Religion Today Summaries - May 22, 2008

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - May 22, 2008

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

  • Appeals Court Offers Hope to Calif. Homeschoolers
  • Divided Anglicans Try Conversation Over Legislation
  • Iran: Police Arrest 12 Converts in Crackdown
  • Food Price Crisis Threatens Relief for the Poor

Appeals Court Offers Hope to Calif. Homeschoolers

Christian Newswire reports that the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), the nation's top conservative public interest law firm, is leading a diverse team of organizations to urge the California Court of Appeals to protect the rights of homeschooling families. The appeals court has agreed to rehear a February case in which the Court found that compulsory attendance laws allows only "private tutors" to educate, barring many parents because they do not hold valid state teaching certificates for every grade.The ACLJ, along with its affiliates, have filed an amicus briefing arguing that the parental right to homeschool flows from the Free Speech and Free Exercise Clauses of the First Amendment, thereby allowing homeschooling under both private school and private tutor exemptions.

Divided Anglicans Try Conversation Over Legislation

This summer, the once-a-decade Lambeth Conference of Anglican church leaders is ditching legislation for more "conversation" between members, according to the Christian Post. "The focus at this Lambeth that removes the emphasis on parliamentary procedure and legislation really brings us back to the heart of what it means to be a Christian community," said Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, head of The Episcopal Church in the United States, Tuesday. Amid church divisions, Archbishop of Canterbury Dr. Rowan Willaims, the Anglican spiritual leaders, plans to focus the conference on Bible study, conversations and equipping bishops to be "better" bishops. Some suspect this plan will mean skirting controversial issues, such as homosexual ordination, that have threatened to cause a schism for years. But the Rev. Dr. Ian Douglas, a member of the conference design group, said the bishops will engage in "purposeful conversations" concerning biblical authority and human sexuality among other topics. No voting or final decisions, however, will be made at the conference.

Iran: Police Arrest 12 Converts in Crackdown

Compass Direct News reports that police in the southern Iran city of Shiraz cracked down against known Muslim converts to Christianity, arresting members of three Christian families and confiscating their books and computers. Two couples were arrested on May 11. All four were subjected to hours of interrogation, questioning them solely “just about their faith and house church activities,” an Iranian source told Compass.The detained Christians were identified as Homayon Shokohie Gholamzadeh, 48, and his wife Fariba Nazemiyan Pur, 40; and Amir Hussein Bab Anari, 25, and his wife Fatemeh Shenasa, 25. Although three have been released, Gholamzadeh remains jailed. That same day police authorities also invaded the home of Hamid Allaedin Hussein, 58, arresting him and his three adult children. Over the past two years, Iran’s harsh Shiite Muslim regime has stepped up its efforts against mushrooming house church movements, routinely subjecting converts from Islam to both physical and psychological mistreatment.

Food Price Crisis Threatens Relief for the Poor

The current global food crisis, dubbed by some as the “silent tsunami,” has some relief angecies worrying that they will have to turn away those desperate for help, the Christian Post reports. In late April, the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) warned that “the steep and persistent rise in international food prices is hitting particularly hard on the poorest in Latin America and the Caribbean.” In Haiti, “Hunger continues to grow and the people are becoming increasingly desperate,” said Angel Aloma, executive director of Food for the Poor, one of the largest relief organizations in Haiti. “Last year we sent an average of 880,000 pounds of rice to Haiti every month... This year, we’re sending 1,763,000 pounds and it is a real challenge to keep up with the increased demand," he said. The food crisis as even led to violence and protests that left at least six people dead. WorldVision and the Salvation Army have reported similar problems of lower donations and increased need.