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Religion Today Summaries - May 11, 2007

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - May 11, 2007

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

  • Churches to Provide Immigrants Sanctuary
  • Interest in Religion Increases on College Campuses
  • Historic Prayer Gathering for Eritrean Christians in Nairobi
  • Homosexual Activists Track, Taunt Priest

Churches to Provide Immigrants Sanctuary

According to an article in the Las Vegas Sun, churches in five big U.S. cities plan to protect illegal immigrants from deportation, offering their buildings as sanctuary if need be. These churches intend to pressure lawmakers to find an avenue for the nation's estimated 12 million illegal immigrants to become American citizens. On Wednesday, a Catholic church in Los Angeles and a Lutheran church in North Hollywood each sheltered one person, and churches in other cities plan to do so in coming months as part of the "New Sanctuary Movement." "We want to put a human face to very complex immigration laws and awaken the consciousness of the human spirit," said Father Richard Estrada of Our Lady Queen of Angels Catholic Church in L.A.
Interest in Religion Increases on College Campuses

At college campuses across the nation, including Harvard and Berkeley, chaplains and professors say students are more interested in religion and spirituality than at any time they can remember, according to a report by The New York Times cited on Baptist Press. "My theory is that the baby boomers decided they weren't going to impose their religious life on their children the way their parents imposed it on them. The idea was to let them come to it themselves," Lloyd Steffen, a chaplain at Lehigh University, told The Times May 2. "And then they get to campus and things happen; someone dies, a suicide occurs. Real issues arise for them, and they sometimes feel that they don't have resources to deal with them," Steffen said. "And sometimes they turn to religion and courses in religion."

Historic Prayer Gathering for Eritrean Christians in Nairobi

Eritrean Christians from all over the world are gathering in Nairobi, Kenya on Sunday, May 13, 2007, to participate in a National Day of Prayer for their country, ASSIST News Service reports. According to a media release from Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), the event is the first of its kind and has been organized by the newly inaugurated Eritrean Evangelical Fellowship in Africa and the Middle East (EEF-AME). Participants will include leaders and ordinary Christians from the Eritrean Christian diaspora. “We are expecting hundreds of people to come together, some from within Kenya and others from abroad”, the organization’s General Secretary said. Many of those who will be attending have fled Eritrea to escape the severe persecution that has continued unabated since 2002, when the government decreed the closure of all churches not belonging to the Orthodox, Catholic or Lutheran denominations, and began to harass and indefinitely detain Christians in increasing numbers.

Homosexual Activists Track, Taunt Priest

The Rocky Mountain News reports that Episcopalian priest Don Armstrong has become the target of a gay-rights group that has attempted to hit him with a pie during a church service, and posted photos on the internet of the priest allegedly parking his car illegally. "Don Armstrong deserves it for any number of reasons," said Noel Black of Newspeak, a Colorado Springs publication. During this past Sunday's 9 a.m. service, Armstrong nearly was hit by a pie thrown at him. The 18-year-old accused in the incident is an occasional writer for Newspeak. "I think it's great, a time-honored tradition of political protest," Black said, adding that it's Armstrong's history of opposing gay rights that brings such retribution. Three years ago, as part of Black's "Kick a Church" campaign, "Grace Episcopal was the first church we ever kicked because of Don Armstrong's extreme, in my opinion, opposition to the ordination of gays and lesbians." Armstrong is already dealing with accusations of shady financial dealings, which he says are rumors started because of his stance against the Episcopal Church USA for the church's support of ordaining openly gay bishops and same-sex blessings.