Religion Today Summaries - June 24, 2008

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - June 24, 2008

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

  • Americans: My Faith Isn't the Only Way
  • China: Bookstore Owner Still without Trial
  • Pakistan: Gunmen Kidnap Nine
  • Iowa: Church Buoys Red Cross

Americans: My Faith Isn't the Only Way

The Christian Post reports that a new religious survey found that 57 percent of evangelical church attendees believe many religions lead to eternal life. The study, conducted by Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, is interpreted by some as a sign of increasing religious tolerance, while others bemoan it as indicative of growing religious ignorance and relativism. Among the 35,000 adults surveyed, 68 percent of Americans said there is more than one true way to interpret the teachings even of their own religion. "The survey shows religion in America is, indeed, 3,000 miles wide and only three inches deep," said D. Michael Lindsay, a Rice University sociologist of religion. "There's a growing pluralistic impulse toward tolerance and that is having theological consequences," he said.

China: Bookstore Owner Still without Trial

Compass Direct News reports that a hearing expected Thursday by relatives of Christian bookstore owner Shi Weihan, detained in a Chinese prison without charges, did not take place. Sources in China had said that a court date was expected since Thursday marked the end of three months of his detention without charges. Public Security Bureau (PSB) forces are prohibited from holding Chinese citizens for more than two months without formal charges. Police initially arrested Shi on November 28, 2007, charging him with “illegal business practices,” but officials ordered his release on January 4, citing insufficient evidence. He was arrested again on March 19 and police have held him virtually incommunicado, denying all but one visit from his lawyer, and refusing family visits. The PSB claims they are investigating a "complex case," though Shi's store is legally registered.

Pakistan: Gunmen Kidnap Nine

Unidentified gunmen kidnapped nine Pakistani Christians on Saturday in an attack on a religious gathering in the northwestern city of Peshawar, ASSIST News Service reports. “The gunmen came in six vehicles and attacked the house where the Christian people were praying and took away at least nine people with them,” a senior police official, Imran Shahid, told Reuters reporter Faris Ali. Reuters reported that some local residents said over two dozen people had been kidnapped in the attack in the Danishabad area of Peshawar city, the capital of North West Frontier Province. Reuters reported that Pakistan has seen a wave of violence by Islamic militants; most of it in the northwest and the adjoining lawless tribal belt on the Afghan border, since the middle of the last year, but minority Christians have not been overtly targeted as such.

Iowa: Church Buoys Red Cross

At a time when the American Red Cross finds its disaster relief fund depleted, Southern Baptist volunteers are stepping up and providing desperately needed assistance to victims of the storms and floods that have plagued the upper Midwest for almost a month. Laura Howe, a spokeswoman for the American Red Cross, told ABC News, "Right now the balance in our disaster relief fund is sitting close to zero. We anticipate that the series of tornadoes and floods that we've had since the beginning of April is going to cost our organization about $15 million." The Red Cross has almost 850 disaster workers -- mostly volunteers -- on the ground in Iowa, Howe said. Southern Baptists have worked 1,931 volunteer days and served 96,376 meals throughout the region, according to the North American Mission Board's Disaster Operations Center.