Religion Today Summaries - May 26, 2010

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - May 26, 2010

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

In today's edition:

  • Tennessee Flood Strains Budgets of Area Churches
  • Allegedly Raped Girl, Family in Pakistan Forced to Flee Town
  • Hindu Radicals Demolish Church, Install Temple in India
  • Poll: Opposition to Gay Marriage Shows Slight Decrease

Tennessee Flood Strains Budgets of Area Churches reports that congregations throughout middle Tennessee are cleaning up their buildings and facing steep price tags to fully recover. "We were wondering, 'Has anyone seen any animals going two by two?'" joked James Richard McMahon, chairman of deacons at New Hope Baptist Church in Hendersonville. "But...there was no feeling to express our devastation at that point to what water can do. It was just disheartening." The sanctuary, which dates back to 1845, filled with five feet of water during the recent floods. The church's members have raised $20,000 of the necessary $40,000 to $50,000 of reconstruction costs, and must now look for outside help. McMahon said the congregation will have to acquire with "a whole lot of prayers."

Allegedly Raped Girl, Family in Pakistan Forced to Flee Town

Compass Direct News reports that a Christian who accused a Muslim of raping his 12-year-old daughter has fled his town in Punjab Province with his family. This follows repeated death threats to the family and police pressure to drop the case. Zafar Masih left Gujranwala's predominantly Muslim town of Nai Abadi Tatlay Aali within 10 days of accusing Ali Ahmed, a 28-year-old businessman, of beating and raping his daughter on May 12. His daughter, whose name was withheld, told Compass that her employer, Ahmed, beat and raped her when she went to his home, where she worked as a house servant. After finding out, Masih says he immediately went to Tatlay Aali police station and submitted an application to file a First Information Report against Ahmed. Station House Officer Inspector Iqbal Ojjhra refused, he said, and began to pressure him to withdraw the application.

Hindu Radicals Demolish Church, Install Temple in India

ASSIST News Service reports that Hindu extremists demolished a church under construction in Anantpur, Andhra Pradesh state, on Sunday morning. In what was left of the building, the group then placed an idol of Hindu god Hanuman. According to the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), the church was destroyed by members of Rashtriya Swayam Sevaks (RSS), a Hindu radical group, despite the fact that the believers had secured all the necessary permits to build their house of worship in that place. "They didn't like the building being put up in that spot and so they decided to attack and then destroy it and then put up an idol of a Hindu God," said a GCIC spokesperson. The church's pastor an several other believers say they asked the nearest police station for help. Police allegedly refused to file any complaint.

Poll: Opposition to Gay Marriage Shows Slight Decrease

Religion News Service reports that a slight majority of Americans continue to oppose same-sex marriage, but their opposition has decreased slightly in recent years, according to a new Gallup Poll. Fifty-three percent of Americans polled oppose legalizing same-sex marriage, compared to 44 percent who favor it. But the opposition tied with the lowest rate ever measured by Gallup, from 2007. In 1996, when Gallup first asked about the legality of gay marriage, 68 percent of Americans were opposed and 27 percent supported it. In the most recent poll, Americans who said religion is "very important" in their lives opposed legal same sex marriage by 70 percent to 27 percent. Americans who said religion was not important supported gay marriage by a similar margin, 71 percent to 27 percent. The latest national telephone poll of 1,029 adults had a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.