Religion Today Summaries - March 20, 2007

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - March 20, 2007

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

  • UMC Bishops Out of Touch with Members, Critic Says
  • Conservative Episcopal Bishop Rejected
  • Mohler Sets Record Straight after Incurring Wrath from Both Sides of Homosexuality Issue
  • One Third of English Christians Say: We've Suffered Discrimination

UMC Bishops Out of Touch with Members, Critic Says

A story states that an official with the Institute on Religion and Democracy says the leadership of the United Methodist Church does not represent most of those in the denomination. UMC bishops recently criticized President Bush for not budgeting enough money to help the nation's poor. UMC leaders have been known for their promotion of social causes that tend towards liberal politics. However, Mark Tooley of the IRD says the bishops don't represent the values of most UMC members. “In recent years and decades the church actually has moved away from its many decades of liberal ascendancy,” Tooley says, believing the UMC could return to conservative roots with new bishops who give scripture primacy.

Conservative Episcopal Bishop Rejected

According to The Church Report, Episcopal Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori took the highly unusual step of invalidating the election of a bishop in the Diocese of South Carolina, which has rejected her authority because of her liberal theological outlook. The last time the Episcopal Church threw out a bishop's election was more than seven decades ago. In this case, Jefferts Schori concluded that several Episcopal dioceses had failed to submit proper written consent for the election of the Very Rev. Mark Lawrence as required by church law. The denomination continues to struggle over whether parishioners with conflicting views on issues such as homosexuality and biblical inerrancy can co-exist. Church leaders must decide by Sept. 30 whether they should meet demands from Anglican archbishops to roll back their support for gays or lose their place as the U.S. wing of the world Anglican family.

Mohler Sets Record Straight after Incurring Wrath from Both Sides of Homosexuality Issue

R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, has written a follow-up article to one that originally appeared on his blog site (view original article here). In that article, Mohler enraged many evangelicals who understood him to be suggesting homosexuality had a discernable biological cause that science could one day locate. At the same time, many liberal homosexual-rights advocates felt Mohler was being hypocritical, or advocating abortion or hormonal changes for unborn babies science may determine to "be" oriented towards same-sex attraction. Following the firestorm, Mohler admits "much frustration about the way many in the media have handled the issue. Headlines proclaimed 'Seminary President Says Babies Born Gay' -- something I neither believe nor said." The seminary president was obviously disturbed to a greater degree with his fellow Christians who "jumped to conclusions," or sent letters dripping with hate toward homosexuals. Mohler said his intent in his original article was primarily to educate, but also to point out the contradiction that many of the same liberals who advocate homosexual rights as well as unrestricted abortion could one day find themselves painted into a logical corner: "If a biological marker (real or not) is ever claimed to mark homosexuality in prenatal testing, widespread abortion of such babies might well follow."

One Third of English Christians Say: We've Suffered Discrimination

The website This is London reports that one in three Christians claim to have suffered discrimination because of their religious views, citing a new poll by the BBC. The survey indicates that church-going Britons are increasingly facing prejudice in the media, the workplace, and their communities. The poll comes on the heels of the case of the British Airways worker who was banned from wearing a crucifix, while Muslim employees were allowed to wear headscarfs. A third of those polled claim Christians experience discrimination in the way the media portrays them. 25 percent said they thought they suffered discrimination in the workplace, and over 20 percent said Christians face discrimination in their local communities.