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Religion Today Summaries - July 7, 2011

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - July 7, 2011

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

In today's edition:

  • Poll: Religion, Faith Still Important to Most People
  • City Attorney Questions Proposed Circumcision Ban
  • Schuller Loses Vote at Crystal Cathedral
  • Haiti Orphanage Given Property for New Building


Poll: Religion, Faith Still Important to Most People

A new Ipsos MORI poll has found that religion still matters to most people in the world. The global survey looked at the views of over 18,000 people across 24 countries, including the U.K. and U.S. Seven in 10 of those surveyed said they had a religion but there was a marked difference between Christians and Muslims when it came to the importance they placed on their faith. The Christian Post reports that, in Muslim-majority countries, 94 percent of those with a religion agreed that their faith was important in their lives, compared to 66 percent in Christian-majority countries. Muslims were far more likely to believe that their religion was the only true path to salvation, liberation or paradise – 61 percent compared to 19 percent in Christian-majority countries. In the U.S., 32 percent said their faith or religion was the only true path.

San Francisco Attorney Questions Proposed Circumcision Ban

San Francisco's top lawyer has concluded it is unconstitutional to ban the practice as a religious ritual, but allow it as a medical procedure. Religion News Service reports the opinion is a potential blow to the proposed San Francisco circumcision ban, which will ban nearly all infant circumcisions if it passes on the Nov. 8 ballot. A group of Jews and Muslims has filed a lawsuit arguing that no California city can regulate a medical procedure that is allowed by the state will be heard on July 15. Should they win, a narrower ban exempting medical circumcision could apply only to circumcision as a religious practice. And that would defy the First Amendment, according to a brief recently filed by the city attorney. "San Franciscans cannot be asked to vote on whether to prohibit religious minorities from engaging in a particular religious practice, when the same practice may be performed under nonreligious auspices," wrote Chief Deputy City Attorney Therese Stewart.

Schuller Loses Vote at Crystal Cathedral

Crystal Cathedral founder Robert H. Schuller has been removed from a voting position on the board of the iconic glass megachurch he started in Southern California five decades ago. "Recently, the board of directors of Crystal Cathedral Ministries voted to change Dr. Schuller's position from that of a voting board member to the honorary Chairman of the Board Emeritus, a nonvoting position," reads a Monday news release from the church in Garden Grove, Calif. Religion News Service reports that the change will give Schuller, 84, more time for speaking engagements and a writing project, the statement said. Schuller's son, Robert A. Schuller, who left the ministry in 2008 after leadership differences surfaced, called the move "another step toward the church's demise." The Crystal Cathedral statement noted that the elder Schuller will continue to speak in the church's pulpit and on its "Hour of Power" television broadcast and participate in "creative and vision-casting meetings" with staffers.

Haiti Orphanage Given Property for New Building

Since the earthquake struck Haiti last year, Pastor Edmond Fenelon, his family and 37 orphans have been living in makeshift tents on the countryside. Fenelon directed a Port-au-Prince orphanage that has yet to be rebuilt, and the orphanage's children have lived under plastic, fabric, and any other type of scrap they could find. Mission Network News reports that last week, however, the group saw the beginnings of a new, permanent home. Orphan's Heart ministry purchased property 15 miles north of Port-au-Prince, and hopes to begin pre-construction work in September. Charlie Cox with Orphan's Heart said, "We're hoping probably within at least a year, maybe less, to have the first main building constructed so that the children would be able to move out of those makeshift tents and into a more secure and better environment."