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Religion Today Summaries - June 13, 2008

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - June 13, 2008

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

In today's edition:

  • Christian Groups Respond to Midwest Flooding
  • China: Not So Open a Month after Quake
  • Zimbabwe: Church Groups in Danger ‘At Any Time’
  • McCain Meets with Greek Orthodox, Not SBC

Christian Groups Respond to Midwest Flooding

After weekend downpours of up to 10 inches, severe flooding in several Midwest states has crippled many communities as relief begins to trickle in, the Christian Post reports. Bob Babcock, the South Indiana Annual (regional) Conference’s disaster response coordinator, told the United Methodist News Service on Tuesday that by his estimates only five percent of residents affected had flood insurance. The United Methodists in Indiana have received $10,000 in emergency grants from the United Methodist Committee on Relief this week to help residents, and other Indiana churches have volunteered to serve as a clothing site and an emergency responder post, and many are working closely with the Red Cross. Christian relief group Feed the Hungry sent a semi truck full of canned food, dry soup cups, noodles, crackers, cookies, and other eatable items.

China on Alert for Unrest a Month after Quake

According to the Associated Press, public anger over the deaths of thousands of schoolchildren killed in last month's earthquake continues to simmer in China, while authorities increasingly avoid open communication. Parents have demanded investigations to determine whether poor construction – primarily a lack of steel reinforcement bars – are responsible for the collapse of about 7,000 classrooms in areas where other buildings were relatively unaffected, contributing to their children's deaths. Now, police are cordoning off those schools from parents who regularly hold vigils there, as well as restricting media coverage after promises of open doors.

Zimbabwe: Church Groups in Danger ‘At Any Time’

The Catholic News Service reports that Zimbabwean church groups are "in danger of police interference at any time," Alouis Chaumba, head of Zimbabwe's Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace, said after the Ecumenical Center in the capital, Harare, was raided June 9. "No one is immune to these raids." Chaumba said he is "afraid of what may happen to me and my family and my friends," noting that he knows many people who have been injured or had their property destroyed in the violence that followed late-March elections. The Center houses a variety of groups, including the Student Christian Movement of Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwe Christian Alliance. Five staffers were arrested by heavily armed members of the police, central intelligence and military personnel in the raid. The country faces increased police activity in the fact of a "break-or-make" presidential runoff election scheduled for June 27.

McCain Meets with Greek Orthodox, Not SBC

The Christian Post reports that Presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain had his own share of faith-based courting - and overlooking - on Tuesday when he met with the country’s highest ranking Greek Orthodox leader. The private meeting with Archbishop Demetrios of the Greek Orthodox Church in America continued a conversation from last June, as the two talked about religious freedom, human rights, and social issues. “Senator McCain is an honorable American who has demonstrated his heroism and love for this country,” said the archbishop, who does not endorse political candidates. Meanwhile, McCain has not followed the Bush-Cheney tradition of hosting a reception for Southern Baptist pastors during their annual meeting, a gathering of 7,200, leading some to wonder if McCain wants their vote. McCain has said his faith is not a campaign issue, but deeply private.