Religion Today Summaries - June 17, 2009

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - June 17, 2009

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

  • Iran's Unrest May Signal Good News for Christians
  • Reformed Christians Strive to Diversify Denominations
  • Gunmen Kill Priest, 2 Seminarians in Mexico
  • Egypt: Court Denies Right to Convert to Another Christian


Iran's Unrest May Signal Good News for Christians

Mission News Network reports that one ministry hopes Iran's political unrest might lead to positive changes for Christians in Iran. Tens, perhaps hundreds of thousands of Iranians have protested the results of Friday's election, which many say was rigged to re-elect President Ahmadinejad. Most protestors supported moderate candidate Mir Hussein Mousavi. "This has been a growing feeling -- this animosity toward the present regime and the hard liners within the country -- and it's been growing for quite some time," evangelist Sammy Tippit said. "I think it's just come to the point of boiling and exploding." If Mousavi ultimately prevails, Tippit believes life might get easier for Christians. "[T]here would be more dialogue with the West. There would be more opportunity," he said.

Reformed Christians Strive to Diversify Denominations

The Christian Post reports that reformed churches in America are noticing the lack of diversity within their congregations - and how the denominations have perpetuated this homogeneity. Last week, the Reformed Church in America adopted the Belhar Confession to apologize for this. The document declares apartheid a heresy and a misrepresentation of the Gospel and appeals for unity, justice and reconciliation. The Christian Reformed Church in North America may also adopt the document soon. "Where the tension arises is how do we get to this goal of creating a multi-cultural church," said CRC executive director the Rev. Jerry Dykstra, according to CRC Communications. "Our sin (of racism) is with us today in this church. It has been so easy to judge people by the color of their skin, how they speak, what culture they are from."

Gunmen Kill Priest, 2 Seminarians in Mexico

The Associated Press reports that drug cartels continue to endanger Christians and residents in Mexico, as a deadly incident illustrated Saturday. A priest and two seminarians were ordered out of their vehicle while they were on their way to organize a spiritual retreat. Gunmen then shot them dead. The archbishop of Acapulco says this latest turn underscores a violent trend. "We have become hostages in this violent confrontations between the drug cartels living among us," Felipe Aguirre Franco said. The archbishop has aided authorities in pinpointing drug traffickers, and fears such actions may lead to further backlash. Mexico's drug violence has increased in recent months, causing many church groups to halt short-term missions there.

Egypt: Court Denies Right to Convert to Second Christian

Compass Direct News reports that a Cairo judge on Saturday rejected an Egyptian convert’s attempt to change his identification card’s religious status from Muslim to Christian. This marks the second failed attempt to exercise constitutionally guaranteed religious freedom by a Muslim-born convert to Christianity. For Maher El-Gohary, who has been attacked on the street, subjected to death threats and driven into hiding as a result of opening his case 10 months ago, Saturday’s outcome provided nothing in the way of consolation. “I am disappointed with what happened and shocked with the decision, because I went to great lengths and through a great deal of hardship,” he said.