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Religion Today Summaries - July 30, 2009

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - July 30, 2009

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

  • Nigerian Bishop: Christians Not Targeted in Attacks
  • Fiji Bans Massive Methodist Hymn-Sing
  • Christians Angered after Bible Defaced in British Gallery
  • Adoption Council Reinstates Christian Pediatrician

Nigerian Bishop: Christians Not Targeted in Attacks

The Christian Post reports that no Christians or churches were harmed in the latest cycle of violence in Nigeria. “As things stand, there is no report of Christians being killed or churches being attacked, but religious leaders have called on the government to protect law-abiding citizens and religious structures," said Catholic Bishop Emmanuel Badejo. Badejo said he and other Nigerian bishops have been assured the violence has been contained. A statement from persecution watchdog Open Doors USA, however, indicated otherwise. The group reports that at least six churches have been destroyed in the violence that spread across four northern states. Nigerian officials have confirmed only 55 deaths, but other news organizations reported numbers as high as 400 after incidents in Bauchi, Yobe, Kano and Borno states.

Fiji Bans Massive Methodist Hymn-Sing

Religion News Service reports that Fiji's military government has banned a massive annual hymn-singing contest and church conference.  Fearing that the crowd of some 10,000 singing Methodists could destabilize the strife-torn nation, interim Prime Minister Commodore Frank Bainimarama canceled the event. A Fiji court on July 23 silenced two top Methodist Church ministers and tribal chief Ro Teimumu Kepa. They were charged with defying the Public Emergency Regulation over the church's planned conference in August. The men were released after two days in custody, but were forced to surrender travel documents and ordered not to meet or be seen in public. This is believed to be the first time a Fijian government has clashed so openly with the Methodist church; about one third of Fiji's almost 1 million people are Methodists.

Christians Angered after Bible Defaced in British Gallery

The Agence France-Press reports that a display Bible encouraging viewers to add their thoughts wasn't treated as expected. As part of the "Made In God's Image" art show at Glasgow's Gallery of Modern Art, visitors took the invitation to write their stories as a chance to air grievances and vent disbelief. Jane Clarke, a minister at the Metropolitan Community Church, said, "I had hoped that people would show respect for the Bible, for Christianity and indeed for the Gallery of Modern Art... As a young Christian I was encouraged by my church to write my own insights in the margins of the Bible I used for my daily devotions -- this was an extension of that idea." Instead, comments included, "I am Bi, Female and Proud. I want no god who is disappointed in this." and "This is all sexist pish, so disregard it all."

Adoption Council Reinstates Christian Pediatrician

Christian Today reports that a Christian doctor who was fired from an adoption board for religious reasons has been reinstated. Dr. Sheila Matthews was dismissed because she said she could not recommend adoptions by same-sex couples, although she offered to abstain during such adoptions. "As a professional I have done a lot of reading around the subject and am satisfied that there are research findings which support my position that a same sex partnership is not the best family setting to bring up children," she said. "As a Christian and a pediatrician I believe that children do best with a mother and father in a committed, long term relationship." She was reinstated by the Northamptonshire County Council after public outcry and potential legal action.