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Religion Today Summaries - July 29, 2009

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - July 29, 2009

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

  • Nigeria: Hundreds Die in Battle with Militants
  • Buddhist-Episcopal Priest's Election Nullified
  • Barna: Blacks More Likely Hold Christian Faith
  • Christian Murdered on Busy Street in Istanbul

Nigeria: Hundreds Die in Battle with Militants

CNN reports that violence in northern Nigeria has killed more than 400 people in three days. Islamic militants battled government police and troops Sunday, leading to imposed curfews and civilian deaths in several major towns, including Maiduguri, capital of Borno state. At least 3,000 civilians have been displaced in clashes since then. The same militant group is allegedly behind attacks in Bauchi Town in February, which displaced more than 1,500 Christians and killed at least 11 people. Christian Solidarity Worldwide's Tina Lambert told Christian Today, “The weekend’s events are deeply worrying, and validate consistent reports of the presence of armed militants in Nigeria who benefit from foreign assistance and funding, and whose agenda includes violence against non-Muslims, and also against the federal state itself."

Buddhist-Episcopal Priest's Election Nullified

The Christian Post reports that the Episcopal Church failed to approve a candidate for bishop who is also a practicing Buddhist. The Rev. Kevin Thew Forrester did not receive the required votes from the denomination's bishops to be consecrated as the bishop of the Diocese of Northern Michigan. "I have been extraordinarily blessed and honored to walk with my friends from the Diocese of Northern Michigan over these past months as their bishop-elect," Forrester said in a statement, according to the Episcopal News Service. In addition to his practice of Zen Buddhism, Forrester has also made significant revisions to the Anglican Communion's Book of Common Prayer. The Episcopal Church requires that new bishops receive a majority of consent from the Church's other bishops within 120 days to ratify their election.

Barna: Blacks More Likely Hold Christian Faith

Baptist Press reports that African Americans are more likely to exhibit evidence of being Christian when compared to the general population. A new study by The Barna Group found that faith continues to be important in the lives of African Americans, an ethnic group that comprises about 15 percent of the national population. Based on telephone interviews with more than 1,200 adults who described themselves as African American, Barna found that 66 percent of them agreed with the statement that "the Bible is totally accurate in all of the principles it teaches," compared to 46 percent of whites and 49 percent of the general population. Eighty-six percent of blacks, 70 percent of whites and 72 percent of the general population agreed that their religious faith is very important in their lives.

Christian Murdered on Busy Street in Istanbul

Compass Direct News reports that a German businessman died last week after a Turk with a history of mental problems stabbed him for being a Christian. Witnesses saw Ibrahim Akyol, 26, stab Gregor Kerkeling in the chest on July 20 after following him out of St. Anthony Catholic Church in Istanbul’s central district of Beyoglu. Akyol, a Muslim who reportedly had been visiting area churches scouting around for a Christian victim, followed Kerkeling out of the church building and asked him for a Turkish lira. When Kerkeling refused, Akyol repeatedly stabbed him in the heart and chest area before passersby intervened. Akyol reportedly confessed that in the morning he woke up and decided that on that day he would kill a Christian. “I wanted to kill a Christian that day and was visiting churches for this reason,” he told prosecutors.