Religion Today Summaries - May 7, 2009

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - May 7, 2009

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

  • Maine Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage
  • Aid Groups Committed to Sri Lankan War Victims
  • Nepal in Turmoil after Maoist Leader Resigns
  • Iraqi Violence Decreases But Threat Remains, Archbishop Says


Maine Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage

CNN reports that Maine became the fifth state to legalize same-sex marriage when Gov. John Baldacci signed the bill into law Wednesday. “In the past, I opposed gay marriage while supporting the idea of civil unions,” said Baldacci, a Democrat. “I have come to believe that this is a question of fairness and of equal protection under the law, and that a civil union is not equal to civil marriage.” The governor tacitly acknowledged that the law could face similar motions as California's Proposition 8, which reversed the law allowing same-sex marriage in that state. Maine joins Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa and Vermont as states that not only recognize but grant marriage licenses to gay couples. On Tuesday, the Washington, D.C., City Council voted to recognized same-sex marriage performed in other states.

Aid Groups Committed to Sri Lankan War Victims

The Christian Post reports that hundreds of thousands of people displaced by the country's civil war are relying on aid agencies for food and clean water. “This emergency has the potential to claim as many lives from lack of food and water as from conflict,” said Joanne Fairley, Lutheran World Relief’s regional director for Asia and the Middle East, in a statement released Monday. “The entire situation in Sri Lanka remains unstable,” she said. “Our first priority is to ensure that people have what they need to survive.” World Vision has distributed food packets to more than 25,000 people and daily distributes almost 100,000 liters of water at refugee camps, but more is clearly needed. The United Nations estimates that 200,000 Sri Lankan civilians are in refugee camps.

Nepal in Turmoil after Maoist Leader Resigns

Mission News Network reports that Nepal's political future hangs by a thread, and ministries are praying that civil war will not return. "Nepal needs an absolute miracle," said Gospel for Asia President K.P. Yohannan after reviewing reports from Christian leaders in the strife-torn Himalayan country. "Right now we have a high emergency, but what is worse is that things could go back to the guerilla warfare that we had for the past 10 years." The country's Maoist Prime Minister clashed with Nepal's president over the potential firing of the army's top general, but ultimately chose to resign rather than escalate the conflict. "We are terribly concerned about the future of Nepal," Dr. Yohannan said, "and we ask that Christians around the world pray for this volatile situation."

Iraqi Violence Decreases But Threat Remains, Archbishop Says

Catholic News Service reports that believers in Iraq are thankful for improvements in general safety, but still fear violence. "The situation is improving generally ... violence has really decreased ... but for me, the problem is still there because the violence is still there," said Latin-rite Archbishop Jean Sleiman of Baghdad, who met with U.S. church officials in Washington May 4. Sleiman called violence "the language of politics" in Iraq. Although the church technically has more freedom than it did under Saddam Hussein, "many Iraqi churches are not accustomed to freedom." Still, churches finding ways to serve the community, such as running schools previously under national control. Today, the majority of students in the Catholic schools in Baghdad are Muslims.