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Religion Today Summaries - March 17, 2010

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - March 17, 2010

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

  • Survey: Less than Half Link Easter to the Resurrection
  • Vietnam Frees Catholic Priest after Three Years
  • 7th World Vision Staff Dies after Pakistan Attack
  • Haitian Judge Weighs New Charge for U.S. Missionary

Survey: Less than Half Link Easter to the Resurrection

Religion News Service reports that less than half of U.S. adults link Easter directly to the Resurrection of Jesus, even though most describe Easter as a religious holiday. According to a Barna Group survey, seven in 10 respondents mentioned religion or spirituality in their response to an open-ended question about how they describe what Easter means to them personally. But just 42 percent tied Easter to the Resurrection. At 73 percent, baby boomers (ages 45 to 63) were the most likely to describe Easter as a religious holiday, compared to two-thirds of those ages 26 to 44 and Americans 64 and older. The youngest group of adults (ages 18 to 25) were least likely, at 58 percent, to use that kind of description. "The Easter holiday in particular still has a distinctly religious connection for people but ... the specifics of it are really fading in a lot of people's minds," said David Kinnaman, president of the Barna Group,

Vietnam Frees Catholic Priest after Three Years

Christian Solidarity Worldwide reports that a prominent Catholic Priest was released from prison in Hanoi yesterday after three years in solitary confinement. The 63-year-old priest has suffered two strokes in jail, leaving him partially paralyzed. His release follows a sustained international campaign on his behalf, in which Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) was involved. The campaign was led by the US-based legal advocacy group, Freedom Now and included a statement last July by 37 US Senators calling on the President of Vietnam to free Father Nguyen Van Ly. Father Ly has been a leading human rights defender since the 1970s, campaigning for religious freedom, democracy and free media reporting. He has spent more than 15 years in prison in total. CSW's Advocacy Director, Tina Lambert, said the priest will now receive medical attention.

7th World Vision Staff Dies after Pakistan Attack

Christian Post reports that another World Vision Pakistan member has died after last week's attack by gunmen. Imtiaz John, 34, had worked with World Vision since 2006. Six other World Vision workers died when 15 gunmen burst into their offices last Wednesday and corralled workers. John's wife, baby, and extended family all depended on him for financial support. "Our staffs are motivated by a straightforward interest in providing a better life for children," said Charles Dokmo, World Vision's regional vice president, trying to assess the motive for the attack. "Where extremists teach hate, our staff work with mothers and fathers to help needy children; where extremists sow violence, our staff work with farmers to plant the seeds of a more prosperous community, and where extremists encourage intolerance, our staff nurture respect for human life and human dignity."

Haitian Judge Weighs New Charge for U.S. Missionary

Baptist Press reports that Laura Silsby, the last of 10 Baptist missions volunteers detained in Haiti on suspicion of kidnapping, now faces a new charge. Silsby, who led the team, is accused of attempting to take 40 children out of Haiti without proper paperwork on Jan. 26, three days before the 10-member team was prevented from crossing the border into the Dominican Republic with 33 children. Haitian Judge Bernard Saint-Vil announced the additional charge of "organizing irregular travel" March 12. He had released the ninth team member, Charisa Coulter, March 8 after more than five weeks in jail. The other team members were freed Feb. 18. The new charge is based on information provided by a Haitian official who said he prevented the Jan. 26 incident after being alerted by a concerned citizen about a bus loaded with Haitian children. The charge carries a penalty of three to six years imprisonment if convicted.