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Religion Today Summaries - June 26, 2008

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - June 26, 2008

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

  • Anglicans Vow No Schism over Gays, Dogma
  • Obama Dismisses Dobson Criticism
  • Zimbabwe: Political Woes Affect Relief Org.
  • Indonesia: Church Buildings Dismantled

Anglicans Vow No Schism over Gays, Dogma

The Washington Post reports that in spite of serious divisions over homosexuality and biblical authority, conservative Anglicans will not cause a schism, they said. "We are Anglicans by conviction and have no intention to start another church," Archbishop of Nigeria Peter Akinola said from the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) meeting in Jerusalem Tuesday. GAFCON leaders maintain the "apostasy" of the Episcopal Church but hope to rejuvenate the 77-million-member Anglican Communion from the inside, working within the Anglican constitutions and canons. Archbishop Emmanuel Kolini of Rwanda called the gathering of traditionalists "a new Reformation" that would take Anglicans "back to the Bible." Bishop Martyn Minns, the former rector of Truro Episcopal Church in Fairfax, Va., concurred. "What was driving this is not politics, it is a passion for the Gospel," he said.

Obama Dismisses Dobson Criticism

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama responded Tuesday to evangelical leader James Dobson, saying Dobson was "just making stuff up, maybe for his own purposes," according to OneNewsNow. Dobson accused Obama of distorting the Bible in a speech made in 2006. Obama said "somebody would be pretty hard-pressed to make that argument" that he was distorting the Bible. Some of Obama's supporters responded to Dobson's comments by launching a Web site -- JamesDobsonDoesntSpeakForMe.com -- that highlights statements from Obama and Dobson and asks visitors to compare them. Speaking to reporters on his campaign plane before landing in Los Angeles, Obama said the speech made the argument that people of faith, like himself, "try to translate some of our concerns in a universal language so that we can have an open and vigorous debate rather than having religion divide us."

Zimbabwe: Political Woes Affect Relief Org.

Mission News Network reports that the ever-escalating violence surrounding Zimbabwe's election on Friday has forced more groups than the Opposition Party to back down, as Mugabe's government has order one relief organization not to distribute aid. Global Aid Network (GAiN USA) postponed a ministry trip after opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai officially pulled out of tomorrow's election and has sought refuge in the Dutch embassy, citing pro-Mugabe violence that makes it too dangerous for his supporters to reach the polls. Several countries are threatening not to recognize Mugabe should he declare victory, and experts surmise that violence may break any post-election peace. GAiN has rescheduled the ministry trip for May 2009. The order against distribution has frustrated attempts to reach people with the gospel. "As a result, there are many people that they could reach, who have great physical needs as well as spiritual needs that are not being helped," said GAiN USA's Charles Debter.

Indonesia: Church Buildings Dismantled

According to Compass Direct News, local authorities accompanied by an Islamist mob attempted to demolish two buildings in a church compound used by three congregations in Jatimulya village, West Java province on June 14. The initial dismantling of a roof, doors and fence came to a halt after one of several Public Order officers from Bekasi Regency fell from the roof of one of the buildings. Authorities had sealed the buildings shut since 2005. Since then, church members have been meeting in homes. On June 10 officials had informed church leaders and their lawyers that the buildings would be destroyed on June 14. When the pastors pointed out that demolition would be in violation of a 2005 agreement, authorities told them the agreement was no longer in force. The day of the planned demolition, a pastor of one of the churches, the Rev. Pestaria Hutajulu, released a statement saying, “Jesus taught us to obey the government. However, ‘Whoever destroys the temple of God will be destroyed by the Lord.’”