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Religion Today Summaries - June 3, 2011

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - June 3, 2011

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

In today's edition:

  • Week 8: China Arrests 20 More Christians
  • State AG Appeals Texas Graduation Prayer Ban
  • Christians Feel Unfairly Portrayed by BBC
  • Woman Leaves Estate to Harold Camping


Week 8: China Arrests 20 More Christians

Baptist Press reports that more than 20 members of a Beijing illegal church were arrested May 29 as they gathered for an outdoor service. The arrests marked the eighth straight week of public confrontation between the congregation and the Chinese government. Police arrested at least 22 members of Shouwang Church, which has been trying to meet outdoors after the government forced members from their indoor facility. Many more likely would have been arrested had police not placed most of the members under house arrest since Friday, preventing them from even leaving their house. The church has nearly 1,000 members. Twenty-one of the members were released by midnight, and the final one released the next day. All the church's leaders have been under house arrest for weeks, and some members have lost their jobs and been forced from their homes as the government pressures employers and landlords.

State AG Appeals Texas Graduation Prayer Ban

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott is joining a local school district's appeal to allow a Castroville high school to hold public prayer at a Saturday graduation ceremony. The Christian Post reports that a recent ruling by Chief U.S. District Judge Fred Biery banned Medina Valley High School students from calling for prayer in their graduation speeches, or even saying the word "amen." Abbott disagreed, saying, "The last thing these students should have done is to have ripped out from under them their ability to participate in a ceremony they've been expecting for the last four years." Americans United for Separation of Church and State filed the lawsuit last week on behalf of agnostics Christa and Danny Schultz, whose child will graduate from the school this weekend.

Christians Feel Unfairly Portrayed by BBC

Viewers who watch the BBC generally agree that Christianity often receives poor treatment compared to the network's portrayal of other religions. According to Christian Today, a survey conducted by the BBC itself found that many viewers "who perceived the BBC to be anti-Christian and as such misrepresenting Christianity." The report, based on a poll of 4,500 people and including BBC staff, is part of the broadcaster’s “Diversity Strategy," a service to meet BBC’s responsibility to both the Royal Charter and the Equality Act 2010. It notes from the results: “Christians are specifically mentioned as being badly treated, with a suggestion that more minority religions are better represented despite Christianity being the most widely observed religion within Britain.”

Woman Leaves Estate to Harold Camping

Eileen Heuwetter's aunt was an avid listener of Family Radio, the broadcast network headed by Harold Camping, but died before she could see his failed May 21 Rapture prediction. Heuwetter then discovered that she'd left almost her entire estate - around $300,000 - to Camping's organization. According to CNN, only Heuwetter and her sister received anything from their aunt's estate, and many family members protested the enormous contribution to Family Radio. Heuwetter, who is also the executor of her aunt's estate, disagreed. "This was not a woman who had anything. She literally had Family Radio on day and night -- she went to bed with it and woke up to it," she said. "That was all she had." Only later did Heuwetter realize that Family Radio was connected with the May 21 non-event. "I didn't know he was so crazy, and at this point I was incensed that this man was going to get everything my aunt had left."