Religion Today Summaries - Nov. 11, 2008

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - Nov. 11, 2008

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

  • Ill. Diocese Becomes Third to Leave Episcopal Church
  • Pakistan: 'Blasphemer' Released after Six Months
  • China: Gov't Church Reaches Out to House Churches
  • Pope to Muslims: Religious Persecution Unacceptable

Ill. Diocese Becomes Third to Leave Episcopal Church

The Associated Press reports that on Saturday the Episcopal Diocese of Quincy, Ill., became the third American diocese to break with the national church, following in the footsteps of two other orthodox dioceses, San Joaquin in California and Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania. "This decision was not made lightly," said the Rev. John Spencer, a diocesan spokesman. "We have talked and prayed about this for a very long time." Yet the controversy over authority, homosexuality in the church, and traditional orthodoxy continues, as a fourth diocese - Fort Worth, Texas - will vote on secession this weekend. The three seceding diocese have realigned with the more conservative Anglican Province of the Southern Cone in South America. The departing dioceses have already cost the national church millions in property battles, causing a denominational deficit in 2008.

Pakistan: 'Blasphemer' Released after Six Months

ASSIST News reports that a Pakistani court has acquitted a homeopathic doctor who was accused of passing derogatory remarks against the beard of Prophet Muhammad in May this year. Dr. Robin was released from district Jail Gujranwala on November 4. Robin said the court exonerated him of the blasphemy accusation after Muhammad Rafique, the complainant told the Additional Sessions Judge, Sardar Ahmad Maken that “he had got a blasphemy case registered against me over a misunderstanding.” Robin profoundly thanked the All Pakistan Minorities Alliance (APMA) office for their efforts in Dr. Robin's acquittal. Pakistan's blasphemy laws were implemented in the country in 1986, allowing extremist elements to make life even difficult for Pakistani minorities, who think they are already facing discrimination.

China: Gov't Church Reaches Out to House Churches

The Christian Post reports that government-approved churches in China have stated their intent to support unregistered house churches, many of which face persecution from the government. “For those house churches without registration, we will try our best to be with them, to recognize them and to help them, so long as they have an orthodox faith, don’t stray from the truth and don’t follow heretics,” said elder Fu Xianwei, chairperson of the national Three-Self Patriotic Movement to some 200 Hong Kong church leaders late last month, according to Ecumenical News International. According to Fu, a lack of pastors in China has led to theological misunderstandings and false teaching. Much of China's estimated 100 million Christians attend house churches to escape government headship.

Pope to Muslims: Religious Persecution Unacceptable

Pope Benedict XVI minced no words in a summit with Catholic and Muslim leaders, the Christian Post reports, as the head of the Catholic Church proclaimed the right to freedom of religion. “The discrimination and violence which even today religious people experience throughout the world and the often violent persecutions to which they are subject, represent unacceptable and unjustifiable acts, all the more grave and deplorable when they are carried out in the name of God” the pontiff said, according to BBC. The pope had apologized earlier in the three-day meeting for remarks he made in a 2006 speech that called Islam a religion of violence and oppression. The official theme of the historic meeting between Catholics and Muslims was "Love of God, Love of Neighbor.”