarian Crisis'
  • Campus Crusade for Christ Adopts New Name: Cru
  • Eritrean Christian Facing Deportation from Saudi Arabia
  • Zondervan's Murdoch Connection Not an ‘Ethical Dilemma’


U.N. Calls Somalia Drought the 'Worst Humanitarian Crisis'

Severe drought in Somalia, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda has already affected at least 10 million people, and is only getting worse. The head of the U.N. Refugee Agency (UNHCR) calls the disaster the "worst humanitarian disaster" in the world. Still, the drought has been vastly underreported, according to Mission Network News. President of Medical Teams International Bas Vanderzalm says the condition of refugees fleeing the crisis is critical. "About 50 percent of the children are acutely malnourished. The rate of death of these children is now three to six times higher than the year before." More than 750,000 people have left their homes and are now living in refugee camps. "When there are droughts like that in that area, crops fail, cattle die," Vanderzalm says, "and people have no choice but to move because there's no food and no water."

Campus Crusade for Christ Adopts New Name: Cru

Campus Crusade for Christ in the U.S. is changing its name to Cru. The U.S. ministry hopes the new name, which will be adopted in early 2012, will overcome existing barriers and perceptions inherent in the original name. "We want to remove any obstacle to people hearing about the most important person who ever lived - Jesus Christ," said Vonette Bright, who co-founded Campus Crusade for Christ with her husband. The new name and identity was unveiled to 5,000 staff yesterday who gathered at the ministry’s biennial U.S. staff conference in Ft. Collins, Colo. The news was met with enthusiasm and excitement. "We believe wholeheartedly that God has given us this new name," said Steve Sellers, vice president for the U.S. for Campus Crusade for Christ. "Our team understands that our name is really for the benefit of others. Ultimately, it’s not about our name, but how we live out our mission every day."

Eritrean Christian Facing Deportation from Saudi Arabia

Eyob Mussie, an Eritrean Christian refugee in Saudi Arabia, has been informed that he will be returned to Eritrea instead. The Christian faced a possible death penalty for proselytizing. Mussie, whose is in his 30s, has been held in a deportation center for the last 10 days while arrangements are made for his return. Eritreans returned their home country can face imprisonment, torture and possible death. In 2002, the government banned all Christian denominations except Orthodoxy, Roman Catholicism and Evangelical Lutheranism, and ended all other religious practices apart from Sunni Islam. Christian Solidarity Worldwide’s Advocacy Director Andrew Johnston said, “We commend the Saudi government for sparing Mr. Mussie’s life. However, deporting him to Eritrea means he has effectively been granted only a brief reprieve from danger since the Eritrean authorities will certainly subject him to cruel and inhumane treatment."

Zondervan's Murdoch Connection Not an ‘Ethical Dilemma’

Media tycoon Rupert Murdoch doesn't just published tabloids - he also publishes Bibles. Murdoch's News Corporation runs subsidiary Harper Collins, which owns the Christian book and Bible publisher Zondervan. News Corp founder Rupert Murdoch and his son, James Murdoch, have been under intense scrutiny for a phone-hacking scandal in Great Britain. According to Christian Today, Zondervan’s link to News Corp has been strongly criticised by blogger Will Braun in a post that has circulated further in major US news outlets. In his post, Braun debates the ethics of buying Bibles from a publisher that is owned by Murdoch. “For those us of [sic] who care about the Christian scriptures, what are we to make of this mix of billionaire media tycoonery, allegations of phone hacking and bribery, and the Holy Word of God?" he said. Tara Powers, a spokeswoman for Zondervan, said, "This does not present an ethical dilemma for Zondervan as we will continue to operate with autonomy as we always have."