Religion Today Summaries - March 18, 2011

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - March 18, 2011

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

In today's edition:

  • Florida Missionary Released From Haitian Jail
  • Japan: World Vision Stays Out of Radiation Zones
  • Tsunami Has Made Us 'Miserable,' Japan Bishop Says
  • NH Court Upholds Order to Send Homeschooled Girl to Public School


Florida Missionary Released From Haitian Jail

After sitting in a Haitian prison for five months without charges, pastor Daniel Pye has finally walked free on Wednesday. Pye, 29, and his wife run an orphanage in the southern city of Jacmel in Haiti. No one is quite sure why Pye was held so long, although rumors include everything from a judge's personal vendetta to disorganized paperwork to friendly fire. Fox News reports that the American Center for Law and Justice, which helped secure Daniel's release after signing on to the case Friday, said fear of additional media exposure was key to getting him out. Pye was initially jailed over a property dispute with fellow missionaries, then released after signing over ownership, then jailed again on suspicion of having an invalid residency card. Pye is reportedly headed back to Florida to be with his wife, Leann, who about to give birth.

Japan: World Vision Stays Out of Radiation Zones

The perimeter around a compromised nuclear power plant in Japan has affected aid work following Japan's earthquake, Christianity Today reports. World Vision workers in Japan are doing what they can to help out in the wake of the tragedy while staying clear of the radiation zones, says a spokesperson for the Christian humanitarian organization. Because Japan is a developed country, however, World Vision staff in Japan were more focused on fundraising for programs in developing countries, though some staff have disaster-relief experience elsewhere. "Right now World Vision has staff that sere serving the people who have been evacuated," says Amy Parodi, a media relations representative for World Vision. "Our expertise is not in nuclear response...we're trying to figure out how many people to bring in, what level of risk to take, and trying to make sure we make really informed decisions so that we keep our staff safe as well."

Tsunami Has Made Us 'Miserable,' Japan Bishop Says

Churches in the hardest-hit areas of Japan say they are still trying to confirm the safety of their parishioners a week after the earthquake and tsunami struck. Christian Today reports that The Bishop of Tohoku, the Rt. Rev. John Hiromichi Kato, said that the affected area was very wide and travel is difficult. At least three of the diocese churches are safe, but their small congregations are mostly unaccounted for. About 450,000 people in Japan are housed in temporary shelters, and electricity, gas and clean water are spotty at best. “The tsunami and fires it caused have made us miserable,” Kato said. “We were simply not prepared for problems on this scale.” He continued, “The eventual challenge is to rebuild our diocese. With God’s blessing I pray that we will accomplish this task."

NH Court Upholds Order to Send Homeschooled Girl to Public School

The Christian Post reports that an 11-year-old will begin public school despite her mother's - and allegedly her own - wish to remain homeschooled. The New Hampshire Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld a lower court decision that mandated the move, requested by the girl's divorced father, Martin Kurowski. He argued that homeschooling prevented "adequate socialization" for his daughter. The three-judge panel avoided setting a precedent favoring public education over home education, but still sided with the girl's father. In its opinion, the high court stated, “While this case has religious overtones, it is not about religion. While it involves home schooling, it is not about the merits of home versus public schooling. This case is only about resolving a dispute between two parents, with equal constitutional parenting rights and joint decision-making responsibility, who have been unable to agree how to best educate daughter.”