Religion Today Summaries - June 17, 2010

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - June 17, 2010

Daily briefs of the top Christian news and persecution stories impacting believers around the world.

In today's edition:

  • Wright Becomes Next SBC President
  • Christian Groups Respond to Deadly Kyrgyzstan Clashes
  • Pakistani Christian Dies In Police Custody
  • Lightning Strike Destroys Jesus Statue in Ohio

Wright Becomes Next SBC President

Baptist Press reports that Bryant Wright, pastor of the Atlanta-area Johnson Ferry Baptist Church, will become the next president of the Southern Baptist Convention. Wright won a run-off against Florida pastor Ted Traylor on June 14 with 55.11 percent of the vote. In his nomination speech for Wright, David Uth, pastor of First Baptist Church in Orlando, said Wright is a pastor whose commitment to the Great Commission is evident. "While we've been talking about the Great Commission, Bryant's been quietly leading his church to do it," said Uth, who cited a range of statistics regarding Johnson Ferry Baptist Church, started 28 years ago by Wright in Marietta, Ga. Last year Johnson Ferry baptized 478 people, started seven churches in Cobb County, Ga., and in four of the past six years has given more than any other church in the SBC to the Lottie Mission Offering for International Missions.

Christian Groups Respond to Deadly Kyrgyzstan Clashes

Christian groups in Kyrgyzstan are pleaded for international help as ethnic war continues "out of control." The Christian Post reports that Tatiana Kotova of the ACT Alliance Central Asia Forum says the violence, which has killed hundreds and forced about 200,000 to flee the country, is beyond the government's power. "It is absolutely clear that Kyrgyzstan is not able to solve this problem without external help. This is what the international community needs to understand urgently," she reported. "People are now hoping the Russians will come and are also meeting in front of the U.N. office to push for the introduction of U.N. peacekeepers," Kotova reported, after noting the widespread disappointment over the interim government's handling of the riots. Basic food, water and shelter are in high demand as refugees flee dangerous cities.

Pakistani Christian Dies In Police Custody

Worthy News reports that the family of a Pakistani Christian in Lahore who died in police custody have little hope of justice. Pervez Masih, 30, was arrested on May 8 while unloading a truck on charges of stealing bricks from his employer, which is family denies. "Police seized the truck and the bricks and handcuffed Pervez Masih" on apparently false charges of stealing, "without any solid evidence," said Punjab's Christian legislator Tahir Naveed Chaudhary, who investigated the case. Police allegedly subjected Masih to mental and physical torture, forcing him to falsely confess his crime. Police told his family that Masih died of cardiac arrest after his condition became critical and no hospital could admit him. Religious minorities often voice allegations of police brutality.

Lightning Strike Destroys Jesus Statue in Ohio

The Washington Times reports that a six-story-tall statue of Jesus Christ went up in flames on Monday night after being struck by lightning. The "King of Kings" in Monroe, Ohio, was visible from the nearby highway. On Tuesday, all that remained of the plastic foam and fiberglass statue was the steel frame. The blaze also leapt to the adjacent amphitheater. Estimated damage from the fire was set at $700,000 - $300,000 for the statue and $400,000 for the amphitheater, Fire Capt. Richard Mascarella said Tuesday. Some people were scooping up pieces of the statue's foam from the nearby pond to take home with them, said church co-pastor Darlene Bishop. "This meant a lot to a lot of people," she said.