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Religion Today Summaries - May 25, 2010

Religion Today Summaries - May 25, 2010

Daily briefs of the top Christian news and persecution stories impacting believers around the world.

In today's edition:

  • Study: Parenthood Does Not Make for Active Churchgoers
  • Two Iranian Christians Acquitted, But Warned
  • Sri Lanka Flooding Worst Disaster Since 2004 Asian Tsunami
  • Evangelicals Push 'Theology of Sex,' Abortion Reduction

Study: Parenthood Does Not Make for Active Churchgoers

The Christian Post reports that the link between parenthood and church attendance isn't as strong as once thought. A new study by the Barna Group found that about half of American parents said that having children did not influence their connection to a church or change their involvement. Only 17 percent of parents said having a child helped them reconnect with church after a long period of not attending. Parenthood prompted new attendance in 5 percent of those surveyed. "Parenthood might help to clarify and enhance people's pursuit of spirituality, but usually it does not fundamentally alter a parent's spiritual trajectory. Getting people to transition from church involvement based upon religious inertia to activity driven by a sense of engagement is exceedingly difficult - and relatively rare." said David Kinnaman, president of the Barna Group.

Two Iranian Christians Acquitted, But Warned

Open Doors USA reports that Iranian Christians Maryam Rostampour, 28, and Marzieh Amirizadeh, 31, are now free. Fourteen months after they were arrested for their Christian faith and activities, the women have been acquitted of all charges by Iranian judicial authorities. But they were warned that any future Christian activity in Iran will be seriously dealt with. On Saturday they left Iran and arrived safely in another country. "Praise the Lord for the great news of their acquittal and freedom in another country," said Open Doors USA President/CEO Dr. Carl Moeller. "Literally millions of Christians around the world have been praying for them. Maryam and Marzieh were first arrested in March 2009. Both women refused to recant their faith in Jesus Christ despite harsh treatment. They faced repeated interrogations, weeks in solitary confinement and unhealthy prison conditions.

Sri Lanka Flooding Worst Disaster Since 2004 Asian Tsunami

Christian Newswire reports that at least 20 people are confirmed dead and hundreds of thousands are homeless as a result of flooding on the island nation of Sri Lanka. "This is the worst flooding to hit the country since the Asian tsunami devastated Sri Lanka in 2004," said Gospel for Asia President Dr. K.P. Yohannan. "They had absolutely no warning that this huge storm was on the way. It took them totally by surprise." Yohannan had just spoken with Lal Vanderwal, GFA's country leader in Sri Lanka, who reports that entire villages are underwater. "Their homes are flooded and they've lost everything," Dr. Yohannan said. The flooding was caused by torrential rains that inundated the teardrop-shaped island for more than a week. An estimated 600,000 people were displaced by the flooding. Gospel for Asia Compassion Services teams are already providing emergency medical care, food rations, clean water, and other immediate household needs.

Evangelicals Push 'Theology of Sex,' Abortion Reduction

Religion News Service reports that the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) on May 20 launched an initiative to reduce abortions by promoting a "Theology of Sex" for churches. The Washington-based umbrella organization also pledged to find common ground with opponents on abortion. "There's a sense that, whatever our laws are, abortion is a problem because of the underlying issues of how we treat sex," said Galen Carey, director of government affairs for the NAE. NAE leaders have concluded that churches are not doing a "good job" of teaching about sex and marriage and should better address the high percentage of cohabiting unmarried young adults, including many evangelicals. "Addressing that subject will do a lot, we think, to reduce the number of unplanned pregnancies and the number of abortions," Carey said.