Religion Today Summaries - May 16, 2007

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - May 16, 2007

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

  • Falwell Dies at Age 73 of Heart Fa tilure
  • Women Suffer for Faith Worldwide
  • Churches around the World becoming Green
  • Vietnam Crackdown on Human Rights Sparks Call to Action

Falwell Dies at Age 73 of Heart Failure reports that The Rev. Jerry Falwell, a long-time television evangelist and president of Liberty University, died of a heart attack after being found unconscious in his office on Tuesday. Ron Godwin, executive vice president of the university, told the Associated Press that Falwell had missed an appointment Tuesday morning. Falwell, who founded the Moral Majority three decades ago, was hospitalized twice for problems with his heart and lungs in early 2005. Dr. Carl Moore, Falwell's doctor and a cardiologist at Lynchburg General Hospital, said the conservative leader was discovered at 11:30 a.m. Eastern Time without a pulse, and efforts to revive him were unsuccessful.

Women Suffer for Faith Worldwide

A missionary with Open Doors International says it's important for Christians to know about the sufferings Christian women encounter in persecuted nations, reports. Anneke Companjen's new book Singing through the Night tells the stories of 22 women experiencing persecution in China, Columbia, Central Asia and elsewhere. "The common thread that runs throughout the book is the power of worship," the author notes. "The persecuted church is not just a church who sits down and is lame, like a lame duck, and beaten and crying only. They are also a worshipping church. I've seen that in China, I've seen that in Ethiopia, and I even hear stories from North Korea, where Christians walk high into the mountains and go into a cave in order to be able to sing praises to God."
Churches around the World becoming Green

Many Christians around New Zealand, and the rest of the world, are becoming increasingly concerned about the environment. As a result, they are encouraging churches to get more involved in the issue, ASSIST News Service reports. For many years the Christian community has assumed that “green” issues were not really their concern and left it to the so-called “greenies,” and left-leaning organizations such as Greenpeace. But in the 21st century, the environmental threats the planet is facing are becoming more apparent and many Christians are beginning to believe they are called to protect what God has created. A number of initiatives are under way to prompt churches and Christians to get actively involved, as well as to increase awareness about conservation issues. As an example, the Anglican Church last year passed a motion that committed that church to place particular emphasis on the first mark of its mission, which was “to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the Earth”.

Vietnam Crackdown on Human Rights Sparks Call to Action

The United States should compel Vietnam to reverse its crackdown on human rights that occurred after the communist regime received favorable treatment from Washington, witnesses said at a recent congressional hearing, according to Baptist Press. Southern Baptist church-state specialist Richard Land testified on behalf of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, reiterating the panel's recommendation that Vietnam be returned to a list of the world's worst violators of religious liberty and urging Congress to support human rights in the Southeast Asian country. White House and congressional leaders also have protested the renewed suppression. Vietnam made some improvements in its policies regarding religious expression and other human rights during the previous 18 months, but it renewed some repressive practices in February, according to testimony May 10 to the Congressional Human Rights Caucus.