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Religion Today Summaries - June 26, 2007

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - June 26, 2007

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

  • Greg Laurie, Anne Graham Lotz Point Over 41,000 to Heaven
  • Report Accuses North Korea of Crimes against Humanity
  • Anglican Church Recruits Homer Simpson to Help Fill the Pews
  • Americans Misinformed about Poverty, but Involved in Helping Poor

Greg Laurie, Anne Graham Lotz Point Over 41,000 to Heaven

The Christian Post reports that evangelist Greg Laurie brought the message of Jesus Christ to over 41,000 North Carolinians this past weekend during Triangle Harvest 07 at the RBC Center in Raleigh. "Jesus would not have suffered and died on a cross if all roads led to God," he said. Among Sunday night’s crowd of 16,500 was Anne Graham Lotz, daughter of Billy Graham. Laurie called Lotz's mother, the late Ruth Graham, "The best example I have ever seen of a deeply spiritual, yet very down-to-earth person." "I can tell you that as a family we're hurting," said Lotz at the event. "It doesn't matter if you know you're going to see them again in heaven; it just hurts." Even so, she assured the crowd that her father is doing okay. Over 2,470 people made decisions for Christ during the three-night Triangle Harvest.

Report Accuses North Korea of Crimes against Humanity

According to ASSIST News Service, a new report from Christian Solidarity Worldwide has accused North Korea of international crimes including crimes against humanity and recommends that the UN establish a strong commission of inquiry. CSW’s report, North Korea: A Case to Answer – A Call to Act, states that “there is a prima facie case for the commission of crimes against humanity, namely murder, extermination, enslavement/forced labour, forcible transfer of population, arbitrary imprisonment, torture, persecution, enforced disappearance of persons, other inhumane acts and, perhaps, rape and sexual violence. It also examines the possibility of genocide and concludes that there are indicators of genocide against religious groups, specifically Christians, implemented in particular in the 1950s and 1960s. The strictly hierarchical system of government and the information available about decision-making in North Korea suggests that the political leadership, and in particular Kim Jong-Il, is responsible for the commission of such crimes.”

Anglican Church Recruits Homer Simpson to Help Fill the Pews

Homer Simpson may seem an unlikely role model for the Church of England, yet according to a report in the Daily Mail, the Archbishop of Canterbury thinks Homer & Co. may be able to attract youngsters to services. A new book by youth worker Owen Smith called Mixing It Up With The Simpsons is being sent to Anglican youth workers, while clergy are being asked to show their congregations episodes of the Simpsons that deal with key Christian themes such as punishment, love and the Second Coming. Smith said the series is full of Biblical allusions and messages, adding, "The Simpsons is hugely moral, with many episodes dealing with issues and dilemmas faced by young people."

Americans Misinformed about Poverty, but Involved in Helping Poor

A new national survey by The Barna Group regarding people's perspectives on poverty shows that Americans are quite concerned about what they perceive to be a significant and growing challenge facing the nation. The survey also showed that most people are actively involved in trying to alleviate poverty, although they typically believe it is primarily the government’s job to do so. Religious faith appears to have a limited influence on how people perceive and respond to poverty. Evangelical Christians were only half as likely (11%) as the rest of the adult population to deem poverty to be the nation’s most vexing social challenge. Overall, 72 percent consider poverty to be one of the most serious social problems facing the United States today. When asked to estimate the percentage of people in the country who live in poverty, according to government statistics, the average estimate was 30%. Over the past forty years, federal statistics have pegged the poverty level in the 12% to 15% range. Currently, the estimate is about 13%.