Religion Today Summaries - July 8, 2009

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - July 8, 2009

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

  • Christian Groups Condemn Honduras Coup and Crisis
  • Geneva Celebrates Calvin’s 500th Birthday
  • Vatican City State Reports $22Million Deficit
  • Indonesia: Church, Bible Students Fight Discrimination


Christian Groups Condemn Honduras Coup and Crisis

The Christian Post reports that humanitarian groups are warning Honduras' political instability may undermine "hard-won development gains." The Lutheran World Federation, Caritas Tegucigalpa and Action by Churches Together (ACT) Forum Honduras all condemned the military coup that removed President Manuel Zelaya from office and the country over a week ago. “Zelaya's restitution is not the real solution to the problem,” Pedro Landa of Caritas stated. “[T]he only thing that is certain is that democracy and the Honduran people have lost out. Now we are left with the challenge to reconstruct a new democracy and fight to avoid these events happening again."

Geneva Celebrates Calvin’s 500th Birthday

ASSIST News Service reports that about 500 worshipers attended the opening of Calvin 500, the international celebration of the 500th anniversary of John Calvin's birth (July 10, 1509). The Sunday convocation at St. Pierre Cathedral in the old town of Geneva drew American evangelicals Dr. Sinclair Ferguson and Dr. Bryan Chapell as well as Ugandan Archbishop Henry Luke Orombi. "Calvin is one of the most important thinkers in history," said Calvin500 Executive Director Rev. David Hall, who also is pastor of Midway Presbyterian Church in Powder Springs, Ga. "His ministry and writings left an indelible impression on the modern world, and especially Western culture. It would be hard to find a figure from history more worthy of remembering, if lasting impact for good is the standard.”

Vatican City State Reports $22Million Deficit

Religion News Service reports that the Vatican City State reported a deficit of $22 million for 2008 as a consequence of the "global economic-financial crisis," the Vatican announced on Saturday (July 4). The Vatican's annual profit and loss statements showed that the 108-acre sovereign territory, which includes St. Peter's Basilica and the Vatican Museums, fared much worse last year than in 2007, when it reported a profit of $10 million. A Vatican statement attributed the shortfall to spending on telecommunications, Internet, and photovoltaic panels on the roof of the papal audience hall, as well as conservation and restoration work on the Vatican's art collections. The statement did not give a breakdown of expenses.

Indonesia: Church, Bible Students Fight Discrimination

Compass Direct News reports that Christians have stood up for their rights in two key cases the last few weeks in heavily Muslim Indonesia. Members of the Huria Kristen Batak Protestan Church (HKBP) in Cinere village, Depok, West Java appeared in court on June 29 to contest the mayor’s revocation of their building permit in March. Meanwhile students of the shuttered Arastamar School of Theology (SETIA) demonstrated in Jakarta on June 15, asking officials to honor promises to provide them with a new campus. At least 1,400 staff and students remain in three separate locations in sub-standard facilities, causing great disruption to their studies, according to the students. The original campus in Kampung Pulo, East Jakarta, closed after neighbors attacked students with machetes in July 2008 and remains cordoned off by police.