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Religion Today Summaries - March 28, 2007

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - March 28, 2007

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

  • Congregation to Split from Episcopal Church
  • Two Pastors Arrested in Rajasthan
  • Alabamians Lead Nation in Biblical Knowledge
  • Church of England Considers Slavery Payments

Congregation to Split from Episcopal Church

Colorado's largest Episcopal congregation was left in turmoil after leaders voted to leave the denomination and the bishop responded by dismissing the parish's leadership, CNN.com reports. Colorado Springs' Grace Episcopal Church and St. Stephen's Parish are involved in the latest dispute among Episcopalians and worldwide Anglicans involving homosexuality and other issues. The vestry of Grace Church and St. Stephen's Parish on Monday voted to split from the national church and take direction from Nigeria-based Anglicans. Bishop Robert O'Neill rejected the church's move, saying the parish would remain part of the Episcopal Church. "People may leave the Episcopal Church but parishes cannot," O'Neill said. But rector Rev. Donald Armstrong III said O'Neill no longer has jurisdiction over the parish.

Two Pastors Arrested in Rajasthan

Police arrested Pastor Philip Abraham from Noida and Pastor Jacob Kunjumon from Mumbai in Ganga Nagar, Rajasthan on March 23, 2007 with the charges of alleged force conversion and insulting Hindu gods, ASSIST News Service reports. Sources said that both the pastors went to Ganga Nagar to attend a prayer meeting organized by a church in Ganga Nagar. They were arrested by local police while they were returning to Delhi. A Mr. Mandal Aggrawal lodged a complaint against the two pastors, saying they have been insulting Hindu gods, religion, and alluring people to convert to Christianity for one month.

Alabamians Lead Nation in Biblical Knowledge

According to The Church Report, most Alabama residents say they have a religious faith, and a majority in a new poll showed they have a basic knowledge of the Bible. “They don’t call it the Bible Belt for nothing," said Keith Nicholls, director of the USA Polling Group. Most Americans can’t identify even one of the four Gospels, according to polls cited by Boston University professor Stephen Prothero, who has received national acclaim for his recent book titled “Religious Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know - and Doesn’t" (see related story). By comparison, 70 percent of Alabamian respondents to last week’s Press-Register/University of South Alabama survey correctly named all four Gospels. Further, more than 70 percent of the Alabama respondents knew the location that the Bible identifies as Jesus’ birthplace - Bethlehem, even though only 16 percent knew that President Bush was making a reference to the biblical parable of the good Samaritan when he cited the Jericho Road in his first inaugural address. Click here to take Prothero's test.

Church of England Considers Slavery Payments

The Church of England is considering whether it should pay reparations for its role in the slave trade, the Archbishop of Canterbury has said, and London's Mayor has apologized for the city's involvement in the slave trade, ASSIST News Service reports. Dr. Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, took part in a march recognizing the abolition of slavery. Williams said there was "no quick solution," but the Church was beginning to ask and "work at" the question. The Church owned slaves on plantations in the Caribbean. The slaves owned by the Church were eventually freed in 1833. Ken Livingstone, the Mayor of London, apologized for the city's involvement in slavery. He called on Prime Minister Tony Blair to follow suit by issuing an official apology on behalf of the UK.