Religion Today Summaries - May 30, 2011

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - May 30, 2011

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

In today's edition:

  • Pastor Wins Fight to Say 'Jesus Christ' in Memorial Day Prayer
  • Wife of Chinese Church Leader Released
  • Settlement Reached in Eddie Long Case
  • Joplin Devastation Leave City 'Stunned'


Pastor Wins Fight to Say 'Jesus Christ' in Memorial Day Prayer

Pastor Scott Rainey will invoke the name of "Jesus Christ" at Houston National Cemetery today despite the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs' attempt to stop him. A federal judge ruled Thursday that Rainey, lead pastor at the Living Word Church of the Nazarene, cannot by censored and granted a temporary restraining order against the VA. "The government cannot gag citizens when it says it is in the interest of national security, and it cannot do it in some bureaucrat's notion of cultural homogeneity," U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes wrote in his three-page order, according to The Christian Post. "The right to free expression ranges from the dignity of Abraham Lincoln's speeches to Charlie Sheen's rants."

Wife of Chinese Church Leader Released

China Aid reports that one of the 10 house church Christians sentenced in late 2009 to jail and labor camp has been released on medical parole due. Yang Caizhen, whose husband was one of the senior leaders of the Linfen Church, was released due to her seriously deteriorating health. All 10 of the Christians were convicted when the government suppressed a vast house church network based in Shanxi province. Due to the high cost of long-term hospitalization at the prison’s expense, the prison director decided to release Yang into her family’s care at their own expense. She is now at home, being cared for by her mother, brother and sister-in-law. Yang, formerly a medical doctor, was given an extra-judicial two-year re-education-through-labor term which she was serving at the Shanxi Women’s Prison in the capital city of Taiyuan.

Settlement Reached in Eddie Long Case

Atlanta megachurch pastor Eddie Long has settled four sexual misconduct lawsuits against him. The Atlanta Journal Constitution reports that attorneys involved in the our lawsuits against Long, the LongFellows Youth Academy and the 25,000-member Lithonia New Birth church said the case has been settled but declined to comment further. B.J. Bernstein, who represents the four men who sued Long, New Birth and the academy, also confirmed the lawsuits had been settled. The academy was named in three of the suits. Long, pastor of the Lithonia megachurch, which has an international following, had denied the men's allegations through a spokesman shortly after they first became public in September and told his congregation he planned to "vigorously" fight them.

Joplin Devastation Leave City 'Stunned'

Chainsaw crews from Missouri and Oklahoma have already logged hundreds of hours helping churches and residents clear tons of fallen trees in Joplin, Mo. "I’m just stunned today, speechless. Please keep the people of Joplin in your prayers," said Missouri Baptist Convention interim executive director Jay Hughes, who was touring the site of the devastation along with North American Mission Board president Kevin Ezell. Baptist Press reports that scores of Southern Baptist volunteers are on the scene. Some of them have lost their own houses, but say even that has a purpose. "I believe the Lord allowed this to help me learn how to relate to people," said Gary Hunley as he and his wife, Twyla, combed through their belongings. They are members of First Baptist Church in Oronogo, Mo., which is 10 miles from Joplin.