Religion Today Summaries - March 31, 2005

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk News Staff

Religion Today Summaries - March 31, 2005

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

  • More Americans Skipping Church 

  • Federal Judges Rule Indiana Ten Commandments Display Constitutional 

  • Falwell Taken Off Ventilator; Doctors Upgrade Condition 

  • Pakistan

More Americans Skipping Church
Erin Curry, Baptist Press

The latest study by The Barna Group identifies a growing trend for spiritual Americans to exercise their faith in places other than church, and George Barna said it would not be surprising if a larger portion of the born-again population shifts "from the 'churched' to 'unchurched' column of the ledger over the next 10 years." Barna found that one out of five unchurched people read the Bible in a typical week, six out of 10 pray to God each week, and 5 percent have shared their faith in Jesus Christ with people who are not professing Christians during the past year. Also, nearly 1 million unchurched adults tithe their income, though the money typically goes to a variety of parachurch ministries rather than a local church. During a typical month, six out of 10 unchurched adults worship God in a place other than a church service, Barna said. Three out of 10 study the Bible and one out of seven have times of prayer and Bible reading with family members. Four out of 10 seek Christian enrichment through television, radio, magazines or faith-based websites, and one-fourth of unchurched adults claim to have conversations with one or more friends who hold them accountable for carrying out their faith principles. Overall, Barna concluded that one in three American adults are unchurched. (

Federal Judges Rule Indiana Ten Commandments Display Constitutional
Allie Martin and Jenni Parker, Agape Press

A federal appeals court has upheld a display of the Ten Commandments as part of a historical exhibit in one Indiana government building. The Seventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that officials in Elkhart, Indiana, did not violate the establishment clause of the Constitution of the United States by displaying the biblical laws in the County Administration Building (Elkhart County). That display also includes nine historical documents and symbols, along with the flags of the United States and the State of Indiana. Mat Staver is president of Liberty Counsel, the legal group that represented the county in the case. He says the ruling is significant because the Elkhart County display is identical to the Ten Commandments display at the center of a case that is now under consideration by the justices of the Supreme Court in Washington, DC. "We will notify the United States Supreme Court of the recent ruling by the Federal Court of Appeals," Staver says, "and I think this Court of Appeals decision has good rationale, good reasoning, and sound logic that could be influential in the final outcome of the Kentucky Ten Commandments case currently pending before the Supreme Court."

Falwell Taken Off Ventilator; Doctors Upgrade Condition
Baptist Press

Falwell was taken off a ventilator March 30 and his status was upgraded to serious but stable condition, hospital officials said in a statement. The day before, Falwell's status was listed as critical. Falwell, 71, was admitted to Lynchburg General Hospital late March 28 after having difficulty breathing. Hospital officials now say that swelling and fluid in his lungs caused his problem. They found no evidence of a heart attack. He was admitted to the hospital because of "respiratory arrest," the statement read. "He's very stable," Falwell assistant Ron Godwin said, according to the Associated Press. "His vitals are steady and strong." President Bush called Falwell to wish him well, the AP reported. Falwell also was in the hospital for nearly two weeks in late February and early March, battling pneumonia. Doctors March 30 said that Falwell's latest condition seems to be unrelated to the earlier bout with pneumonia. "Family members expressed their thanks for the outpouring of prayers and good wishes they have received," a hospital statement read. Falwell serves as pastor of Thomas Road Baptist Church, a Southern Baptist church in Lynchburg, and as chancellor of Liberty University.

Charisma News Service

Armed Muslim gunmen attacked a church last Sunday, killing one worshiper and injuring seven other members of the congregation. The shooters opened fire on Easter worshipers as they left Victory Church International (VCI) in Khamba village near Lahore, Compass Direct reported. A husband and father of a 1-year-old girl, Irshad Masih, in his early 20s, died from a bullet that struck his head during 30 minutes of indiscriminate shooting by the four shooters. According to International Christian Concern (ICC), the church had rebuffed pressure from its Muslim neighbors to give up its land to the Muslim community because the property had risen significantly in value. That pressure and a history of attacks on the Pakistani Christian community led VCI to ask for police protection for their Easter service. The congregation's request was granted and police were stationed at the entrance of the church. However, the police guarding the congregation left their posts just prior to the attack, ICC said. Police said they had arrested two of the four suspects in the shooting and attributed the attack to the local land dispute. Local observers, though, discounted that version of events. "Actually, it is terrorism," one source told Compass. "They attacked people and started indiscriminate firing upon a congregation of some 150 people." (