Religion Today Summaries - May 30, 2007

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - May 30, 2007

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

  • Protestors Turn Out for Opening of Creation Museum
  • Eritrea Installs Controversial New Orthodox Patriarch
  • Egypt: Keeping the Copts Subjugated
  • Missionary Back to Work Despite Paralysis by Gunshot

Protestors Turn Out for Opening of Creation Museum

The president of Answers in Genesis says he's not surprised that protestors turned out for the opening of the Creation Museum, reports. But Ken Ham finds it ironic that one group claiming to be defending constitutional freedom wants to silence the creation story. While thousands of people visited the Creation Museum in northern Kentucky for its opening weekend, protest groups outside the gates included atheists, humanists, and a group called DEFCON ("DEFend the CONstitution") which flew a plane overhead with a message reading: "Thou shalt not lie." "[Do you] know why they're scared?" Ham asked. "Because for the first time we've built a major facility where we're using real observational science to confirm the Bible's history."

Eritrea Installs Controversial New Orthodox Patriarch

The fourth patriarch of the Eritrean Orthodox Tewhado Church was installed this weekend while the former patriarch is reportedly still detained under house arrest, The Christian Post reports. His Holiness Abune Dioskoros received the key to the Holy Shrine and was sworn in during his investiture ceremony and anointment at St. Mary Church in Eritrea’s capital city Asmara on Sunday. Dioskoros was appointed as the new Eritrean Orthodox head on Apr. 19 and reportedly was approved by the Holy Synod unanimously. Opponents, however, have accused the Eritrean government of propping up the new patriarch after removing the former pontiff from office for unknown reasons. It is estimated that some 2,000 Christians are currently detained without trial or charge in Eritrea.

Egypt: Keeping the Copts Subjugated

On 11 May, Muslims in the village of Bimha in Ayat district left their mosques after Friday prayers, armed and zealous for jihad against the indigenous Coptic Christian community and their solitary, partially built church. According to ASSIST News Service, the violent Muslim pogrom in Bimha bears the same features of other anti-Christian pogroms of the past decade. These familiar elements indicate that the security situation for Egypt's indigenous Copts (who are Christian) is growing increasingly tenuous. The tragedy in Bimha takes Egypt another step backwards into religious and ethnic apartheid as it further reinforces Egypt's indigenous Christian Copts not as equal citizens, but as a subjugated people – dhimmis. It also presents Egyptians with yet another precedent which demonstrates that Copts (Egypt's remnant indigenous peoples, the descendants of the Pharaohs, Christians for nearly 2000 years) can be terrorized, robbed and killed with impunity.

Missionary Back to Work Despite Paralysis by Gunshot

An article in the Des Moines Register tells the story of John Leonard, 47, a longtime member of and missionary for the Saylorville Baptist Church north of Des Moines. Leonard was shot at close range by two gunmen outside his mission church in Brazil on July 3, 2005, leaving him paralyzed from his armpits down. Yet he plans to return. "The gunmen failed," Leonard said Sunday before a church service in his honor. "They didn't succeed. I'm still here. I'm not dead yet, which means I'm still a missionary, and have work to do." Leonard's doctors don't recommend going back, but he said, "My heart is in Brazil, and I treasure the lost souls of Brazil." Leonard's road to recovery has been difficult, but miraculous. "They didn't know if he'd make it through the night, let alone the week. But not only did he make it through, he came out firing," said the Rev. Pat Nemmers, pastor of Saylorville Baptist.