Religion Today Summaries - May 3, 2011

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - May 3, 2011

Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.

In today's edition:

  • Osama bin Laden's Death Merits Prayer, Mission Group Says
  • 'Passion of the Christ' Actor Says Hollywood Shunned Him
  • Christians in Tornado-Wrecked South Pray for Help
  • Catholic Adoption Agency Told It Cannot Refuse Same-Sex Couples


Osama bin Laden's Death Merits Prayer, Mission Group Says

Missionaries from the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention have called American Christians to pray rather than celebrate following the death of terrorist leader Osama bin Laden. "They have really pled that Christians here, instead of celebrating, would fall on their knees and pray for an opportunity to share the Gospel," said Wendy Norvelle, IMB associate vice president and spokesperson, according to The Christian Post. "When there is a need for a sense of safety and peace, there's an opportunity to spread the message of a peace that surpasses human understanding," she said. She also noted that bin Laden's death puts Christians at higher risk, as al Qaeda-linked groups are expected to retaliate following the loss of their leader.

'Passion of the Christ' Actor Says Hollywood Shunned Him

Actor Jim Caviezel knew he was taking a controversial role when he played Jesus in the 2004 film "The Passion of the Christ." Since that role Caviezel says he has been "rejected in my own industry," a consequence director Mel Gibson warned him about before accepting the role. "He said, 'You'll never work in this town again.' I told him, 'We all have to embrace our crosses.'" Caviezel told an audience of churchgoers in Orlando, Florida, according to the UK Daily Mail. "Jesus is as controversial now as he has ever been," he continued. "Not much has changed in 2,000 years." The actor said he wasn't worried about his career, however, saying that his faith guides him both personally and professionally. He also encouraged people not to look down Gibson, who was arrested for drunk driving and accused of making anti-Semitic remarks. "Mel Gibson, he's a horrible sinner, isn't he?" Caviezel said. "Mel Gibson doesn't need your judgment, he needs your prayers."

Christians in Tornado-Wrecked South Pray for Help

Parishioners in tornado-ravaged towns across the south prayed for help Sunday - many in the open air outside churches leveled by the deadly storms. However, church leaders were determined to gather. “This service is our response to tragedy. It shows that we are not victims. We are victors. We are visible victors,” said Pastor T.L. Lewis, who led a congregation of 5,000 outside the remains of Bethel Baptist Church in Pratt City, Ala. The New York Daily News reported that the church's stained glass window of Jesus was one of the only parts of the church to survive the storm. At least 342 people were killed across seven states in last week's storms. Relief groups such as Samaritan's Purse and World Vision are on the ground, distributing emergency supplies and hygiene kits. World Vision will also bring in a mobile distribution unit that will drive directly to affected communities. The group will shift to rebuilding efforts over the next 90 days.

Catholic Adoption Agency Told It Cannot Refuse Same-Sex Couples

Britain's last Catholic adoption agency must either close or drop its Catholic ethos after losing its case before the Charity Tribunal. Christian Today reports that the tribunal ruled that Catholic Care is not exempt from the Sexual Orientation Regulations in 2007 and therefore must consider gay and lesbian parents when placing children. The Tribunal admitted that there would be "a loss to society if the charity's skilled staff were no longer engaged in the task of preparing potential adopters to offer families to children awaiting an adoption placement." However, the "detriment to same-sex couples and... society generally" outweighed the possibility of closure. “It is unfortunate that those who will suffer as a consequence of this ruling will be the most vulnerable children, for whom Catholic Care has provided an excellent service for many years,” said the Bishop of Leeds, the Rt. Rev Arthur Roche.