Religion Today Summaries - March 11, 2010

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - March 11, 2010

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

  • Habitat for Humanity Begins Homes for Quake-Hit Chileans
  • Iranian Pastor Tortured, Threatened for ‘Converting Muslims'
  • London: Christian Registrar Loses Discrimination Appeal
  • Archdiocese Refuses to Re-Enroll Children of Lesbian Parents

Habitat for Humanity Begins Homes for Quake-Hit Chileans

The Christian Post reports that Chile's rebuilding is already underway, with veteran development group Habitat for Humanity joining the effort. The organization will begin to clear ground on Monday for the first of 36 it plans to build in the country. The country has acknowledged that it needs help to fulfill immediate needs for shelter. Chilean President Michelle Bachelet told TVN, "We are looking to buy emergency temporary housing from Argentina and Brazil because there is simply not enough in Chile." The new Habitat for Humanity houses will go to people who had previously applied for a housing subsidy. The country has experienced more than 120 aftershocks of magnitude 5.0 or greater since the Feb. 27 earthquake. The death toll now hovers over 400, as missing people presumed dead in the original count of 800 have been found alive.

Iranian Pastor Tortured, Threatened for ‘Converting Muslims'

Compass Direct News an Assyrian pastor has faced torture and the threat of execution since his Feb. 2 arrest in ran, sources close to the case said. Pastor Wilson Issavi, 65, is accused of "converting Muslims" in the Islamic state. Iranian intelligence officials told Nazanin that her husband might be executed for his alleged activities. Issavi is the pastor of The Evangelical Church of Kermanshah in Isfahan, a 50-year-old church body. Iranian police also arrested Isfahan residents Hamid Shafiee and his wife Reyhaneh Aghajary on Feb. 28. Both are converts from Islam and house church leaders. Aghajary was at home with a group of other Christians when police came for her and her husband, who was not at home. Police handcuffed Aghajary and, upon finding boxes of Bibles, began beating her. Her husband Shafiee was arrested an hour later when he returned to the house. Their fate and whereabouts are still unknown.

London: Christian Registrar Loses Discrimination Appeal

Christian Today reports that Britain's Supreme Court has refused to hear an appeal from a Christian registrar who was dismissed because she would not register same-sex partnerships. Lillian Ladele says she was discriminated against due to her religious beliefs after the Islington Council in north London disciplined her. She refused to conduct the ceremonies because she said it went against her "religious conscience." A lower court found that she had not been discriminated against. "When the civil partnership legislation was passed, the public was told that it was simply to permit homosexual couples to enter into a legal union - it wouldn't affect anyone else. But it quickly became coercive," said Colin Hart, director of The Christian Institute, which has backed Ladele's legal campaign. He fears that current legislation could one day force churches to be coerced into holding civil partnership ceremonies.

Archdiocese Refuses to Re-Enroll Children of Lesbian Parents

CNN reports that a Catholic school in Boulder, Colorado, will not allow two children with lesbian parents to re-enroll at the school. A head of the archdiocese of Denver says the decision isn't about the morals of homosexual orientation. "But what the Church does teach is that sexual intimacy by anyone outside marriage is wrong; that marriage is a sacramental covenant; and that marriage can only occur between a man and a woman," said Archbishop Charles J. Chaput. "These beliefs are central to a Catholic understanding of human nature, family and happiness, and the organization of society." The two children at Sacred Heart of Jesus School would be in kindergarten and first grade next year. "It is simply that the lesbian couple is saying that their relationship is a good one that should be accepted by everyone; and the Church cannot agree to that," said the Rev. Bill Breslin, pastor of Sacred Heart of Jesus Church.