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Religion Today Summaries - June 2, 2011

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - June 2, 2011

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

In today's edition:

  • Americans Rank Top Immoral 'Sins' in New Poll
  • U.S. Condemns Conviction of 7 Vietnamese Activists
  • Noah's Ark Theme Park in Ky. Raises $3 Million
  • Three Pakistani Christians Face Blasphemy Charges


Americans Rank Top Immoral 'Sins' in New Poll

Americans are less likely to call certain behaviors a "sin" these days if it affects no one but themselves. The poll, conducted by Gallup, revealed 91 percent of respondents considered extramarital affairs immoral. In addition to cheating spouses, polygamy, cloning humans, suicide and pornography all ranked as the top five immoral "sins" among Americans. However, the Christian Post reports that the number of Americans who believe assisted suicide to be morally acceptable rose to 45 percent. Only 30 percent said embryonic stem cell research was immoral, and only 36 percent said fornication is sin. The poll shows what Richard Land, president of Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, says is a deep-rooted problem with Americans' sense of priorities. Land says Americans' moral values are skewed to focus less on their obligations and responsibilities and more on their "supposed rights and privileges."

U.S. Condemns Conviction of 7 Vietnamese Activists

Seven land rights activists in Vietnam have been convicted of attempting to overthrow the government after they lobbied for land rights in Ben Tre. The seven, including a church pastor, were sentenced to between two and eight years in prison plus probation. Diplomats were turned away from the one-day trial, and the defendants were allegedly denied access to legal representation before the trial. "We are particularly concerned by reports that several of the defendants were denied access to legal representation prior to their trial," said Beau Miller, a U.S. Embassy spokesman in Hanoi, according to The Associated Press. "Freedom of assembly and expression are fundamental internationally recognized rights. No individual should be punished for peacefully exercising these rights," he added.

Noah's Ark Theme Park in Ky. Raises $3 Million

Developers of a biblical theme park in Kentucky said Tuesday they have raised over $3 million toward the building of its main attraction, a life-sized Noah's Ark. "Just as God brought the animals to Noah by the appropriate time (Genesis 6:20), He’s providing the resources for this dynamic experience," read an announcement by Ark Encounter, which is behind the $150 million theme park of the same name. The Christian Post reports that the full-size, all-wood ark will be built using donations and cost $24.5 million. Ken Ham’s Answers in Genesis, known for the popular Creation Museum in Petersburg, Ky., is working in partnering with Ark Encounter LLC to build the attraction. Upon its completion, the structure modeled after biblical measurements of Noah's Ark will stretch 500 ft. across, 75 ft. wide and 45 ft. high.

Three Pakistani Christians Face Blasphemy Charges

ASSIST News Service reports that three evangelists have joined the growing number of believers in Pakistan who face charges under the country’s controversial blasphemy laws. Those convicted can be sentenced to death. In this case, a Muslim man filed complaints against three Christians – including an elderly lady – that accused them of insulting the prophet Mohammed. Police in Lahore are still investigating whether to register a formal report against the three. The incident began when one of the evangelists, a truck driver who worked with the Muslim man, translated an article called "Islamic Jihad" into Urdu. His colleague and several other Muslims found out about its contents, which accused Islam of causing violence and terrorism. Offended and angry, they filed a complaint against him and the other evangelists.